This is the very rare TV theme from the Planet Of The Apes television show, which ran for 1 season in 1974. The stills are from the DVD series collection with the Lalo Schifrin (known for Mission Impossible, Enter the Dragon, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) score.
Planet of the Apes is the short-lived American science fiction television series that aired on CBS. The series starred Roddy McDowall, Ron Harper, James Naughton, Mark Lenard and Booth Colman. The series was based on the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie and its sequels, in which McDowall also starred. The series ran from September 13, 1974 until December 20, 1974. It centered on two astronauts (Ron Harper and James Naughton) and a sympathetic chimp (Roddy McDowall) friend that are fugitives in a future Earth dominated by a civilization of humanoid apes.
While fourteen episodes of Planet of the Apes were produced, only 13 were originally aired in the U.S.; the 14th episode – reportedly aired in some markets, but pre-empted in others – was included in a 2006 DVD Boxed Set. The show was canceled because of low ratings, due to direct competition by NBC’s Top 10 comedy hits Sanford & Son and Chico & the Man. The series also ran overseas and was screened in Britain by ITV. It was later syndicated with some success in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. It later re-ran on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Escape from Tomorrow
Original Air Date: September 13, 1974
Two astronauts survive a crash-landing on a planet where humanoid apes rule over the primitive humans. The men find that their own intelligence challenges the apes’ superiority, putting their lives in danger.
Original Air Date: September 20, 1974
Burke and Virdon are faced with having to fight to the death after being captured and the Ape Prefect amuses himself by staging gladiator-style fights between the humans in his charge.
Original Air Date: September 27, 1974
After being buried alive in an ancient San Francisco subway station during an earthquake, Burke and General Urko are forced to work together. Above ground, Galen and Verdon try to figure out a way to help Burke, with the assistance of several gorilla soldiers. But General Urko attempts to kill Burke with a shard of glass, when he becomes angered after finding an old circus poster from the human world.
The Good Seeds
Original Air Date: October 4, 1974
When Galen hurts his leg and becomes immobilized, Virdon and Burke seek refuge in a farm until their friend recovers. The farm is operated by a gruff but decent ape named Polar, his wife Zantes, and their three children: older son Anto, younger son Remus, and daughter Jillia. Polar puts the two strangers to work, who teach him alternative farming methods, windmill building and seed selection. Polar soon accepts these changes but Anto resents the strangers, fearing they will hex a cow about to give birth. Until the cow delivers a bull calf, Anto can’t start a farm of his own.
Original Air Date: October 11, 1974
Burke and Verdon discover a holographic message from scientists from their own time, which might help them find out what happened to their world, while they are exploring the ruins of an ancient city.
Original Air Date: October 18, 1974
While walking on an ocean beach with Galen, Virdon and Burke see a condemned man lashed to a raft in the water. They rescue him and carry him to a nearby cave but then an ape-on-patrol captures the two astronauts and takes them to his boss, Hurton. Hurton administers a fishing operation and he presses Virdon and Burke into service as fishermen after they pass a test by swimming under a sheet of flames. Trouble arises when Hurton’s superior, Bandor, comes on an inspection tour, but the astronauts save the day by demonstrating how a net can catch more fish than spears.
Original Air Date: October 25, 1974
Galen risks his freedom, and life by contacting his old sweetheart, Kira, when Virdon is seriously injured. Kira is now a talented, and forward thinking, surgeon; and Galen shares with her a forbidden book on human anatomy, that he and Burke stole from Dr. Zaius’ home, with her.
Original Air Date: November 1, 1974
Galen, Verdon and Burke befriend, Fauna, the blind ape daughter of a human friendly ape who was killed by a murderous band of vigilante apes, calling themselves ‘dragoons.’ Unaware that Burke is human, Fauna falls in love with him, as Galen and Virdon hunt down the ‘dragoons’, only to discover that fauna’s own uncle is one of them.
The Horse Race
Original Air Date: November 8, 1974
Virdon agrees to race a chimpanzee Prefect’s horse against Urkos best horse, in exchange for a condemned boy’s freedom. Urko has never lost a race, but of course, as Virdon finds out, Urko doesn’t play fair. Despite Urko’s treachery and cheating, Virdon prevails in the end.
Original Air Date: November 15, 1974
When Burke is captured by Urko’s soldiers, he is forced to face two equally horrifying options: he can either be killed, outright, by Urko or he can be used in a brainwashing experiment, being performed by a prominent ape doctor, using a forbidden (human) text on the subject. The scene in which Urko describes what he believes brainwashing is, is hilarious.
Original Air Date: November 22, 1974
In an attempt to foil the plans of a tyrannical gorilla lieutenant, who is using bribery to replace the chimpanzee Prefect, and gain complete control over a human farming district; Galen, Virdon and Burke risk an encounter with Urke, forcing Urko and Burke to work together, once again (previously in The Trap – Air date: 9/27/74).
Original Air Date: November 29, 1974
Virdon and Burke race to concoct a cure, to save villagers stricken with malaria, with the aid of an ape doctor. They must do this before Urko implements his own version of a cure, by burning down the entire village with everyone in it.
Original Air Date: December 6, 1974
Virdon and Burke’s only hope for survival is to convince, with Galen’s help, their human captors to rebel against the apes, with whom this tribe of humans turns their fellow humans over to as slaves. This episode was not aired during the series original run.
Up Above the World So High
Original Air Date: December 13, 1974 (In some markets)
Unaware that a chimpanzee scientist plans to use the flying machine of an imprisoned man, whose life she spared, for her own deadly purpose; Virdon, Burke and Galen help the man to build a hang glider. This was the final episode of the series.
Planet Of The Apes TV Series (1974)
- El planeta de los simios (Latin America)
- A majmok Bolygója (Hungary)
- Apinoiden Planeetta (Finland)
- Apornas Planet (Sweden)
- La Planète des Singes (France)
- Planet der Affen (West Germany)
While Planet Of The Apes TV Series was cancelled after 14 weeks because of low ratings in the US, it was a huge success in the UK. There were also rumors for years that it might go back into production, after becoming a cult hit in syndicated reruns.
While the original Planet Of The Apes film was set primarily in what used to be New York City, the television show was set in a futuristic California. Both took place after a nuclear war.
An uncredited Rod Serling wrote the original treatment and two proposed scripts for the Planet Of The Apes TV Series, essentially creating the basic format followed by the program - two astronauts and one chimpanzee pursued by the Apes civilization. This was a reversal of the original film, which saw a single human and two chimpanzee fugitives.
Twentieth Century Fox tried yet another route with the 'Apes' franchise after the failure of Planet of the Apes, with the animated TV series Return to the Planet of the Apes, which ran from 1975–1976. That series featured the voices of Philippa Harris as Dr. Zira, Austin Stoker as astronaut Jeff Allen, Henry Corden as General Urko, and Claudette Nevins as Nova.