Anyway, I'm in a GREAT mood tonight. But notice that I'm not smiling. People are always worried that I'm not smiling. "Joe Bob, why don't you SMILE MORE?" What is it with smiling? We're supposed to GRIN LIKE IDIOTS all the time, aren't we? But look at the photographs and paintings from before the twentieth century. If you go back thousands of years, nobody EVER felt the need to smile for a painting or a photo. I've got old tintype pictures of my great-grandparents, and they look grim as undertakers. I'm sure they weren't unhappy when the picture was taken. That's just WHAT THEIR FACES LOOKED LIKE. They didn't feel any need to change it just because some guy with a camera was standing there.
Have you ever noticed that, in a group photo, everyone smiles, including the people who never smile in life? You get these photos back -- nine morose guys having drinks at the Cigar Bar -- and they have these weaselly grins on their faces and you think, "Who are these guys?" You've got this alcoholic stockbroker going through a divorce, having too many drinks before he goes home to his nagging girlfriend, and STILL he puts on this mile-wide grin for the camera. I think one reason we don't trust politicians anymore is that they smile too dang much. Bill Clinton is practically a Crest commercial. And you know who smiles more than anybody? Salesmen. Shouldn't that tell you something right there? The next time somebody tells you to smile for the camera, strike a blow for reality. Tell people you like your face just fine the way it is.
Speaking of weird-looking people, let's start "Planet of the Apes." Charlton Heston plays an astronaut who lands on a planet that looks suspiciously like the desert outside of Vegas, where he's captured by these apes in rubber caftans and poked and prodded and FORCED to sleep with a beautiful woman until ape stars Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter try to help him avoid being made into walking lunchmeat. Let's do the drive-in totals.
Twenty-three dead bodies.
Eight nekkid bewtocks.
Fire hose fu.
Four stars. It's a classic, so check it out.
[fading] By the way, anybody sees my picture in the TV Guide or somewhere, grinning like a jackal in a henhouse, draw a mustache on it so I'll look ten percent less of an idiot. I WAS grinning, wasn't I? Why do I do that?
[fading] You know who else in Hollywood packs heat? Cybill Shepherd. Wouldn't THAT be scary, if you hacked HER off? Oh, by the way . . . check out these BOULDERS in the next scene here. Tell me what you think of these boulders.
RUSTY: Aw, they don't all say that, Joe Bob.
J.B.: Thank you, Rusty.
RUSTY: Some of em say you're an imbecile.
J.B.: Again, thank you.
RUSTY: And then there was the one where the guy called you an ignorant hick, remember that--?
J.B.: Okay, that's enough. Where's my mail?
RUSTY: Here's an e-mail from G. Strang of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It's animal-related for tonight's movie.
"Dear Joe Bob,
"About tonight's movie -- my roommate (feline) has been sleeping through the whole thing, with the exception of the evil cat growls that proceeded the phone man's demise."
J.B.: Do we know what movie was on that night?
RUSTY: It's obviously the one where the cats attack the house, "Strays."
"This shouldn't be taken to mean the movie has no cat-appeal - so far, the only programs she likes are nature shows about polar bears. Oh, and she did follow a good bit of the Mummers Parade this year."
RUSTY: Oh, that's so cute!
"You really do have to be frightened by cats in the first place for this to count as horror, don't you? I shouldn't complain - I seem to still be watching it.
"G., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania."
By the way, write in care of TNT at 1010 Techwood Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30318, and maybe I'll read YOUR letter. Or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our website: tnt.turner.com/joebob. But I have to say, G., that the only reason your cat likes the polar bear shows is that she believes the polar bears are actually eight inches tall.
RUSTY: You think the cat thinks they're other cats?
J.B.: I don't really think anything. It's a cat.
RUSTY: I can just see him sitting there watching the TV . . . [acting like a cat] mrow!
J.B.: [beat, then] It's a hormonal thing, isn't it? Let me ask you a question. Do you think cats think that people are ALSO cats, or do cats really believe they're people, but just really short?
