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Planet of the Apes/Forbidden Zone FAQ

Version 3.0 -- February, 2001

This FAQ covers questions not only about the Apes films in general, but also provides quick and easy access to information on this site.
  1. Apes on Film
    1. When was Planet of the Apes made?
    2. How many Apes films are there?
    3. Why did such a big actor like Charlton Heston agree to star in Planet of the Apes?
    4. Why didn't Charlton Heston have a very big role in Beneath the Planet of the Apes?
    5. Did Roddy McDowall play in all five Apes movies and the TV show?
    6. In looking at the credits for all the films, I noticed that Natalie Trundy appeared in all of them except the first one, and as different characters. Who is she?
    7. But didn't Natalie Trundy play Stewart, the woman astronaut who dies, in the opening of Planet?
    8. Was there anyone who played in all five movies?
    9. Was film director John Landis really in one of the Apes movies?
    10. Is it true that Planet of the Apes was written by Rod Serling?
    11. Whatever happened to Linda Harrison, the girl who played Nova?
    12. Didn't Planet of the Apes win a couple of Oscars?
    13. Where was Planet of the Apes filmed? Are the sets still there?
    14. Isn't there a new Apes movie in the works?

  2. Apes In Print
    1. Is it true that Planet of the Apes was based on a book?
    2. Is the movie really different from the book?
    3. Are there any books about the Apes series?
    4. Years ago, I read an article in Starlog about a book that chronicled the entire Apes film saga? Was it ever published?
    5. Isn't there a book out that claims Planet of the Apes is a metaphor for America during the Vietnam era?
    6. Wasn't there a Planet of the Apes comic book?

  3. Apes on TV/Video
    1. Wasn't there a Planet of the Apes television series?
    2. Wasn't there a Planet of the Apes animated series?
    3. How can I get the movies on video?
    4. How can I get the TV shows on video?
    5. How can I get the animated series on video?
    6. When are the Apes movies coming out on DVD?

  4. More Apes Questions
    1. How can I write to (Insert Name Here)? Can you forward a letter to (Insert Name Here)?
    2. How does the timeline work?
    3. I've still got some of my Planet of the Apes toys from when I was a kid. Are they worth anything?
    4. Where can I get a Planet of the Apes script?
    5. Wasn't there a Planet of the Apes stage show back in the 70s?
 
 
  1. Apes on Film
    1. When was Planet of the Apes made?
      Planet of the Apes was released in 1968. It was produced by the late Arthur P. Jacobs under his company, APJAC Productions, and released by Twentieth Century Fox (who broke new ground again nine years later with the release of Star Wars). At the time, 2001: A Space Odyssey was the only serious science fiction film ever made, and Fox felt it was taking a huge risk in hoping that the film wouldn't be laughed off the screen, much less be successful. For more information about PotA's trip to the silver screen, see the Starlog article "Planet of the Apes Revisited" and the excerpt from Charleton Heston's first biography, An Actor's Life.

       

    2. How many Apes films are there?
      There are five Apes movies so far. Planet of the Apes was followed by Beneath the Planet of the Apes, which was intended to be the end of the series. However, Beneath was so successful that Fox scrambled for a way to revive the series. The resulting storyline produced three more sequels, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and finally, Battle for the Planet of the Apes. The Tim Burton film, Planet of the Apes (2001) will be the sixth film, though it does not fall into the chronology of the first five, but is rather a "re-imagining" (as the producer's call it) of the first film.

       

    3. Why did such a big actor like Charlton Heston agree to star in Planet of the Apes?
      Some people have wondered why the man who played Moses and Ben-Hur would do a "silly science-fiction movie" like Planet of the Apes. In actuality, Heston saw it as a serious film with many themes that greatly intrigued him, and was very instrumental in getting the first film produced. For more information on Heston's involvement, see the excerpts from his autobiographies, An Actor's Life and In the Arena.

