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Apes Go Classic On AMC

AMC Goes Bananas Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of THE PLANET OF THE APES In September

Featuring Two-Hour Original Special, "Behind The Planet Of The Apes," and All Five "Apes" Films

Hosted On-Air by Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter

WOODBURY, N.Y., August 7, 1998 - In September, AMERICAN MOVIE CLASSICS goes ape when the network celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the smash hit, sci-fi film THE PLANET OF THE APES by presenting all five "Apes" movies and a two-hour original special, BEHIND THE PLANET OF THE APES, hosted by "Apes" star Roddy McDowall. The "Apes" invade AMC all month long when the network presents a two-day festival on September 6 and 7, and a day-long festival on September 12, all hosted on-air by stars from the "Apes" saga, Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter. (Complete schedule attached.)

AMC showcases the five unforgettable motion pictures in the series: THE PLANET OF THE APES (1968), BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970), ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES (1971), CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (1972) and BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (1973). AMC's special, BEHIND THE PLANET OF THE APES, features exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage, screen tests, rare photographs and home movies of the historic making of Hollywood's first cinematic saga, as well as revealing interviews with Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, Linda Harrison, Ricardo Montalban, Natalie Trundy and the key-players involved with creating the films. Additionally, BEHIND THE PLANET OF THE APES chronicles the entire "Apes" phenomena that includes five films, a television series, an animated series, comic books, toys, games and. merchandise. The in-depth special explores the compelling history of the making of each feature film and how the story lines were affected by the social issues of the time.

AMC presents the fully restored version of the 1968 classic science fiction film that kicked off the first Hollywood cinematic saga, THE PLANET OF THE APES. Charlton Heston stars as "Taylor," the leader of a group of American astronauts who discover a world where apes are the master race and humans are non-speaking slaves. Roddy McDowall is "Cornelius" and Kim Hunter is his wife "Dr. Zira," both sympathetic chimpanzees trying to help "Taylor" unravel the mystery behind their existence and a strange human who can speak. The leader of the "Apes," "Dr. Zaius," played by Maurice Evans, is determined to keep the secret of the genesis of the "Ape" society, thwarting any hopes of "Cornelius" and "Dr. Zira" finding the truth. Make-up designer John Chambers won an Oscar for his legendary work on the blockbuster film that not only succeeded as a savvy political satire, but as a social phenomenon.

BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970), is the second installment of the saga. Charlton Heston returns as "Taylor," who mysteriously disappears at the film's opening. James Franciscus plays a space explorer who had been searching for Taylor in space, only to crash on a planet inhabited by a primitive world ruled by apes, which he discovers is Earth. Kim Hunter, Linda Harrison, and Maurice Evans reprise their roles, but because Roddy McDowall was shooting another film, David Watson portrays "Cornelius." In this chapter, the "Apes" battle teiepathic human mutants who survived a nuclear blast. The mutants, who ironically worship the atomic bomb as their god, bring a tragic end to the "Apes" world as they know it.

In the third motion picture in the series, ESCAPE FROM PLANET OF THE APES (1972), Roddy McDowall is back as "Cornelius," as well as Kim Hunter as "Dr. Zira." The tables are turned on the "Ape" couple as they travel back in time to modern day Los Angeles in "Taylor's" space ship, which they salvaged before the planet was destroyed by a nuclear explosion in the last installment. This thought-provoking and suspenseful film explores how society reacts to these speaking primates -- man tests them, welcomes them with open arms, then turns on them when "Corneilus" accidentally kills someone when defending Zira and their expectant baby. Ricardo Montalban is the sympathetic circus owner who takes them into hiding and saves their baby from the same untimely death the couple ultimately faces.

Roddy McDowall and Ricardo Montalban star in the fourth and darkest chapter of the series, CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (1972), which goes 20 years into the future from the last film, where mankind has turned apes into servants under civil regulation. Montalban again plays the kindly circus owner "Armando" who has cared for McDowall, who portrays "Cornelius" and "Zira's" grown son, "Caesar" -- the only one among the "Ape" slaves who can talk. Caesar becomes the rebel leader of the apes who revolt against their keepers and organize a revolution to overthrow the men in power and destroy the human race.

BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (1973), the fifth and final installment of the saga, is set after the "Apes" have revolted. A nuclear war has occurred and created an environment where Apes and humankind live together in a fragile co-existence. Roddy McDowall returns as "Caesar," who has become the benevolent leader of the "Apes," Natalie Trundy plays his wife "Lisa" and Claude Akins plays the imposing gorilla leader "General Aldo. John Huston has a cameo roll as an aged philosopher who sets the flashback at the beginning of the film.

Also celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the theatrical debut, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release the spectacular, original movie, fully·restored and THX-certified for the first time, on video for a limited time only on August 18. TCFHE has also remastered and THX-certified the four exciting sequels to be part of the Planet of the Apes Collectors edition.

AMERICAN MOVIE CLASSICS is the premier 24-hour movie network, featuring award-winning original productions about the world of American film. With one of the finest, most comprehensive libraries of classic films from the 1930s through the 1970s and a diverse blend of original programming, the service brings to life the sophistication and style of a revolutionary era in American film. All motion pictures are presented as they were originally intended to be seen uninterrupted and without colorization. AMC can be seen in 68 million homes.

All times Eastern.