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Fireball Jungle (1968)

Ambitious driver, wanting to get to the top of the stock-car circuit, gets mixed up with gangsters.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nero Solitarius
Sammy (as Lon Chaney)
Alan Mixon ...
Ronald Elwood 'Cateye' Meares (as Allan Mixon)
Randy Kirby ...
Steve Cullen
Chuck Daniel ...
Nancy Donohue ...
Ann Tracey
Vicki Nunis ...
Judy (as Vicky Nunis)
Tiny Kennedy ...
Nightclub Singer
Mercy ...
Themselves (as The Mercy Group)
Billy Blueriver ...
Babs Beatty ...
Fruit Stand Woman
Candy Stebbins
Pat Rast
Sharon Cramer
Linda Roberts


Ambitious driver, wanting to get to the top of the stock-car circuit, gets mixed up with gangsters.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


'CATEYE'...a SAVAGE BRUTE KING of a jungle of hot rods and barracuda babes!


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jungle Terror  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Featured in Petrified Beast from the Frozen Zone (1990) See more »


Fireball Jungle
Written by Tiny Kennedy
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User Reviews

Lon Chaney just before Al Adamson
6 December 2014 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

In early 1968, Americana Entertainment Association was formed in Tampa Florida primarily for one solitary motion picture, "Fireball Jungle," Tampa-based producer G. B. Roberts' follow up to his successful black and white "The Weird World of LSD," bringing aboard sexploitation director Joseph P. Mawra, whose titles included "Olga's House of Shame," "White Slaves of Chinatown," "Olga's Girls," "Mme. Olga's Massage Parlor," "The Peek Snatchers," and "Shanty Tramps," his most recent title "Savages from Hell," a shift toward biker violence in the wake of Roger Corman's "The Wild Angels" (shot in Naples Florida). This was the sole collaboration between these Sunshine State filmmakers, only one further credit for each before fading into obscurity, gathering together elements of exploitation such as drugs, biker violence, car crashes, and even a couple of musical numbers. We're barely 10 minutes in when the local group Mercy shows up to perform their lone smash "Love (Can Make You Happy)," which only hit the national charts in April 1969 (#2 on Billboard), its B-side ironically titled "Fire Ball" (one year after this film was made). The other number is from Little Tiny Kennedy, a little known female impersonator who sounds a bit like Louis Armstrong, and recorded a couple of tracks in 1952 with orchestra leader Tiny Bradshaw for Trumpet Records (he apparently belts out the title tune over the opening credits). Those bar/club scenes are the film's nadir, patrons decked out in horribly dated psychedelia, coupled with stools shaped like toilet seats, and a cash register made to sound like it's flushing! With all that it's likely the picture was not a success, barely seen over the decades, but Roberts and Mawra did manage to corral a pair of professional Hollywood veterans, direct from the Western set of Paramount's "Buckskin," top billed John Russell, and second billed Lon Chaney, in equally small roles. The actual lead is a dimwitted driver in the 'fireball jungle' of stock car racing known as Cateye Meares (Allan Mixon), a real scumbag whose supply of cash, cars, clothes, and girls come from mob kingpin Nero Solitarius (Russell), in exchange for providing his syndicate with stolen vehicles (shades of Lon Chaney's 1942 "Eyes of the Underworld") fenced through the auto parts junkyard owned by Sammy (Chaney, claiming in the pressbook that this film is 'my best since "High Noon"!). Russell's participation is limited to three scenes, while the downtrodden Chaney's appearance is shocking to see, as the junk dealer who desperately wants out of this crooked business, his physical condition made to look worse by the obvious deterioration of his voice, ravaged by the same throat cancer that killed his father. Sitting around drinking cans of beer, comforted only by his dog, Sammy is a pathetic figure, Chaney occasionally echoing his effective TV performance of 12 years before in TELEPHONE TIME's "The Golden Junkman," lapsing into broken English at times. He had clearly seen better days, and with only Al Adamson's features still ahead was admittedly well cast as a tragically sad figure. Other titles for this obscurity were "Jungle Terror" and "Race Against Death," all of the racing scenes stock footage from Hialeah and Palm Beach Fairgrounds Speedway, seen only at the beginning and end.

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