       

    4. Why didn't Charlton Heston have a very big role in Beneath the Planet of the Apes?
      Despite the fact that Fox had taken a huge risk in making Apes for Heston, he felt that there wouldn't be any challenge for him as an actor in doing a sequel. However, he did realize that he was indebted to Fox, so he agreed to appear in Beneath if Taylor could be killed off early in the film (which was later changed). For more information on Heston's involvement in Beneath, see the excerpts from his autobiographies, An Actor's Life and In the Arena, plus the Starlog article, "Planet of the Apes Revisited."

       

    5. Did Roddy McDowall play in all five Apes movies and the TV show?
      Yes and no. Technically, Roddy McDowall was in all five Apes films, sort of. His character, Cornelius, appeared in Beneath, but due to a prior commitment, was played by another actor (see the Starlog article, "Planet of the Apes Revisited"). However, Beneath opens with a replay of the ending of Planet, which contains footage featuring Roddy McDowall. McDowall also dubbed all of Cornelius' dialogue, so even though it's not him in the costume, we still hear his voice. McDowall also starred in the short-lived TV series. For more information concerning who played in all five movies, see the Apes Trivia.

       

    6. In looking at the credits for all the films, I noticed that Natalie Trundy appeared in all of them except the first one, and as different characters. Who is she?
      Natalie Trundy was the wife of the late Arthur P. Jacobs, producer of all the Apes films. She played a mutant (Albina) in Beneath, a human (Dr. Stephanie Branton) in Escape, and a chimp (Lisa, Caesar's wife) in Conquest and Battle. Like Roddy McDowall, she appeared in four out of the five Apes movies. For more information concerning who played in all five movies, see the Apes Trivia.

       

    7. But didn't Natalie Trundy play Stewart, the woman astronaut who dies, in the opening of Planet?
      No, that was actually actress Dianne Stanley, making her one film appearance (of which we know). This is a common misconception, and one that we've heard several times. In fact, we used to think so, too.

       

    8. Was there anyone who played in all five movies?
      Yes. There was one person who actually did appear in all five Apes films -- Hollywood columnist James Bacon. Bacon did bits as a gorilla in four films, and appeared as a general in the opening scenes of Escape. For more more information, see the Apes Trivia.

       

    9. Was film director John Landis really in one of the Apes movies?
      Yes. John Landis appeared in Battle and is listed in the credits as "Jake's Friend." Shortly afterwards, he directed his first film, the no-budget "missing-link" spoof, Trog, which featured make-up artist Rick Baker as the title character. Baker later went on to the create Oscar-winning make-up effects in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes and Landis' An American Werewolf in London. He also created the make-up for the Tim Burton-directed Apes film.

       

    10. Is it true that Planet of the Apes was written by Rod Serling?
      Yes, the screenplay for the first film was written by Rod Serling, creator of the Twilight Zone. In fact, the storyline for Planet could almost be a two-hour episode of Sterling's famous show. Sterling also submitted several story ideas for the sequel, but all of them were rejected by the studio (see the Starlog article, "Planet of the Apes Revisited").

       

    11. Whatever happened to Linda Harrison, the girl who played Nova?
      While most of the Apes actors went on to, or continued in, distinguished careers, Linda Harrison seemed to just disappear. Actually, at the time Planet was produced, she was married to Fox chief Richard Zanuck, son of famed mogul Darryl Zanuck. After the Apes films, she went on to do a TV series and was almost cast as the wife of Chief Brody in Jaws (see Apes Trivia). Around this time, Harrison took a break from acting to raise her children she had with Zanuck. Some time later, they were divorced, but she continues to make occassional appearances in films he produces with his current wife, Lilli Fini Zanuck. She played the mother of the young boy in Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return, and most recently appeared in Runaway Bride and Planet of the Apes (2001). Be sure to visit the Official Linda Harrison website at www.lindaharrison.com and read our exclusive interview.

       

    12. Didn't Planet of the Apes win a couple of Oscars?
      It was nominated for Best Costume Design (Morton Haack) Best Original Score for a Motion Picture, not a Musical (Jerry Goldsmith), but lost in both categories. John Chambers was given a special award for his achievements in make-up design. According to reader Eric P., Chambers award "reportedly angered Stanley Kubrick since he thought the ape-man makeup utilized in 2001 was far more elaborate!"

