Jungle Boy

1957 | United Kingdom

A boy riding on the back of a rhinoceros ended a talent hunt that reached round the world, according to ATV's 1959 Television Star Book. 

Producers of Jungle Boy had been looking for a youngster to play the title role in the planned filmed series for some time who could or would be prepared to learn how to handle the animals he would eventually have to co-star with. And with the advice of never work with children or animals ringing in their ears, most of the young actors were reluctant to take up the role. It was whilst searching locations in East Africa that one of the producers came across Michael Carr Hartley, the fourteen year old son of a famous naturalist and wild animal handler, Carr Hartley. Young Michael, who had lived in Kenya all his life was riding piggyback on a rare white rhinoceros, when first noticed. The understanding that Michael had with the animals made him a natural for the role of a boy who grows up in the wilds as an orphan, when the rest of his family is killed in an airplane crash. 

Filmed entirely on location in Kenya, East Africa, the regular cast featured Ronald Adam as Dr. Laurence and Jungle Boy's pet cheetah.Pre publicity for the series boasted that it was "quite unspolied by any 'trick' shots. All its scenes are real and have been filmed on the spot in East Africa."The series was shown in the USA as The Adventures of a Jungle Boy.

Published on December 28th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.