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After arriving in Bombay, India to live with his father, Montana teenager Jay North (as Terrance "Terry" Bowen) receives some tragic news. The young man's father is reported to have been eaten by a tiger while big game hunting. He is advised to leave India, but Mr. North runs away and goes undercover. He believes his father may still be alive. Hopping a train, North meets Indian teenager Sajid Khan (as Raji), an orphan traveling with his beloved elephant "Maya". Mr. Khan considers Maya his adoptive mother. The penniless lads will face much danger as they search India for information concerning the disappearance of Hugh Bowen, North's father...
This TV series follow-up to the feature film "Maya" reunites original co-stars North and Khan. The situation is re-booted (the original film contains a resolution concerning father Bowen). The NBC-TV show would be a massive hit if today's media market applied, but it was dead last among the big three television networks in 1967-1968 and was canceled after only 18 episodes. The series was adapted by Stirling Silliphant and quite nicely presented by Herbert Coleman and the crew. The Indian culture adds to the series' appeal...
"Maya" was no ordinary kid show. The stories often contained atypical violence. Adult situations, both explicit and implicit, were added to the usual children's adventure mix. North and Khan immediately became "teen idol" pin-ups. Due to the "foreign" appeal rejuvenated by The Beatles, plus a friendly and cooperative relationship with teen magazine editors, Khan superseded North and extended his popularity by several years after "Maya" was canceled. The attractive young actors' rapport is obvious. Another of the series' major strengths is that it was filmed on location, by Gunter Senftleben, in the picturesque "cities, villages and jungles of India"...
The most highly recommended episodes, in order of appearance, are: "Blood of the Tiger" (6/10, the first episode sets up the situation), "The Allapur Conspiracy" (6/10, representative scenery in a strong follow-up), "Will the Real Prince Please Get Lost" (7/10, the big one for Sajid fans and more playfully presented), "The Treasure Temple" (7/10, the series' strengths are strongly displayed) and "The Legend of Whitney Markham" (6/10, a worthy final episode). North and Khan sporadically continued their acting careers into adulthood, with less success and media attention. Too bad some smart producer hasn't reunited them for a project or cameo (as of this writing).
******* Maya (9/16/67- 2/10/68) Jay North, Sajid Khan, Jairaj, Iftekhar
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