Tag Archives: Planet of the Apes

Sigh. Mama told me there’d be days like this.

Actually, she didn’t. This f***ed up apocalyptic shit is what I was warned about by “The Stand,” “Planet of the Apes,” George A. Romero and 80’s-era comic books.

Honorable mention goes to the TV adaptation of “The Third Wave.”

Throwback Thursday: “Get your stinkin’ paws off me, you damned dirty ape!!!”

“Planet of the Apes” (1968) is a half century old; today is the 50th anniversary of the film’s premiere at the Capitol Theater in Manhattan.  (Thanks to Blog Correspondent Pete Harrison for pointing out the date for us.)  The movie’s original trailer is below.  I actually learned something new looking for it — Rod Serling co-wrote the screenplay.  (I wasn’t aware of that, but it makes sense.)

I’ve already written at length about how the “Planet of the Apes” franchise was a part of my childhood.  (No, I wasn’t alive in 1968, but these films were broadcast periodically on television in the late 70’s and early 80’s.)  So I won’t blather on yet again about it.

But I will say that the iconic line of dialogue you see in the above headline made a pretty big impression on me as a kid.  (And Charlton Heston’s delivery of it was unforgettable.)  When I was in the second or third grade,  I once growled that line at a girl at recess who kept poking me and smacking me on the head.  She was really taken aback by it.


Check out “File 770.”

I discovered something rather nice today — one of my recent “Throwback Thursday” blog posts got a nice mention over at “File 770,” Mike Glyer’s Hugo Award-winning science fiction fan newzine.

The post excerpted was about the offbeat late-1970’s “Planet of the Apes” merchandise I remembered from my early childhood.  It was referenced on January 26th in Mr. Glyer’s regular “Pixel Scroll” feature, which highlights news, opinions and links from science fiction fandom around the web:


I’m flattered to be mentioned there, as the prestigious File 770 received the Hugo Award for Best Fanzine no fewer than six times, most recently in 2008.  (Mr. Glyer is a three-time Hugo recipient for Best Fan Writer.)

The site is a hell of a lot of fun too — particularly for longtime genre fans who want to take a look at what other fans are reading and viewing.  Check it out today; you won’t be disappointed.

“Planet of the Apes” was a live-action television show?!

Why, yes.  Yes, it was.  It ran for a single season in 1974.

Was it any good?  No.  No, it wasn’t, judging from its pilot.  I at first typed “Planet of the Peas” in the headline you see above, and that typo was more entertaining than the actual program.

What we’ve got here is a poorly scripted, milquetoast rehash of the famous films, which (let’s be honest) were themselves high on camp and low on brains.

We have little of the charm of the movies, yet all of their cheesiness.  A spaceship is not designed to travel through time, but still helpfully features an ostentatious “chronometer.”  Our astronauts never suspect their real location until it is revealed to them — despite the fact that the apes speak modern, Americanized English.  Then our square-jawed heroes react minimally to the news that everyone they know or love is dead, along with their civilization.  Solving this central mystery is helped by an ancient, plot-convenient textbook, which thoughtfully contains pictures of both human-built machines and apes in cage.

Other flaws are more egregious.  Roddy McDowall and Booth Coleman both return as apes.  Confusingly, however, they do not reprise their film roles — they are actually different ape characters.  The humor falls flat.  (McDowall’s ape is a … nepotist?  Or something?)  And continuity with the movies is either clumsy or nonexistent.

I’d rate this short-lived program at a 3 out of 10 for three things that were neat.  One, the ape makeup and costuming is still fun.  Two, McDowall is always fun to watch and was a superb actor, even under all that makeup.  And, three, this really can scratch your nostalgia itch for popular 1970’s science fiction.  (Let’s dress up and play low-budget make-believe in the Southern California desert, shall we?)



Bucket List Addition: Planet of the Apes. (DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL.)

1)  Save enough money for voice coaching lessons to develop the best Charlton Heston impression ever.  Also, bail money for disturbing the peace.

2)  Visit Liberty Island wearing nothing but tattered slacks.

3)  Just fall to my knees and start screaming: “You blew it up! You maniacs! God damn you! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!”