RUSTY: Cats believe they're people, definitely.
J.B.: A woman would say that.
RUSTY: And, in a way, they ARE people.
J.B.: Okay, I give up.
That's Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter as the peace-nik chimpanzees Cornelius and Zira. Keep in mind that this film was a social statement in 1968, the era of Nixon, Vietnam, the counter-culture. It's not just about guys in monkey suits. Edward G. Robinson, who's also in "Soylent Green," was originally gonna play the part of Dr. Zaius, but he had a weak heart, and he thought sitting in the make-up chair six hours a day would pretty much do him in, so he bailed. Because we all know tragic examples of fatal heart attacks caused by excessive makeup. Okay, commercials and back to the flick.
[fading] Kim Hunter said she spent time at the L.A. Zoo studying how chimpanzees kiss, but that is NOT how chimps kiss. Not that I would know. I'm more of an orangutan man.
[fading] 1965 -- the good old days for beauty pageants. They're not the same anymore. It's hard for em to exist in the post-feminist era. Remember a couple years ago when the Miss America Pageant was debating whether to get rid of the swimsuit competition? They forgot that beauty is power. Especially a beauty in a bikini. Bikinis are power. Thong bikinis are absolute power.
Okay, something to keep in mind when you're captured by suspicious -- and hostile -- orangutans: DON'T TELL THEM YOU'RE FROM OUTER SPACE. Make friends with em first. Have a few cocktails. Play a little pool. THEN explain the concept of inter-galactic flight -- gently. This movie is based on a French novel by a guy named Pierre Boulle, same guy who wrote The Bridge Over the River Kwai. Rod Serling wrote the first draft of the screenplay -- you'll really notice the ole Twilight Zone touch at the end -- and then he went off to work on something else, so Michael Wilson took over. Michael Wilson had been blacklisted, so between him and Rod Serling, there's all KINDS of social messages in this baby. The book has the apes living in modern cities, watching the 30th century version of "Leave it to Beaver" and so forth, but they couldn't afford to build 30th century sets, so they made it a primitive world. And if I say anything else at this point, I'll give it all away, so let's move along with "Planet of the Apes," after the ads.
[fading] Michael Wilson, blacklisted writer. Oooooo. It's really cool in Hollywood to be a blacklisted writer. They have tributes to em and everything. You know what I never understood, though? I always thought that the McCarthy committee accused em of being Communists and then they were blacklisted for refusing to talk about it. But I never knew they were REALLY COMMUNISTS. And then they de-classify all these KGB records from Russia in the nineties, and sure enough, their names are all in there. They were members of the Communist Party, when the leader of it was Stalin! Did you know that? They WERE Communists! Why don't they just SAY that at the blacklist tributes? "Yes, I was a Commie, so they blacklisted me." They always kinda SKIRT the issue, don't they?
That's the great Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans as the evil Dr. Zaius, and I gotta say, the private meeting he had with Charlton Heston was the first intelligent conversation of the movie. The guy's a jerk, but he's the only clear thinker of the bunch, as far as I'm concerned. I should mention that Maurice Evans was Elizabeth Montgomery's father in the tv show Bewitched. His character's name was Maurice, too. Or was that Paul Lynde? No, Paul Lynde was Uncle Arthur. Always showin up in the ice bucket or someplace. Okay, let's get the ads out of the way.
[fading] This movie took so many people to do ape make-up, ape hair and ape wardrobe that other studios actually had to put their movies on hold. Every union makeup person in town was employed. So no one dared make a movie, because think about it. Bette Davis has a zit and nobody to take care of it--who wants to deal with THAT?
