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Spencer Gordon Bennet
Just as Hollywood was getting far more realistic in its depiction of Africa starting with The African Queen and King Solomon's Mines, television took up the slack with all the clichés that had been done in Africa based films.
Ramar of the Jungle was filmed as a syndicated series in the last days of European colonialism. It starred Jon Hall as Dr. Tom Reynolds who was born to missionary parents there and now was giving back to the community so to speak. His science sidekick was Ray Montgomery as Howard Ogden who was simply identified as a chemist. These two were in every episode.
Hall and Montgomery had several other regulars, a different guide every season. James Fairfax was in for one season as Charley Smart who hailed from Capetown. The show moved to India for a season and latino actor Victor Millan played Zahir who was a Hindu. Then they were back in Africa and it was Nick Stewart as Willy Willy self proclaimed best guide in all Africa. In addition in the first season Ludwig Stossel and M'liss McClure played the Van Dynes father and daughter who owned a trading post. Ramar might have had a little something something going with Ms. Van Dyne, but she was dropped so Ramar concentrated strictly on science and medicine for the rest of the run.
For a scientist Hall certainly got into a whole lot of trouble every episode and most of the time it wasn't necessarily coming out of his research and/or medical practice.
Like another reviewer I too had a Ramar of the Jungle board game as a lad and I remember it seemed Ramar was in syndication on Channel 11 in New York forever. I'm sure if I saw the episodes today I'd probably laugh and be mortified at the appalling ignorance of the show's creators. It certainly couldn't be marketed today given it's white man's burden outlook.
Still I do have a bit of nostalgia for Hall and Montgomery and all the trouble they managed to get into.
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