       

    13. Where was Planet of the Apes filmed? Are the sets still there?
      The opening scenes of Planet were filmed in Page, Arizona. According to the Director of the Powell Museum in Page (http://www.page-lakepowell.com), "The movie was filmed in the area behind Big Water, UT and in the back end of Warm Creek Bay -- accessible by four wheel drive in dry weather. There is nothing there except lots of rocks. Nothing remains of the set or props though we do have one of the styrofoam rocks in our local museum. Stop by the John Wesley Powell Museum or the Page Chamber of Commerce office and get more specific directions" (Thanks to Stefan for this updated info). The Ape City scenes were filmed on the Fox Ranch (also called the Malibu Ranch). I don't know if the sets are still there. The Tim Burton Planet of the Apes film was also lensed partially in Page, Arizona, in the same locations as the original.

       

    14. Isn't there a new Apes movie in the works?
      Yes! Though previous reports appeared to be a mixed blessing -- the only thing the film had in common with the Apes series was the title, and Arnold Schwarzenegger was been rumored to be the star. For a short, but exciting period, the $100 million project was in James Cameron's able hands. Later, however, Cameron passed and the film is now being directed by Tim Burton and produced by Richard Zanuck, the former studio head who greenlit the first Apes film. For more complete information, see the New Film page.

       

  2. Apes In Print
    1. Is it true that Planet of the Apes was based on a book? Yes, Planet of the Apes is based on a French novel by acclaimed author Pierre Boulle, who also wrote Bridge Over the River Kwai. Boulle considered it one of his lesser works, with no potential for a movie adaptation. See the Novel page for an excerpt from the book.

       

    2. Is the movie really different from the book?
      Very. In the book, which is also structured differently, the Apes live in modern cities, drive cars, fly in airplanes, watch TV, and more. They have essentially taken over everything as-is, without the nuclear holocaust which features prominently in the films. The filmmakers changed the Apes' world to a more primitive one in order to save on production costs.

       

    3. Are there any books about the Apes series?
      Yes! For many years there were none, but now there are several. One of the best is called Planet of the Apes Revisited, by Joe Russo (see next question for more info). There are several others, thanks to the new film, listed on our Bibliography page. Charlton Heston has written two autobiographies, both of which contain info about his work on the first two Apes films (complete excerpts are provided from In the Arena and The Actor's Life). See also the next two questions.

       

    4. Years ago, I read an article in Starlog about a book that chronicled the entire Apes film saga? Was it ever published?
      Net yet, but it's coming soon. It is titled "Planet of the Apes Revisited," which was the proposed title for the second film. It's due to finally be published in August 2001. Though several online booksellers, including Amazon.Com list the book as having been published by in 1991 by Image Publishing of New York, it never actually saw print. We finally got the straight scoop from author Joe Russo, who says that the book was also supposed to have been published as a companion piece to the Behind the Planet of the Apes documentary that was aired on American Movie Classics and included with the video release (in fact, we're told that much of the material in the documentary came from Joe Russo). However, the publishing company backed out at the last minute. We feel for Joe, who's been working on this book for over fifteen years. We're excited that this book will finally see print after all these years. You can order it via Amazon on our Bibliography page.

       

    5. Isn't there a book out that claims Planet of the Apes is a metaphor for America during the Vietnam era?
      Yes. It's called 'Planet of the Apes' as American Myth (McFarland, $29.95), by Eric Greene. See the review that appeared in Entertainment Weekly. See the Books page to order it from Amazon.com.

       

    6. Wasn't there a Planet of the Apes comic book series?
      Yes, there have been two. The first was published by Marvel Comics -- I believe during the 70s. The second was published by Adventure Comics starting in 1990. The Adventure line fit into the Apes continuity many years after the death of Caesar (see Apes Detailed Timeline). The Adventure Series was a smash success when first published, and served as the flagship for other series, such as Ape City. While the stories were okay, the artwork was so-so. I stopped buying it after Issue #4 because I couldn't figure out why Adventure would fork out the cash for the rights to do an Apes comic, and then print the cheapest-looking book possible.

