Sheena Queen of the Jungle - Episode 26
Touch of Death (© 5 Oct 55)

Director Arthur Pierson
Producer Edward Nassour
Screenplay Ken Field
Story Supervision Joel Murcott

Sheena Irish McCalla
Bob Rayburn Christian Drake
Chim Neal

"Doctor" Krenshaw Nestor Paiva

PLOT - NOTE: Spoiler warning
Goma, the Winuza witchdoctor, overhears Bob blame himself for having "the touch of death" after two ivory poachers that he and Sheena were tracking are killed by a lion.  Goma conveys Bob's statement to Krenshaw, a shady character who is orchestrating the ivory poaching (right), and when Sheena and Bob arrive at the village Goma accuses Bob of being responsible for the sleeping sickness that has stricken the son of Tago the chief, Zabim.  The entire village believe that Bob has the Touch of Death and Sheena and Bob must evacuate quickly.  Bob is captured in a trap set for him by Goma and Krenshaw and Sheena discovers that Chim has fallen asleep after eating some of the pills from Krenshaw's bag.  Sheena returns to the village as Bob is about to be sacrificed and convinces Tago that Krenshaw has been drugging Zabim (below).  A struggle ensues and Goma is accidently shot by Krenshaw and as he dies he blames Krenshaw for Zabim's condition. Krenshaw is captured as he escapes, Sheena manages to revive Zabim with jungle medicine, and Tago promises to halt the ivory poaching.

This is a curious episode.  It is one of the three pilots for the series filmed in California to try to sell the series, probably in late-1953 or early-1954.  There is abundant evidence for this - it was directed by Arthur Pierson, who also directed the first nine episodes of the series; it was written by Ken Field, who also wrote Forbidden Cargo, one of the other pilots; this episode has the earliest recorded copyright date for the series; the native villages used in the pilots are completely different from the thatched villages constructed in Mexico; and lastly, it features an experienced and recognisable actor as the costar, Nestor Paiva, as do the other pilots.  It is interesting that it was the last episode aired, suggesting the Nassours wanted to use the classier, and presumably more expensive, pilots as "bookends" to the cheaply filmed Mexican episodes.  Nestor Paiva, a veteran character actor, appeared in hundreds of films and television shows between the late-1930s and the mid-1960s.  He was in the Charles Laughton version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939; he was a guard in Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943); and he captained the boat that found The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1956).

Click on the images below to see two short scenes from this episode:

• The production credits and plot were taken from my DVD of this film
• All of the photos used on this page are screenshots from my DVD of this film
• The two video clips were uploaded to Youtube by me specifically to use on this web page
• Read an impressive Nestor Paiva filmography at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
• Bag yourself a copy of this episode on VHS from Moviecraft; beware the high contrast and heavily cropped versions of these episodes currently available on DVD

SHEENA © is the property of Sony Pictures Corporation
This independent, fan-based analysis of the Sheena material is copyright © 2005-2008 Paul Wickham
This page was updated February 2008