Here's some interesting tidbits that you may or may not know:
- The inspiration for Planet of the Apes was the novel by Pierre
Boulie, "La Plančte des Singes," or
"Monkey Planet." Boulle considered the novel one of his lesser
works, with no potential for a motion picture adaptation.
- Producer Arthur P. Jacobs spent three years developing and pitching his
idea of Planet of the Apes to the studios before Richard Zanuck
finally agreed to produce the film at 20th Century Fox.
- Arthur P. Jacobs was originally a publicist before becoming a producer.
His most famous client was Marilyn Monroe. Before Planet of the Apes,
he also produced Dr. Dolittle, the musical fantasy starring Rex
- Oscar-winning make-up artist John Chambers worked around the clock to
create the elaborate "Ape" make-up for Planet of the Apes.
Extras had to be hired just to sit in for the make-up tests.
- It took up to 80 make-up artists, hair stylists, and wardrobe personnel
for scenes involving as many as 200 apes for Planet of the Apes. The
number of craftspeople utilized resulted in other films throughout Hollywood
being delayed -- due to the unavailability of qualified make-up artists.
- The make-up process for Planet of the Apes, which originally took
up to six hours, was streamlined to three hours. Actors resided in
refrigerated trailers to preserve the make-up between shots. The ape cast
members were also given cigarette holders so that they could smoke while in
make-up, had to eat in front of mirror, and drink soft foods (like
applesauce) and milk shakes through a straw.
- The art department for Planet of the Apes painstakingly designed
the physical setting of the ape culture with simian architecture, wardrobe
and utensils. A rifle was designed specifically to fit in an apes oversized
- The actors portraying three distinct species in Planet of the Apes
-- gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans -- were so affected by the make-up
that when not shooting, the actors would self-segregate within their simian
groups. In fact, Kim Hunter (Zira) and Maurice Evans (Dr. Zaius) were good
friends, but rarely saw each other because they were of different
- Filmed, but deleted from the final cut of Planet of the Apes, was a
sequence revealing that Nova was pregnant (see the Lost
Apes page for the script excerpt and photo).
- Heston's character, "Taylor," was originally named
- Charlton Heston worked for free on Beneath. He was against doing
the sequel for artistic reasons, but was indebted to studio head Richard
Zanuck for making the first film, which was considered a huge risk. Heston
agreed to do the sequel if he could be killed off in the first scene (which
was later expanded to disappearing in the beginning and dying at the end).
He let Zanuck donate money to his son's school in lieu of payment.
- Charlton Heston got a terrible cold in the middle of production on Apes
that reduced his voice to a raspy croak. The following day he had one line
of dialogue: "Take your stinkin' paws off me you damn dirty ape!"
One of the most famous lines from the film, it is the first thing Taylor
says after recovering from a wound to his throat, and just the voice that
Heston needed for the scene.
- Linda Harrison (Nova) did very little acting after Beneath. She
retired from acting to raise her children with Richard Zanuck. She returned
briefly in the mid-80s to do Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return
(playing the young boy's mother). So what prompted her brief comeback? Both
films were produced by her then-ex-husband, Richard Zanuck.
- Linda Harrison was Miss Maryland, 1965.
- Linda Harrison appeared in Airport 1975 billed as "Augusta
- Linda Harrison was the first choice to play Chief Brody's wife in Jaws.
Harrison was married to Richard Zanuck at the time, one of the film's
producers (he left Fox and became an independent producer with partner David
Brown). Zanuck all but promised her the role. Steven Spielberg, without
knowing what Zanuck had planned, was taking an exercise class with Lorraine
Gary and practically promised her the role. Lorraine Gary was also married
to Universal honcho Sidney Sheinberg, who had also given Spielberg his first
job. Gary ended up with the part.
- In order to convince the PTB at Fox that the apes could be made believable
and not laughed off the screen, producer Arthur P. Jacobs, Charlton Heston,
and director Franklin J. Schaffner filmed a five-minute make-up test at the
Fox Ranch, which consisted of a scene between Heston as the astronaut Taylor
and Edward G. Robinson as the talking ape of science, Dr. Zaius, with
dialogue by Rod Serling, who had written the screenplay's first draft. Linda
Harrison played Zira and James Brolin played Cornelius. The test film can be
seen in the new documentary, Behind the Planet of
- Edward G. Robinson was the original choice to play Dr. Zaius, and was all
set to take the role until he did the test scene. Robinson had a weak heart
and one trip to the make-up chair was all it took to convince him that he
wasn't up to the task of going through it every day for the film.
- Roddy McDowall and Natalie Trundy are tied with appearances in four Apes
films each. Had McDowall played Cornelius in Beneath, he would have
appeared in all five films (he was replaced with English actor David Watson
due to a prior commitment). So who is Natalie Trundy (who appeared as a
mutant in Beneath, a human in Escape, and an ape in Conquest
and Battle)? She was married to the late Arthur P. Jacobs, producer
of the Apes saga.
- Technically, Roddy McDowall actually does appear in all five films. Even
though he was replaced in Beneath, he does appear in the pre-title
sequence lifted from the ending of Planet.
- 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. Bacon goes
on about this quite a bit in his autobiography. Apes Producer Arthur P.
Jacobs liked to give Bacon and fellow columnist Army Archerd bit parts in
his movies for P.R. purposes. (Thanks to Doublex for this and the preceding
bit of trivia).
- Burt Reynolds was approached to play the role of "Brent" in Beneath,
which ultimately went to popular television actor James Franciscus.
Franciscus felt the role was too wimpy, and reasoned that was why Reynolds
turned it down, so he and a friend rewrote the part to make him more
"manly." Though he was chastized for this action, many of his
changes made it into the final script. Franciscus was considered to be a
"miniature Charlton Heston."
- The "office complex" that was used as the location for Conquest
was Century City, nestled between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. Most of it
still looks the same. (Thanks to Vidmkt for this piece of trivia.)
- The riot scenes in Conquest were modeled after the 1965 Watts
riots. Screenwriter Paul Dehn and director Lee Thompson utilized the
flexibility of the science-fiction genre as a means to portray and comment
on current social issues.
- Originally, Caesar's (Roddy McDowall) final victory speech in Conquest
was a militant call for revolution, but responding to audience test
reactions, the speech was changed to end the film on a more hopeful note. If
you watch the film closely, you'll notice that the film cuts back and forth
between close-ups of Caesar, Lisa, and the others during the added dialogue.
- Legendary director, producer, and actor John Huston has a small role in Battle
as the "Ape lawgiver" in the prologue and epilogue.
- Film director John Landis appears in Battle. This was back before
he became a director and worked sporadically as a part-time actor and
stuntman. He is listed in the credits as "Jake's Friend."
- The Planet of the Apes television series
aired in 1974. Because the show's main audience was children, and children
didn't attract advertisers, the program was cancelled after one season. Hard
to believe when every Saturday morning cartoon today is used to sell a line
- A theatrical re-release of all five films took place in 1974. 20th Century
Fox did an extensive marketing and merchandising campaign that encompassed
60 companies and over 300 items, including lunchboxes, posters, games, comic
books, masks and more. This was a first of its kind, an extraordinary
merchandising event that paved the way for the mass merchandising blitzes
that consumers have grown to expect with every big budget film.
- NBC premiered a half-hour animated television series entitled Return to the Planet of the Apes in 1975, which
lasted one year.
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