This movie gets a LITTLE scarce on the details at times, but it actually worked really well for the series, cause it left all these plot holes open for the sequels. Did you guys know Fox is remaking "Planet of the Apes"? Oliver Stone was the first director they hired -- I'm sure he woulda had a pretty cool take on it. Oliver brought in Arnold Schwarzenegger to play the Charlton Heston role. Then Oliver dropped out, and Schwarzenegger tells 20th Century Fox it would be okay if they hired Philip Noyce, the director of "Patriot Games." Then Philip Noyce drops out to do "The Saint," and Fox brings in -- get this -- Chris Columbus, the director of "Home Alone." So now it looks like it's pretty much shot to hell, till James Cameron gets on board. Then Cameron bails, and Fox starts offering it to every director in town until Michael Bay of "Armageddon" fame takes it on. Nobody really knows, though, if he OR Schwarzenegger are still attached. Could end up with Martin Scorcese and Joe Pesci. Okay, guess what? It's time for the classic conclusion to "Planet of the Apes," after the commercials.
[fading] Attached. That's what they say in Hollywood. We don't know if Schwarzenegger's still "attached" to the film. It makes it sound like they have a big metal chain around their neck. "Okay, you're ATTACHED. No getting out of this one!"
Well, we live in ironic times, don't we? Do you guys know who Anthony Comstock was? Anthony Comstock was the guy who cleaned up all the vices of New York City around the turn of the century -- he got rid of the lewd dancing, and the whorehouses, and the crude language in the theaters, and the bawdy alehouses, and at first people kinda liked him. It was like cleaning up Times Square. But he just wouldn't stop. He kept finding NEW things to clean up. So, by the end of his career, he was a joke, a laughing-stock. Maybe that's where the WORD "laughing stock" comes from, as a matter of fact, from Anthony Comstock. Why am I dwelling on this? Because that famous final line of the movie we just watched, "Blank damn you all to Hell!" -- the blank being, of course, the name of the Big Guy -- that was considered a controversial line in 1968, and 20th Century Fox wanted the line changed to simply "Damn you all to hell." But Charlton Heston fought tooth and nail to get the line in the movie as written. His argument was that he was literally asking God to condemn the human race. And so the studio said yes, this was one of those pure movie moments where that IS the true spiritual meaning of that line. In fact, that's also why it's in our version.
Okay, I wanna let you know that next week here at "MonsterVision," Alyssa Milano plays virgin co-ed trying to decide which way she's gonna swing -- boys, girls, or vampires. It's Embrace of the Vampire, back by popular demand.
That's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that if God wanted me to touch my toes, he would've put them on my knees.
A bear walks into a bar in Billings, Montana. (I don't have any ape jokes -- this is as close as I could get) Bear walks into a bar in Billings, Montana. Bear bangs on the bar with his paw and says, "Gimme a beer." Bartender says, "We don't serve beer to bears in bars in Billings." The bear gets angry, demands a beer. The bartender again tells him, "We don't serve beer to bears in bars in Billings." The bear, very angry now, says "If you don't serve me a beer, I'm going to eat that lady sitting at the end of the bar." The bartender, once again says, "Sorry, we don't serve beer to bears in bars in Billings." The bear goes to the end of the bar and eats the woman. He comes back to his seat and again demands a beer. The bartender says "Sorry, we don't serve beer to bears in bars in Billings that are on drugs." The bear says, "I'm not on drugs." The bartender says, "Yes you are, that was a barbitchyouate."
Joe Bob Briggs, reminding you that the drive-in will never die.
[fading] It's a sunny morning in the Big Forest and the Bear family is just waking up. Baby Bear goes downstairs and sits in his small chair at the table. He looks into his small bowl. It's empty! "Who's been eating my porridge?" he squeaks. Daddy Bear arrives at the table and sits in his big chair. He looks into his big bowl. It's also empty! "Who's been eating my porridge?" he roars. Mommy Bear puts her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and screams, "For Pete's sake, how many times do we have to go through this? I haven't MADE the porridge yet!!"
"Planet Of The Apes" is available on video and on DVD from Amazon.com
Next in the movie series was Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
Planet Of The Apes" done as a Twilight Zone episode
(Rod Serling intro & parting comments, on the beach)