Part 1 - The Sheena Audition:
Page 6 - Promoting the Product

As recounted on Page 2: The Recommendation, Irish frequently
said that she auditioned for the role of Sheena because she wanted
a divorce and was seeking financial security.  It is interesting that she and Pat McIntyre had another child during this period during which Irish was expressing a longing to terminate the marriage (see Page 7: First Husband of the Modelling section). We will almost certainly never satisfactorily understand her motivations during this period but she did certainly do what she said she would - she stayed married until the pilot was sold.  It appears that this happened in early 1955.  Irish didn't divorce Pat until July 1957, by which time she had gained a considerable amount of financial security (see the Personal Appearances Intro page).

Between mid-1953, when the audition was held, and early-1954, when Anita became unavailable for the role, the Nassours had moved away from the idea of making a feature film and had decided to make a syndicated television series instead.  As mentioned on the previous page (link above), they were just about to start filming the pilot episode when they called Irish to offer her the role. The pilot and the first two episodes were filmed in California in mid-1954 (Scarlet Street) (see Page 3: The Pilot Episodes in the Filming in Mexico section and individual entries for the episodes, The Renegades, Forbidden Cargo and Touch of Death).  Irish has also said that it took almost a year to sell the program and that she appeared in several glamour magazines wearing the Sheena costume for promotional purposes during that period (Glamour Girls).  Finally in early-1955 the Nassours took Irish to a TV sales convention held in New York and Washington DC.  Irish has said that this event "turned everything around."  Originally the series was to be financed by Four Star Productions, a TV production company cofounded by Dick Powell, Charles Boyer and David Niven.  However, after the program purchasing executives had an opportunity to ogle the tall, leggy, buxom, and stunningly beautiful star wearing her abbreviated jungle costume, other parties soon became interested.  The TV executives were also given plenty of opportunities to be photographed with the tall blonde starlet (see photo right).  ABC Film Syndication (American Broadcasting Corporation) could see the potential and picked up the series for 26 episodes.

Within a couple of months Irish was in the tropical jungles of Mexico for what she has described as "the worst seven-and-a-half months of my life" (Preview).  The shoestring budget the series was filmed on meant that the filming conditions were quite primitive and bugs, intense heat, bad food, and the general disorganisation of third world conditions contributed to the difficulties.  Irish said that when she later bumped into Anita Ekberg she told her, "You'da hated it!" (Scarlet Street)


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.  The whole Sheena story - comics, short stories, television and film - is available on the Sheena Intro page.

Scarlet Street magazine No. 23, 1996
Glamour Girls: Then and Now magazine, Editor Steve Sullivan. Premiere issue Mar-Apr 94

• The photo of Irish McCalla and Anita Ekberg at the audition was provided by Frank Bonilla.  The name and date of the magazine in which the photo was published has been lost.
• The photo of Irish at the TV sales convention was pilfered from an eBay auction item


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