Updated: May 10, 2020
PLANET OF THE APES COLLECTIBLES #07
¦The famous courtroom scene was inspired by a 1920's court case in which a Tennessee schoolteacher was arrested for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution, a case which later inspired the classic film Inherit the Wind.
¦Michael Wilson's script included some knowing literary references, paraphrasing Will Rogers ("I never met an ape I didn't like"), Alexander Pope ("The proper study of apes is apes") and George Orwell ("Some apes are more equal than others").
¦The film had the largest make-up budget in Hollywood history, exceeding $1 million - more than one sixth of the entire budget.
¦Released on 8 February 1968, Planet of the Apes opened so big in New York that for the first three weekends the motion picture not only beat out previous record holders but also bested records it set on preceding weekends. Eventually, the film grossed $26 million at the box office - more than four times its production budget of $5.8 million, making it one of the biggest hits of the year, and it emerged as the second highest grossing, non-roadshow feature in the studio's history.
¦Planet of the Apes attracted filmgoers not accustomed to science fiction films, and the reviews were generally glowing. Variety called it "an amazing film ... The suspense and suspension of disbelief engendered is one of the film's biggest assets."
¦In his review for The National Observer, critic Clifford Ridley commented, "The Flintstonish sets are craggy, ponderous things - suggesting the American Southwest, The Roman Forum, and so on, but seldom creating a feeling that we are anywhere but on quite familiar terrain."
¦Planet of the Apes provided a huge, much-needed hit for Fox, still reeling from the nearly bankrupting $40 million it spent on Cleopatra five years before.
¦Planet of the Apes was nominated for two Academy Awards for 1968, 'Original Score' (Jerry Goldsmith) and 'Costume Design' (Morton Haack), but lost respectively to The Lion In Winter (John Barry) and Romeo And Juliet (Danilo Donati). The film did win a Special Oscar, for John Chambers for his 'Special Makeup Design'.
¦Parts of the Apes makeup appliances were used on actor Michael Conrad, playing an ape-like alien in one of the last few episodes of Lost in Space; "Fugitives in Space" aired in early 1968 shortly before the premier of Planet of the Apes, thus making him one of the first people to wear the Ape make-up on screen. The skeletal remains of the Statue of Liberty torch later appeared as set decoration in the final Lost in Space episode, "Junkyard of Space" (1968).
¦John Chambers was widely suspected of having created the Sasquatch in the famous Patterson/Gimlin 'Bigfoot' film from October 1967, shortly after filming was completed on Planet of the Apes, but he always denied this. Chambers did however create the 'Burbank Bigfoot' - a large plaster prop intended to imitate a real Bigfoot-like creature for showman Jerry Malone's carnival tour - from a body-cast of actor Richard Kiel while working in partnership with 'Don Post Studios' in the 1960s. He also engineered and designed a gorilla for a wax museum in Canada during this time, all of which may have contributed to the well-known rumour. (See also: ape costume expert Janos Prohaska's opinion of the famous footage.)