13 April 2008 | frontrowkid2002
Who was cooler - Jungle Jim or Ramar
As a child of the early Fifties, I caught the last few years of the Saturday matinée double features. I missed Weismuller as Tarzan. Lex Barker had taken over the loin cloth by then. But I knew Weismuller had played Tarzan, based on stories I heard from my father. I knew him as Jungle Jim in the Columbia Pictures series. These were low budget action features, but they had the speed and the excitement of a serial. Lex Barker was more of a jungle lothario, fooling around with Jane or some other actress, only to be interrupted at a crucial moment by Cheeta. Weismuller was usually a no nonsense hero always ready to help out the Commissioner in tracking jungle renegades, hostile natives, or whatever. But when he came on television, the action content slowed down and he became more of a father figure with his son Skipper. While it was enjoyable, the TV version lacked the excitement of the theater versions. When AMC finally got around to re-running them, it was usually on Sunday mornings about 8 a.m. Nevertheless, my VCR was set and ready to go. The Ramar of the Jungle films were exciting, but their stereotyped natives and the overuse of the word "Oomgowa" got more laughs than cheers. Jon Hall, who had been Maria Montez' main squeeze in a long running Universal series in the Forties, played Ramar and I believe, owned half interest in the series. Similar to Weismuller's arrangement. While TV's Jungle Jim could probably be run today and attract some attention, I don't think Ramar of the Jungle and its' image of African natives would get a good reception.