Hoo boy! Two Africa movies in a row, with neither actually having been shot there! Our film today is part of the Bomba, the Jungle Boy series of films that starred Johnny Sheffield, better known as “Boy” in the Johnny Weismuller Tarzan films. (Weismuller, meanwhile, was busy starring in the Jungle Jim series that had started in 1948 at Columbia.) (Jungle Jim should not be confused with “Jungle Gym,” which, if said confusion were to occur, might cause some inappropriate mental images.)
The Bomba series was based on a batch o’ juvenile adventure books written in the 1920s by Roy Rockwood, which is now my new favorite adult film actor name. I actually own one of the books, although my copy was published in the 1950s. Here’s what mine looks like (please excuse the sloppy edges on the photo–it had a really busy background that I had to remove):
The Bomba film series started in 1949 with Bomba, the Jungle Boy and lasted for 12 films, of which African Treasure falls pretty much smack in the middle. When the series stopped production in 1955, Sheffield went on to shoot a TV pilot called “Bantu the Zebra Boy,” milking the jungle cow for all it was worth. Unfortunately, the cow was dry, and Bantu never swung across TV screens.
So, here are the quick details about this particular entry into the 1952 jungle movie sweepstakes: diamonds, crater, Laurette Luez (hubba!), monkeys, kidnapping, vines, underground river, bad guys, umgawa. That about sums it up.
Oh, and pay close attention to Bomba when he talks. He’s got some kind of split personality in which he’ll utter two or three perfectly good sentences in English, such as “We’ll have to try looking on the other side of the mountain for a hidden opening,’ then he’ll follow up that with “We go now.” Lazy writing or bipolar savant? You be the judge!
YouTube has let me down. No clips from this particular Bomba “adventure.”