Perils of Nyoka

Perils of Nyoka is a 1942 Republic serial directed by William Witney. It starred Kay Aldridge as Nyoka the Jungle Girl, a character who first appeared in the Edgar Rice Burroughs-inspired serial Jungle Girl.

Perils of Nyoka
Theatrical release poster for Chapter 6 of the serial
Directed byWilliam Witney
Produced byWilliam J. O'Sullivan
Written byRonald Davidson
Norman S. Hall
William Liveley
Joseph O'Donnell
Joseph F. Poland
Edgar Rice Burroughs (character)
StarringKay Aldridge
Clayton Moore
Lorna Gray
Charles Middleton
William Benedict
Forbes Murray
George Pembroke
CinematographyReggie Lanning
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • June 27, 1942 (1942-06-27) (U.S. serial)[1]
  • April 2, 1952 (1952-04-02) (U.S. re-release)[1]
Running time
15 chapters (261 minutes (serial)[1]
100 minutes (TV)[1]
Budget$169,296 (negative cost: $175,010)[1]


Nyoka, with help from Larry Grayson, attempts to discover the Golden Tablets of Hippocrates. The tablets contain the medical knowledge of the Ancients — not to mention being buried along with gold and other treasure. Also hunting for the tablets are Queen Vultura ("Ruler of the Arabs") and Cassib.


Main cast

  • Kay Aldridge as Nyoka Gordon. Aldridge replaced Frances Gifford as Nyoka. The success and popularity she gained from her role in this serial made Kay Aldridge the star of several of the better Republic serials for years after its release.[2] In his autobiography, director William Witney stated that the studio decided to use a different actress just to further ensure that there would be no actionable copyright infringement.[3] Ray Stedman, however, writes that Gifford was not cast in this serial because she had been on loan from another studio for Jungle Girl and was not available for the filming of this serial.[4] Cline partially backs this point of view, saying that Gifford was unavailable to reprise her role because she had moved on to feature films.[2]
  • Clayton Moore as Dr Larry Grayson
  • Lorna Gray as Vultura, Ruler of the Arabs
  • Charles Middleton as Cassib
  • William Benedict as Red Davis
  • Forbes Murray as Prof Douglas Campbell
  • George Pembroke as John Spencer
  • Tristram Coffin as Benito Torrini
  • Forrest Taylor as Translator

Supporting cast

  • Forbes Murray as Professor Douglas Campbell
  • Robert Strange as Professor Henry Gordon
  • George Pembroke as John Spencer
  • Georges Renavent as Maghreb, Vultura's high priest
  • John Davidson as Lhoba, Tuareg high priest
  • George J. Lewis as Batan, Arab henchman
  • Ken Terrell as Ahmed, Arab henchman
  • John Bagni as Ben Ali
  • Kenne Duncan as Abou, expedition headman
  • Emil Van Horn played the gorilla "Satan", just as he had played the gorilla in Jungle Girl.[5]


Perils of Nyoka was budgeted at $169,296 although the final negative cost was $175,010 (a $5,714, or 3.4%, overspend). It was the most expensive Republic serial of 1942.[1] It was filmed between March 20 and May 2, 1942,[1] with the outdoor action sequences shot primarily at the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif. The serial's production number was 1197.[1] The success of the original serial Jungle Girl prompted the sequel, but the studio did not want to pay licensing fees to Burroughs again, so it avoided any repetition of the term "Jungle Girl," to which he had the rights. Instead, "Nyoka," the name of the main character in the first film, was placed in the title of the sequel, because that name was an original creation of Republic's writers, not of Burroughs.[5]



Perils of Nyoka's official release date is 27 June 1942, although this is actually the date the seventh chapter was made available to film exchanges.[1] The serial was re-released on 2 April 1952, under the new title Nyoka and the Tigermen,[6] between the first runs of Radar Men from the Moon and Zombies of the Stratosphere.[1]

A version for French territories was titled KING -KONG CHEZ LES ARABES / KING KONG bij de ARABIEN.


Perils of Nyoka was one of 26 Republic serials re-released as a film on television in 1966. The title of the film was changed to Nyoka and the Lost Secrets of Hippocrates. This version was cut down to 100 minutes in length.[1]

Critical reception

Jim Harmon and Donald F. Glut write that this is probably the best jungle serial ever made and that it "lavished in increased production values."[5] Cline notes that Perils of Nyoka stands out in the memories of the original serial audiences, despite the strong competition of 1942.[2]

Chapter titles

  1. Desert Intrigue (26min 50s)
  2. Death's Chariot (17min 9s)
  3. Devil's Crucible (16min 52s)
  4. Ascending Doom (16min 48s)
  5. Fatal Second (16min 49s)
  6. Human Sacrifice (16min 41s)
  7. Monster's Clutch (16min 47s)
  8. Tuareg Vengeance (16min 44s)
  9. Buried Alive (16min 41s)
  10. Treacherous Trail (16min 51s)
  11. Unknown Peril (16min 40s)
  12. Underground Tornado (16min 39s)
  13. Thundering Death (16min 43s)
  14. Blazing Barrier (16min 38s)
  15. Satan's Fury (16min 33s)


See also


  1. Mathis, Jack (1995). Valley of the Cliffhangers Supplement. Jack Mathis Advertising. pp. 3, 10, 62–63. ISBN 0-9632878-1-8.
  2. Cline, William C. (1984). "3. The Six Faces of Adventure". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 37. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  3. Witney, William (2005). In a Door, Into a Fight, Out a Door, Into a Chase: Moviemaking Remembered by the Guy at the Door. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2258-6.
  4. Stedman, Raymond William (1971). "5. Shazam and Good-by". Serials: Suspense and Drama By Installment. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-8061-0927-5.
  5. 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. pp. 12, 14. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  6. Mayer, Geoff (2017). Encyclopedia of American Film Serials. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 299. ISBN 978-0-7864-7762-3.
  7. Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 233–234. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
Preceded by
Spy Smasher (1942)
Republic Serial
Perils of Nyoka (1942)
Succeeded by
King of the Mounties (1942)
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