Part 2 - Filming In Mexico
Page 5 - The Costume

Irish McCalla said the leopard-skin tunic she wore in the pilot episodes was made by Irish herself, to give it an authentic "handmade" appearance.  Subsequent costumes were designed on her initial creation (Black & Feret).  In Mexico the production company had a whole rack of costumes for Irish to wear.  There were beat-up ones for long and action shots and "glamour suits" for close ups.  Irish has said that the costumes fitted comfortably like a bathing suit.  She wore a generous pair of leopard-skin panties under the tunic, and it was frequently these that were responsible for quickening the pulses of fathers and sons alike when Sheena was called upon to climb trees or crawl along the ground.  Underneath these two garments Irish wore her own panties and bra (Prevue).

Sheena wore a pair of soft moccasins on her feet and around her waist was an ornately-buckled wide black belt that supported a scabbard for the short-bladed knife on her left hip.  Sheena also wore some interesting jewelry.   On her upper arms she had ornate gold arm bands decorated with panthers and around her neck she wore an elongated sea shell suspended on a thin, black-leather cord.  She wore a single gold bracelet on her right wrist and to top it all off were two large gorgeous gold hoop earrings that never snagged on branches or got in the way when wrestling crocodiles.  Sheena's trusty horn for communicating with her animal friends was slung across her shoulders on a thin cord and she also frequently carried a very long spear.  This costume was very similar to the one used for the latter-day Jumbo Comics (see image below), which appeared a few years before the McCalla series was conceived.  The earlier classic Sheena outfit featured a plunging neckline and large cutaway sections (see image above).

Irish has said that they weren't trying to be sexy with the show ("Today my costume would be old fashioned.  It was the only costume really, except for ice skaters and dancers, that was showing that much skin.")  If Irish leaned forward to track an animal or a villain, the crew would say, "Sheena, por favor!"  "The boobs are showing aren't they?" she would reply.  "Si. Si. Is not good."  Irish would have to turn slightly away from the camera, or move her shoulders up a little so her cleavage couldn't be seen ("With my bust that was difficult not to do." - Femme Fatales)

Steve Sullivan, editor of Glamour Girls - Now and Then magazine, has commented that had Sheena been a network series, rather than a syndicated offering, Irish would not have been permitted to wear such revealing attire.  Sheena's abbreviated jungle togs - undoubtedly hot stuff by conservative 1950s standards - attracted a legion of male teenage viewers (and their dads).


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.

TV's Original Sheena - Irish McCalla by Bill Black and Bill Feret, Paragon Publications 1992
Prevue Pinup Special 2 magazine, Aug/Oct 94
Femme Fatales magazine, Jan 99
Glamour Girls: Then and Now magazine, Editor Steve Sullivan. Premiere issue Mar/Apr 94
• The two photos of Irish McCalla wearing the Sheena costume are from my private collection
• The two Jungle Comics covers are from a CD-Rom of comic covers in my private collection


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