Anne Nagel, Irene Ryan, Carey Loftin, Carol Coombs
Seven-year-old Jill Young is a lonely little girl living on her fathers farm in Africa. One day she barters for a pet/friend: a baby gorilla carried by two African natives. Twelve years later, a New York nightclub entrepreneur, Max OHara, plans to open an African-themed nightclub in Hollywood. Gregg Johnson, a champion roper from Oklahoma, whose rodeo just closed locally, visits to ask to go to Africa with OHara, who agrees, having come up with the idea of having the cowboy lasso lions.
In Africa, OHaras encampment is close to the Young farm. The gorilla, now grown, sees the strangers, who decide to rope him (although the local agent, Crawford, tells them You cant rope a gorilla!) A wild-and-wooly Western style scene ensues, with cowboys and horses converging on Joe, who breaks the ropes like wet mop strings! He captures OHara just as Jill, now nineteen, shows up. OHara recovers in time to see Jill command and Joe obeyand OHara is stunned. He tracks Jill down and convinces her to come to Hollywood with Joe to star in his nightclub, commanding Joe as Jill the Jungle Queen.
As OHara predicted, the opening night is a resounding success. The opening act consists of Jill playing Beautiful DreamerJoes favorite tuneon a fancy grand piano, while Joe lifts a platform holding Jill, piano, and all! His next strong-ape feat is a tug-of-war with ten real-life strongmen, including Killer Karl Davis, Man Mountain Dean, the Swedish Angel, and ex-boxer Primo Carnera, whom Joe throws into the audience!
But the novelty wears off. Joe must live in a somber gray cage in the basement. He loses his appetite; so does Jill. Ten weeks follow; Jill cries on Greggs shoulder (It seems like ten years!) She decides to quit; OHara talks her out of it.
Seven more weeks pass. An organ-grinder act turns out to be a bad idea. Three drunks sneak backstage and ply Joe with liquor; one (Nestor Paiva) also touches a lighted cigarette to Joes bare skin and Joe loses control, and wrecks the place. A court orders him shot. OHara cooks up a plan, and the remainder of the movie is a thrilling chase scene beginning when OHara plays sick so the guard has to leave his post, allowing Jill to free Joe. They sneak him into a moving van, and almost get away when a transient worker/tramp sees Joe in the van. He tells this at the police station, and the cops are almost on the vans heels when they transfer Joe to a truck. OHara delays the police in the van. The truck continues, and, in the climax, approaches a burning orphanage. Jill and Greggusing his roping expertiserescue two more children hiding in a closet inside. Last of all, Joe himself climbs a tree to rescue a little girl trapped on a parapet, and when the tree he clings to burns he falls with it almost to the ground. Jill approaches the exhausted, bruised Joe, and an unidentified male voice assures her, Nobody in the world is gonna shoot Joe now!
The epilog shows OHara back in New York, months later. Windy shows him a film the agent, Crawford, took of Gregg and Jilland Joe. OHara says, Theyre back in Africa where they belong. Goodbye from Joe Young. [email protected]