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Bantu the Zebra Boy

USA 1955
produced by
Reginald Sheffield
directed by Reginald Sheffield
starring Johnny Sheffield, Milton Wood, Robert DeCoy, Al Freeman, Lane Bradford, Roy Glenn, George Spelvin
written by Terence Naples, created by Reginald Sheffield, music by Robert Wiley Miller

tv-show

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Deep in the African jungle: The witchdoctors (Milton Wood, Robert DeCoy) of a certain native tribe accuse Kano (Al Freeman), son of chief Chabba (Roy Glenn) of theft while the chief is away and want to execute him. Kano runs away and bumps into Bantu the Zebra Boy (Johnny Sheffield), a benevolent white jungle dweller - who tells Kano to return to his tribe since the witchdoctors won't dare to execute him until the next full moon, and promises to go fetch his dad the chief in the meantime.

Chief Chabba meanwhile is the guide of Trench's (Lane Bradford) safari, but when he hears about his son's fate, he immediately wants to return home - and Trench not only lets him go, he even promises to accompany him. However, on the way to Chabba's tribe, Trench shows his true colours and pushes Bantu and Chabba into alligator-infested waters ... but somehow, Bantu manages to not only save his own life but also the life of Chabba, even though he has to leave him behind injured.

But why did Trench try to kill Bantu and Chabba ?

Because Chabba's tribe owns one of the biggest diamond mines in the region, and Trench has made a deal with the witchdoctors, who have promised him not only the mine but also the tribesmen as slaves to work in the mine - but to that end, chief Chabba and his son (and rightful heir) have to be out of the picture.

In the end, Bantu manages to free Kano, who is about to be poisoned, and together, teh two fight it out with the witchdoctors and Trench before the local commissioner (George Spelvin) arrives with Chabba to see to it that justice is served.

 

When Johnny Sheffield's Bomba the Jungle Boy series of films came to an end in 1955, he and his father Reginald Sheffield tried to duplicate the series relative success on the big screen with Bantu the Zebra Boy, a pilot they made for the small screen - and essentially, Bantu is Bomba apart from the fact that he now wears a zebra loincloth and rides a zebra. For whatever reason though, the Bantu-series was never picked up. Taken on its own merits, and especially when compared to other contemporary small-screen jungle fare, Bantu the Zebra Boy is rather well done though, it features plenty of outdoor-scenes, reasonably convincing sets, and Sheffield riding a zebra is at least a change from many other jungle heroes ... but apparently that wasn't enough, as maybe Sheffield just wasn't big enough a star and the newly created Bantu just didn't have the same drawing power as Bomba, a well-known character from boys' adventure books. And just maybe, television just didn't need yet another jungle hero, who knows ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD