Part 2 - Filming In Mexico
Page 2 - Irish's Contract

When Anita Ekberg became unavailable to play Sheena because her contract had been acquired by John Wayne's Batjac Productions, Irish McCalla was hurriedly signed, despite the fact that she was pregnant at the time (see the full story on Page 5: Irish as Sheena in the Audition section).  Irish has said that the Nassours merely crossed out Anita Ekberg's name on the contract and wrote hers in.  Consequently, Irish was offered the same pay rate as Ms Ekberg.  Irish has recounted how she contacted her old friends, Bill Williams and Jock Mahoney, for advice the night before she signed the contract because they were both experienced television actors.  Williams (top left) had been starring in The Adventures of Kit Carson since 1951 and Mahoney (bottom left) had spent two years appearing in the The Range Rider in the early 1950s.

Irish had agreed to do her own stunts as Sheena because she had grown up as an athletic tomboy and was confident climbing trees and swinging on ropes (see the Tomboy section of the Childhood page).  Williams and Mahoney felt that she was foolish for agreeing to that but realised that she was unlikely to persuade the Nassours to pay her more than they had offered Anita Ekberg.  They both impressed on her the importance of retaining the rights to personal appearances because they were both making additional income from this lucrative enterprise.  They told her that the small studios hadn't yet realised how much money the personal appearance trail could be worth to actors.  They advised her that after the Nassours refused to pay her more to, "Just kinda throw it in," and say something like "Well, I need something."  "They'll give it to you in a minute."  Irish has said that that is exactly what happened in her negotiations with the Nassours the following day (The TV Collector). ("I didn't even have an agent, and one happened to be there at the time, so they said to use him. He got 10% for doing nothing." - Prevue)  She was to reap the benefits of Williams' and Mahoney's advice over the next decade.  The contract she signed agreed to pay her $360 per week for shooting the pilots in California and $365 per week for filming in Mexico, plus "several thousand dollars" for each personal appearance (Glamour Girls).  Irish has often described this as "a lousy contract" but has also said that she knew a lot of actors who were earning that kind of money at the time.  She may have considered it a poor contract because the extra five dollars per week did not compensate her for the difficulties she faced on location in Mexico.
Irish and Jock Mahoney were romantically involved at one time, as the story related on Page 5: Boyfriends of the Modelling section attests.  One of their early dates was caught on camera by a Globe photographer for the January 1951 issue of Eve magazine.  Irish was under contract to the syndicate at the time and she was one of their most popular glamour models and they never missed an opportunity to portray her in interesting situations (see the full story in the Modelling section).  She and Jock were obviously enjoying each others company and it is easy to understand why he would have been happy to provide helpful advice to his old friend a few years later.

Please don't forget to visit my pages devoted to the twenty-six episodes of Sheena Queen of the Jungle, if you haven't done so already. You will find plot summaries, numerous comments about the individual episodes and video captures from all of the surviving episodes.  There are also large-sized copies of a many of the photos used on these pages available to download on the Sheena Gallery page.

The TV Collector magazine, Jan/Feb 97
Prevue Pinup Special 2 magazine, Aug/Oct 94
Glamour Girls: Then and Now magazine, Editor Steve Sullivan. Premiere issue Mar/Apr 94
• The photos of Bill Williams and Jock Mahoney were pilfered from eBay auction items
• The photo of Irish McCalla and Jock Mahoney is from Eve magazine, Jan 51 - kindly donated by Frank Bonilla
• Read a Bill Williams filmography at The Internet Move Database (IMDb)
• Read a Jock Mahoney filmography at The Internet Move Database (IMDb)


SHEENA © is the property of Sony Pictures Corporation
This independent, fan-based analysis of the Sheena material is copyright © 2006-2007 Paul Wickham
This page updated May 2007