The Jungle Goddess (1922)

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According to one reviewer, producer William N. Selig had "made an animal serial which has enough thrills produced from animal sequences to make even the hardest-boiled fan admit it is there." One of those sequences mentioned was an episode where an elephant swung his trunk around a trapped lion, slamming the poor beast viciously to the ground and killing it. Selig reportedly used 470 different animals in this serial, one of the most popular jungle adventures of the entire silent era. The story was equally incredible: a young girl, Betty Castleton (Vonda Phelps), was kidnapped and thrown into the basket of a balloon. Accidentally cut loose, the dirigible was then shot down in "the darkest reaches of Africa," where the youngster was almost sacrificed by natives, who apparently changed their minds at the last moment and instead adopted her as their own. Created a goddess, Betty grew into pretty Elinor Field who, in full "Betty Castleton, I presume?" style was re-introduced to childhood sweetheart Ralph Deane (Truman van Dyke). Together they spent the remaining 14 chapters battling no less than three master criminals before returning safely to civilization. Stock footage from The Jungle Goddess was used in the 1935 remake, Queen of the Jungle, which retained old-timer Lafe McKee in the role of a native chief.