Polite Behaviour, A Sense of Fair Play, Kindness &Tolerence Toward All! And It's All Subtly Promoted by this Bubble Gum Jungle Saga!
In those early days of Television, every series seemed to be a bold and new sort of "One various Genres had, of course, been filmed before for the Theatrical Release and consumption. As a mater of fact, when the "Brave New World" of Broadcast Television finally became a reality (following finishing up a little matter called World War II) and the fledgling Networks started out very slowly; but soon demanded more and more filmed series; the "B Movie" assembly line Studio Operations were on the spot in delivering the goods.
Producer Frederick W. Ziv, who had background in producing Radio Programming, jumped on the TV Series Bandwagon and did much, if not most, of his successful productions were not born of the Networks; but rather of Syndication. That method of distribution dealt directly with the Local TV Stations; providing them individually with new ½ Hour Drama, Adventure & Comedy series. The marketing system is similar to that distribution device used by the various Newspaper Syndicates in providing Comic Strips, Columnists and other features to Newspapers throughout the land. (And to an extent, World-Wide.) Hence we had many Ziv/United Artists programs such as "I LED 3 LIVES", "SEA HUNT", "HIGHWAY PATROL", "SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE" and even "HOME RUN DERBY". Each and every one came to our Living Rooms via Syndication; yet they are as well known as anything from CBS, NBC, ABC, DuMONT, FOX or Polit Bureau System (PBS).
SO IT CAME TO PASS that a series about a Great White Medicine Man, Dr. Tom Reynolds (Jon Hall) and his partner Professor Howard Ogden (Ray Montgomery) who spend their lives dispensing medical services and getting involved with any variety of carpetbagger, scalawag and renegade scum who came to their Jungle outpost; always to work some crooked and nefarious ploy in cheating the indigenous aboriginal peoples.
In its 2 seasons, RAMAR OF THE JUNGLE (1952-54) managed to do the one feat that most longer, more successful series eventually succumb to; namely, a change of location. They inexplicably uprooted the American Medics from their fictitious African setting to an equally imaginary locale in the Sub-Continent of India. Supporting cast member changed from one jungle to the other with Nick Stewart as Willy-Willy in the African adventures and James Fairfax as Charlie in the Indian episodes.
The stories gave opportunity to give employment to any of the Black Actors in Hollywood. We remember seeing Johnny Lee (Calhoun on "AMOS 'N' ANDY", the voice of 'Brer Rabbit' in Disney's SONG OF THE SOUTH) portraying a thoughtful and progressive Native Chieftain in one episode. The now legendary James Edwards (HOME OF THE BRAVE, PATTON) also portrayed a Chief in an episode; but there were many others in similar roles.
Likewise the Ramar series employed a myriad of those "B Movie" players and character actors, you know, the ones who we always know by face; but not by name. A few we did know both ways were: Robert Shayne (Inspector Henderson on "SUPERMAN"), Ludwig Streussel (Lou Gehrig's Father in PRIDE OF THE YANKEES, "that little old Wine Maker, Me!" for Italian-Swiss Colony commercials), Anne Gwynne (Lady Sonia in FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE), Harry Lauter (Clay Morgan in "TALES OF THE Texas RANGERS"), Kenneth MacDonald and Harry Woods; to name a few.
Being a syndicated show often called for a regular sponsor for a particular station and market. We well remember commercials for various products being done by actors from the particular series, in character. We in Chicago saw the likes of SEA HUNT'S Lloyd Bridges for "G. Heilleman Brewing Co. of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, makers of Old Style Beer!", or Duncan Renaldo as THE CISCO KID hawking " .tut, tut, nothing' but Butternut Bread" and Truman Bradley on SCIENCE FICTION THEATRE plugging Bromo-Seltzer.
It was in this tradition that we saw the tailor made commercial messages on RAMAR OF THE JUNGLE. The message was filmed on location in the Hollywood back lot Jungle Set. In it Dr. Reynolds (Mr. Jon Hall, himself) is trekking through a particularly heavy thicket in the Jungle, all the proper bird and animal sounds surrounding him; when he looks up and fires his .50 calibre Elephant Gun and down falls a box of his sponsor's product, Good & Plenty Candy! Ramar (pronounced "Rah-mah", by the bye!) then expounds on the merits of this coated licorice treat to the young viewers. This was before the advent of "Choo-choo Charlie" and his "Train." As an adventure series for the Small Fry, RAMAR was a.o.k. in our book. The stories were exciting; but not too violent. Like most Jungle Sagas, it made use of a lot of stock shots of Lions, Tigers, Elephants (African & Indian), Crocs, Zebras, Antelpoes,Wildabeasts, Hippos, Rhinos and even Flamingos! But the content of the story lines were big on human relationships, tolerance, kindness and justice for all men.
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