One season shows-The Planet of the apes

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1974

One hour long

Lasted 14 episodes

A spaceship crashes and astronauts Verdon and Burke are the only survivors. They end up finding out they are on a planet dominated by talking apes. Their ship is destroyed and they are on the run. They soon meet up with a chimp named Galen who grudgingly goes off with the humans and becomes a fugitive as well. Together the three try to stay ahead of Dr. Zaius and General Urko while trying to get along with each other and dealing with the problems they run upon.

After five films this series came to the small screen in the fall of 1974, but it didn’t make into 1975. I was four when this came on and I remember it a little. My brother is six years older than me and he got me into Star Trek and was a big Six Million Dollar Man fan back in the 70’s so it’s no wonder he watched the POTA show as well. Yes, I saw this show before I viewed any of the films so it made an impact on me. I saw a few episodes in the 90’s when it was on the Sci-fi channel and I enjoyed it. When it came out on DVD in the early 2000’s I grabbed it. I thought the acting from the two human leads was rough at first, but got better as the show went along. The relationship between the three leads got stronger as the show went along too. Although it could be argued that while the show began with the humans trying to find out what happened in this society that in that became just like the fugitive with the leads running from the law every week. The show was canceled for low ratings. There is often much discussion amongst fans as to how the events of the series do or even could fit in with the timeline established by the previous films. In the first film the astronauts crash on the east coast yet here the astronauts crash on the west coast, but Dr. Zauis is in both places. Roddy McDowell plays characters of different names, but with similar personalities yet he is also on both coasts. Ultimately I always think of the series as an alternate earth’s version of the apes taking over events. I am a big POTA fan so yeah I liked the series and really wished that it had gotten at least a whole year to try and establish itself. If I’d been a teenager watching this when it was first on I would have been hooked. Ultimately it’s a show that tried to put the ideas from the films into a series and put in enough action and story to attract people, but ultimately they just couldn’t pull in enough people.

 

Apes in other places

 

Like any other popular series the Planet of the apes was subject to spoofs and being pulled into other shows as an influence of a backdrop.

They had a spot in the sci-fi spoof Spaceballs.

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A Planet of the apes musical took place in the Simpsons.

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Mystery Science Theater 3000 had an Apes inspired character in Professor Bobo.

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Even Cher appeared with Apes.

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In earlier seasons of Welcome Back, Kotter you may notice Arnold Horshack carrying this lunchbox.

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Feel free to add any other references that you know of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My history with the Planet of the apes

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Unlike a lot of other people my first ape memories are not of Charlton Heston or the other movies, but rather of the short lived 1974 TV show. I was four then so I guess my ten year old brother begged to see it and it was on. I have faint memories of apes on horses and two guys and a chimp running around a lot. Around this time out neighbor gave me a Christmas present that was an Apes play set with plastic trees, Apes figures and Army guys. I played it to death I’m sure.  After that  the next time I remember anything Apes related was around 81-82 when a local channel started showing these Apes movies on Sunday afternoon. I watched and enjoyed them but I didn’t find out until a few years later that these were not the Apes theatrical movies, but rather some of the episodes of the show slapped together as a movie. So I still had not seen the movies. Flash forward to Halloween 1992 and I finally saw the 1968 classic and loved it. During the rest of the 1990’s I saw the other theatrical films and the TV series when the sci-fi channel showed it. In 1998 AMC showed an Apes fest with all the films over and over plus Roddy McDowall hosting the documentary Behind the planet of the apes which was awesome. I was a huge Apes fan by that point, but when Tim Burton’s film was coming I was not excited because I figured it was going to be bad and it was (more on this later in the week if I get to it). After that film died down Apes went back to being about the late 60’s and early 70’s again until the franchise was revived a few years ago. This time it was done right plus the Apes franchise had a future again. Which us brings us to this week. The Apes franchise has held up alright over the years keeping a fair amount of solid fans and it’s good to see the idea being revived again in the reboots. Hopefully fans of the older films can appreciate the new films and likewise hopefully younger fans getting into the Apes via the new films can appreciate the older films. Oh and don’t forget the TV series it had some good ideas here and there. I will review one episode each of both the 1974 series and the short lived 1975 cartoon this week as well.

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Conquest of the planet of the apes

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1972

Who’s in this?

Roddy McDowall as Caesar son of talking apes from the future who grows up in a wordl where apes don’t talk and are slaves. Roddy was a child actor who easily transitioned into acting as an adult. Was in tons of tv and movies in the 60’s and 70’s plus did a number of voices on cartoons in his later years. Was in four of the five apes films and the tv series.

Natalie Trundy as Lisa the chimp with eyes for Caesar. Trundy was a model as a teen and got into acting shortly after that. She married Apes produced Arthur Jacobs and ended up being in four of the five Apes films.

