Back when CBS was getting ready to launch the television version of Planet of the Apes in 1974, the network released a behind the scenes promo. Hosted by producer Herbert Hirschman, it attempts to paint a picture of what went into the production of the show, but the vast majority of the footage — filmed and behind the scenes — comes from the big screen versions, most notably the 1968 original. Galen, Virdon and Burke only show up in a brief shot at the very end. The visuals you can see in the video below, but you can read what Hirschman had to say in the following transcript.
HERBERT HIRSCHMAN: Caught up in a strange vortex of energy during a celestial probe. The two astronauts were propelled through the time barrier. They landed 2000 years after their takeoff on a strange continent that had once been known as Earth. From one of the most successful motion pictures ever made, comes an exciting new television series. Planet of the Apes.
Planet of the Apes takes place on Earth. But some 2000 years from now, there’s been some sort of cataclysm that’s changed the whole complexity of the planet. We find that the whole world is turned upside down, that when civilization regenerated itself, the apes became the dominant members of society. We’re creating a world that never existed, so we have plenty of latitude, both in the behavior of people and the society we’re creating. The way it looks, the way we see civilization regenerating itself, is with the apes. Of course, at the top, the center of government, is Ape City, where there are just a few humans who work as clerks and servants. Most of the humans live in comparatively rural communities.
We faced very many special and difficult production problems. Foremost, to get an ape made up, first we have to start with a gooey plastic substance and make a mask of the face. Then when that hardens, it’s cast to mold and on that mold the facial characteristics of the simians are built. We spent somewhere between three and a half and four hours putting this appliance, these appliances, onto the ape characters. The show’s going to have a very strong philosophical base for the Planet of the Apes. It’s a world regenerating itself from our own civilization, mirroring in a strange way, what’s both good and bad about our own lives. Now two astronauts are going to find themselves in a world where evolution has gone completely haywire.
Roddy McDowall, Ron Harper and James Naughton star in Planet of the Apes.