       

  3. Apes on TV/Video
    1. Wasn't there a Planet of the Apes television series?
      Yes, there have been two -- a live-action series that starred Roddy McDowall, and an animated series, called Return to the Planet of the Apes. Both only last thirteen episodes. See the Live-Action Series episode guide and the Animated Series episode guide for more info.

       

    2. Wasn't there a Planet of the Apes animated series?
      Yes, see the previous question.

       

    3. How can I get the movies on video?
      Fox has released the Planet of the Apes Collection on video, available individually and as a boxed set. You can purchase them online from the Fox Store. Just go to the Movies page and click on the "Buy This Item Now" button beside the appropriate movie (you can also buy books from from Amazon.com via our Books page). If you don't want to order them online, check with your local video store, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, or places like Best Buy. The Apes Collection on DVD was released in August, 2000. Unfortunately, both the video and DVD sets were pulled from distribution to avoid confusion with the Tim Burton film (to which we say, "Huh"?), but will reappear after the new movie ends its theatrical release.

       

    4. How can I get the TV shows on video?
      To my knowledge, they are not available on video. However, The Sci-Fi Channel shows them periodically. TBS has also been known to show them as a series of TV movies (two episodes just stuck together), each re-christened with silly titles like "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit on the Planet of the Apes." Fox Home Video was considering a video release of the series in 1998 (when the POTA Collection was released -- and we said PLEASE!), but they ultimately decided against it due to the cost of restoring the episodes. We're hoping that with the release of the Tim Burton film, perhaps they'll change their minds.

       

    5. How can I get the animated series on video?
      To my knowledge, they are not available on video. However, The Sci-Fi Channel has shown them in the past.

       

    6. When are the Apes movies coming out on DVD?
      August, 2000. We've got all the latest details on our Apes DVD page.

       

  4. More Apes Questions
    1. How can I write to (Insert Name Here)? Can you forward a letter to (Insert Name Here)?
      To reach your favorite Apes star, check the Fan Mail page for their address. We are unable to forward mail to any Apes star.

       

    2. How does the timeline work?
      Essentially, it all works in a big circle. Chronologically, the events of the last three films (Escape, Conquest, and Battle) come first, with the events of the first two films occurring much later. But you can't call the last three films "prequels," because they are dependent on events that occurred in the first two films. Confused? For a better explanation, see the Simple Timeline or the Detailed Timeline.

       

    3. I've still got some of my Planet of the Apes toys from when I was a kid. Are they worth anything?
      Probably so. There are several books published every year that keep track of the growing value of old toys. Check at your local book store or library. Naturally, the better shape your toys are in (still in original packaging is the best), the more they are worth. I still have my Apes trash can, but, unfortunately, my action figures and treehouse are long gone. Check the Books page to order a book on Planet of the Apes collectibles.

       

    4. Where can I get a Planet of the Apes script?
      Try your local Star Trek (or other Science Fiction) convention. Collectors are usually on-hand selling all sorts of merchandise, including screenplays. We found our Escape from the Planet of the Apes screenplay at a local Star Trek convention. There are also several book stores in Hollywood (and on the web) that sell screenplays. Two that we have used are The Script Shop and Pix Poster Cellar. We also have the complete script of the original posted on our Scripts page.

       

    5. Wasn't there a Planet of the Apes stage show back in the 70s?
      Yes. Between the last film, Battle for the Planet the Apes, and the Planet of the Apes TV series, Paula Crist (Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Earthquake, Towering Inferno) and make-up artist/actor Bill Blake (Planet of the Apes TV Series, Rocky II, Logan's Run TV Series), who was also a protégé of Apes make-up creator John Chambers) toured the US as Cornelius and Zira in a road show officially sanctioned by 20th Century-Fox called "Meet Zira and Cornelius." The make-up appliances were the same ones used in the films, and both had to endure the exact same process as the TV and movie actors. The show lasted until 1977. Blake and Crist logged more time in costume and make-up than any other Apes actors, including Roddy McDowall.