Don Murray as Breck the governor and tyrannical ruler over the apes. Murray had a promising career in the 50’s and still worked fairly regularly for decades after that. He is listed as being in a project this year which would be his first credit in eight years. Maybe best known for being in Bus Stop with Marilyn Monroe.

Hari Rhodes as MacDonald assistant to Breck, but he sympasizes with the apes. A regular in films and tv in the 60’s and 70’s, was working fairly steady until he died from a heart attack at 59 in early 1992.

Ricardo Montalban as Armando circus owner, friend of Caesar’s and he knows the apes talks so he tries to hide that fact. Born in Mexico he was in acting by his early 20’s and worked regularly for decades. Best know for Fantasy Island and being Khan in the Star Trek episodes Space Seed and Star Trek 2 the wrath of Khan.

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What’s this about? So 20 years ago some talking apes went back into the past to avoid dying because the earth blew up in their time ka-blam the humans blew it up. When they went back all the 20th century fools said “whoa, talking monkeys”. Some nervous jittery high up guys with ties tied too tight decided to try and kill the talking apes to prevent the earth from blowing up. However the apes had a wee little baby monkey who survived, talked and was given to circus people and that’s how the previous film ended. Fast forward 20 years and the little ape is big, still talking and still hanging out with Armando of the circus. Cats and dogs were wiped out so monkeys were used as pets but later as they got bigger they became slave labor because human. The talking monkey soon to be Caesar is eventually bought by Breck at the monkey auction to serve the Governor. Meanwhile the Governor is convinced that the talking monkey baby from 20 years ago is still alive and has agents searching for him. Armando is questioned, but then falls out a window yeaaaaaaahh! Eventually Caesar has had enough and the apes are revolting…and they don’t smell too nice either. Oh, wait not that kind of  revolting but rather a full blown revolution with whatever weapons they have been collecting behind the backs of the humans. A big night time battle happens with the apes stomping all over the humans. Caesar declares the apes will rule and apes grunt in agreement while the city burns. Roll the credits.

The negatives-The only real negative I had was although Caesar’s motives and background fit in with him leading a revolution I am not sure about the other apes following him so quickly. He gives them a look and bam they go against the humans. Maybe the implication is they all had that desire but just needed a leader to give them a push. It just seemed to happen very fast.

The positives-They make good use of the location and it seems like a bigger budget film than it really was. The acting from the main characters are all strong. The first film is the best of the series, but this was probably McDowall’s best performance in the series.  This is easily the second best film of the original five film run.

Growing up with the Planet of the apes- a short history

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Take your eyeballs off me you doggone dirty human!

Monkey Business week rolls on here at my blog.

My earliest memory of the Planet of the apes was not of any the movies, but rather the short lived tv series that ran in late 1974. I have just brief memories of monkeys and people running around. My dad wasn’t a big sci-fi fan so either my brother begged to see it or there wasn’t much else on at the time. Someone bought me a Planet of the apes play set around then that had plastic apes, Army soliders for some reason and some plastic trees with a connecting bridge. I am sure that I played with it until it fell apart. For years my only memories of Planet of the apes were that toy set and a few images of the show. In the early 80’s we had a channel that showed a lot sci-fi and horror films in the afternoons. Vincent Price movies and Ray Harryhausen films were common place as it seemed like Mysterious Island and Theater of blood were on almost every month. Then they showed what I thought were Planet of the apes movies. I liked them and they were about two dudes and their chimpanzee buddy running from the mean gorillas, kind of like the Dukes of Hazzard only with more hair and no cars. Wait, two guys? How could that be? Well what I didn’t know at the time was that in the early 80’s someone had the bright idea to reach back and grab those tv episodes from 1974 and put some together and call them movies for the sake of showing them on tv. It would actually be another ten years until I saw a real made for the theater Planet of the apes movie. Flash forward to Halloween 1992 I was a freshman at college and it was Friday night. All my friends went drinking and I  just wasn’t into it. So sci-fi nerd that I was and still am I went to the films the college was showing for Halloween which was a double bill of Fantastic Voyage which I had seen many times and the 1968 Planet of the apes which I had yet to see. I was thrilled by Planet of the apes as I watched it in awe, if I wasn’t an Apes fan before I was now. It would be another six years until I saw the other four films. AMC showed them over and over for a few weeks and I watched and taped them. My interest in the Apes was even stronger after that. Since that point I have bought all of the movies on DVD plus the show, the cartoon (one day to be reviewed here) and the two other films one of which stunk like stink has never stank before (thanks, Tim Burton) and the 2011 film which was pretty good. There you go.

Hope to review Conquest of the Planet of the Apes on Thursday to keep Monkey Business week going.

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Humans suck!

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Raise your arm if you’re sure.