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The success of Republic's Clyde Beatty serial Darkest Africa prompted Columbia to star Frank Buck in the 15-chapter Jungle Menace (1937). The story unfolds in the mythical Asian province of Seemang, where rubber planter Edward Elliot (John St. Polis) owns a huge and profitable plantation. When one of Elliot's shipments is hijacked by river pirates, his daughter Dorothy (Charlotte Henry) and her planter friend Tom Banning (William Bakewell) narrowly escape with their lives. Things get worse when Elliot himself is shot by an unknown assailant. Then Frank Hardy (Buck) intervenes. For the rest of the serial, Hardy tries to ascertain the identity of the mysterious villain who wishes to drive Elliot off his property. Meanwhile, the terrified Dorothy is subjected to one jungle peril after another (including attempted rape). Each of the fifteen chapters was 20 minutes long and contained lots of action: "One man defying a thousand deaths in a green hell of creeping horror! The fearless Frank Buck in his most hair-raising role! Merciless killers...a beautiful hostage...a cargo of wild animals run loose when the typhoon strikes! Terrifying adventures torn out of the heart of cruelest Asia!" The critics enjoyed the show:
"Kids will love Jungle Menace for its harem-scarum adventure and for the presence of Frank Buck, with his Wild Animals Associates, Inc. Frank Buck plays the hero, Frank Hardy, when gangdom invades the rubber business and river pirates grab off plantation cargo. Plenty of old-time names are in the cast: Reginald Denny is a plantation foreman, Esther Ralston an owner, Charlotte Henry and William Bakewell play young lovers; also featured are Clarence Muse, Willie Fung, Leroy Mason, Richard Tucker, and Duncan Renaldo." Variety, October 27, 1937.
painted many of the original
illustrations for Jungle Menace and other Buck films.