Jungle Drums of Africa

Jungle Drums of Africa is a 1953 12-episode, American serial film, shot in black-and-white, which was an original commissioned screenplay by Ronald Davidson produced by Franklin Adreon and directed by Fred C. Brannon for Republic Pictures. The story is set in Kenya, and involves the efforts of an American uranium processing company's representative and a woman medical missionary, to thwart the efforts of agents of a "foreign power", abetted by a disaffected native witchdoctor, to gain control of a large uranium deposit on lands owned by the latter's tribe. This serial features black American actors in major roles, including that of a college-educated chieftain.

Jungle Drums of Africa
Original poster for the serial
Directed byFred C. Brannon
Produced byFranklin Adreon
Written byRonald Davidson
StarringClayton Moore
Phyllis Coates
Johnny Spencer
John Cason
Roy Glenn
CinematographyJohn MacBurnie
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • January 21, 1953 (1953-01-21) (U.S. serial)[1]
Running time
12 chapters / 167 minutes (serial)[1]
100 minutes (TV)[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$172,840 (negative cost: $167,758)[1]


The daughter of a medical missionary in Africa carries on her father's work after he dies. She later befriends two adventurers prospecting for uranium. But it isn't long before she finds herself in danger from crooks trying to get the uranium for themselves and a local witch doctor, who sees her as a threat to his power.



Jungle Drums of Darkest Africa was budgeted at $172,840 although the final negative cost was $167,758 (a $5,082, or 2.9%, under spend). It was the most expensive Republic serial of 1953.[1]

It was filmed between September 29 and October 18, 1952 under the working title Robin Hood of Darkest Africa.[1] The serial's production number was 1935.[1]


  • Tom Steele as Alan King/Third Constable (doubling Clayton Moore)

Special effects

Special effects created by the Lydecker brothers.



Jungle Drums of Darkest Africa's official release date is 21 January 1953, although this is actually the date the sixth chapter was made available to film exchanges.[1]

This was followed by a re-release of Adventures of Captain Marvel, re-titled as Return of Captain Marvel, instead of a new serial. The next new serial, Canadian Mounties vs. Atomic Invaders, followed in the summer.[1]


Jungle Drums of Darkest Africa was one of twenty-six Republic serials re-released as a film on television in 1966. The title of the film was changed to U-238 and the Witch Doctor. This version was cut down to 100-minutes in length.[1]

Critical reception

Harmon and Glut describes this serial as "an uninteresting arrangement of stock footage and clichés."[2]

Chapter titles

  1. Jungle Ambush (20min)
  2. Savage Strategy (13min 20s)
  3. The Beast Fiend (13min 20s)
  4. Voodoo Vengeance (13min 20s)
  5. The Lion Pit (13min 20s)
  6. Underground Tornado (13min 20s)
  7. Cavern of Doom (13min 20s)
  8. The Water Trap (13min 20s)
  9. Trail to Destruction (13min 20s)
  10. The Flaming Ring (13min 20s) - a re-cap chapter
  11. Bridge of Death (13min 20s)
  12. The Avenging River (13min 20s)


See also


  1. Mathis, Jack (1995). Valley of the Cliffhangers Supplement. Jack Mathis Advertising. pp. 3, 10, 132–133. ISBN 0-9632878-1-8.
  2. Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "1. The Girls "Who Is That Girl in the Buzz Saw?"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  3. Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 254. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
Preceded by
Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952
Republic Serial
Jungle Drums of Africa (1953)
Succeeded by
Canadian Mounties vs. Atomic Invaders (1953)
Succeeded by
Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (1953)
(Intended to be a TV series)
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