|"PLANET OF THE
[beer; sponge w/scrubby side; chart with stats from 2nd paragraph; one of those evolution charts, showing the ape evolving into man, doctored to include a few pre-human humans, like Mickey Hargitay and Ethel Merman.]
Okay, what is this, Week Five? Week Five of "Joe Bob's Summer School," where we try to answer the question "If a man says something in the woods and there's no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?" I am Professor Joe Bob, and tonight's class is Advanced Primate Studies, where my lecture on the Evolution of the Species will be accompanied by the long-awaited cult double- feature of Planet of the Apes and "Escape from the Planet of the Apes."
Did you know human beings have DNA that is 98.4 percent identical to the DNA of chimpanzees? Humans have a couple a hundred thousand genes, and only about 2000 of em are different from the genes of a chimp. The DNA of any two PEOPLE is 99.9 percent identical, and the DNA of siblings, with only a handful of genes that are different, is 99.99 percent the same. Which means, of course, that it's possible that my Daddy was actually . . . a chimp. There are also special cases of humans who were descended not from the apes, but from reptilian life forms. Those humans are called marketing executives.
Now, how is this information useful? It's useful in that it can be used to calculate when man branched off from each of the other species, from the ape to the household sponge. Scientists even more intelligent than myself have estimated that it has been five million years since we separated from the chimps. With 2000 genes that are different, the rate of mutation comes out to two-and-a-half million years per thousand genes, or one new gene every 2500 years. That one new gene showed up in the 1970s, as a matter of fact. Bob Barker got it, host of "Price Is Right." Okay, I know what you're waiting for--let's compare humans to farm animals. The DNA of most farm animals is 70 percent identical to ours. Except in three cities in Iraq and one neighborhood in East Dallas, and then it's a little higher. With approximately 14,000 genes that don't match, we can calculate that we separated from your basic dairy cow 35 million years ago. Which explains the willingness of some people to work in freeway toll booths. Let's compare humans to . . . oh, I don't know, beer. Beer contains yeast, and the DNA of yeast is 30 percent identical to that of humans. Which means that we have 60,000 genes that are inter- changeable with that of fermented barley and hops once quaffed by Teutons in loincloths. And with 140,000 that are different, we know that we separated as a species from beer . . class? That's right, 350 million years ago. Let's look at that sponge. We were one with sponges a mere 630 million years ago. Unless it has the scrubby side, and then it's 640. Many of those sponge genes have survived to the present day, in the form of . . . agents.
And speaking of simians, we'll be meeting later on tonight with one of the original "Planet of the Apes" talking chimps, but right now time to start the film that spawned four sequels, two tv shows, a comic book, and every gas-station give-away or Happy Meal tie-in that ever graced this great country of ours. Now from what I understand, there are a lot of people who think this flick is CHEESY. Well, 20th Century Fox didn't want make it at first because of that very reason -- they thought people would laugh when they saw humans having conversations with guys in monkey suits. So the producer, Arthur Jacobs, put Edward G. Robinson in ape make-up and had him play a scene out of Rod Serling's script with Charlton Heston. They filmed it and showed it to all the secretaries, and guess what -- no one laughed. And it's still great. Charlton Heston plays an astronaut who lands on a planet that looks suspiciously like the desert outside of Vegas, where he's captured by talking apes. It's obviously a classic, so check it out.
[fading] Five million years ago, we were all chimps. Fabio would have had a talk show. Pauly Shore would sell men's wear. Gloria Steinem would shave her legs, just to be different.
"PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #1
A little sloooooow gettin started, in case you haven't watched it in a while. But remember, everybody was primed for the apes. They were holding off on the apes, because, with a title like "Planet of the Apes," everybody in the theater knew the apes were coming; they just didn't know when or how. Charlton Heston! In what I think is one of his best roles. He had that whole Apocalyptic Period -- made two of the best sci-fi movies of the late sixties, early seventies, this one and "Soylent Green." But you can't watch him today without thinking: National Rifle Association, right? Current president of the NRA, and completely politically incorrect. He actually had the kahoonas to speak at Harvard and ADMIT that he had a hand in getting my pal Ice-Tdropped from Warner Brothers Records during the "Cop Killer" controversy. The president of the NRA, speaking out against a song about shootin people. The guy hacks off EVERYBODY. I love the Chuckster, but I think he was wrong on that one. "Cop Killer" came out the same year that "Unforgiven" came out. Clint Eastwood wins an Academy Award for playing . . . a COP KILLER! Same story. Anyway, my favorite Charlton Heston story is that, during the El Lay riots in '92, his friends were calling him up asking to borrow his guns. So Chuck says, "Why don't you buy one and take some lessons?" And they'd say, "Well, there's this waiting period." And Chuck would say, "I know -- you voted for it." He was having a good old time. Anyhoo, let's get back to the movie. I wanna see some apes.
[fading] I personally don't think a dang thing is gonna happen when Y2K hits, but I may invite Chuck Heston to my New Year's party just in case. I bet the guy's got some serious ammo on hand for that. 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.
"PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #2
How bout those terrifying boulders? Were those things made out of Japanese lantern paper or WHAT? Were those the first actual helium-filled killer boulders to be used by Hollywood? They spent all their money on the ape makeup, didn't they? Anyhow, I'll have you know that, if you watched this movie any OTHER time on TNT, you would not have been rewarded with those bare bewtocks. Those are in the "Summer School" version only. Don't you think that's kinda kinky on the part of the TNT censors? What are they thinking? People might be WARPED by a view of Charlton Heston's bewtocks, but the people that watch MY show will just think it's normal? Actually, we included those for purposes of psychological realism. Because think about. What would you do if you landed on a strange planet and suddenly found a pond? Strip nekkid and frolic, right? And Chuck Heston did do his own butt work back in 1968. There were no stunt hineys used in the making of "Planet of the Apes." But who wants monkeys? We want monkeys! Back to the flick.
[fading] Don't forget, next break I'll be joined by tonight's guest lecturer, Marvin Mishowski, one of the great ape actors of our time. Is Marvin in makeup? He had it on when he got here. Okay.
"PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #3
The famous ape-on-horseback attack scene, from the original "Planet of the Apes." Where Charlton Heston is clubbed into submission, trussed up like a deer, examined by ape veterinarians, and then . . . given a supermodel to play with. Okay, we have a special guest-lecturer for Advanced Primate Studies here at "Joe Bob's Summer School." You've seen him in countless films and television shows, you've always wondered who he was. Well, now you can put a name to the face -- ladies and gentlemen, the hardest working ape-suit actor in show biz, Marvin Mishowski.
MARVIN: How you doin' folks? How you doin'.
So, Marvin, you work exclusively in an ape suit.
MARVIN: We stopped saying "ape suit" in the sixties.
Sorry. What do you say?
MARVIN: I do simian character work.
Okay. Simian character work. And are you actually in "Planet of the Apes"?
MARVIN: Yeah, I am, but unfortunately all my lines were cut. You can still see me from time to time, though. I'm the gorilla who shoots Chuck Heston in the throat.
What was it like making such a historic film?
MARVIN: Lemme tell ya, Joe Bob, it was hell. We had to sit in refrigerated trailers between shots so our make-up wouldn't melt. We couldn't eat solid foods. Applesauce, and milkshakes through a straw. In front of a mirror, no less. If we wanted to smoke, we had to use cigarette holders. I musta dropped twenty pounds during that gig. See, that's why motion picture studios should always go with professional simians. A lot of people think you can just pick up some kid off the street, but, you know, you get what you pay for.
I understand what you mean.
MARVIN: Thank you.
Was this your first film?
MARVIN: Oh, no, I worked as an extra for years before this. You know, Tarzan films. Anything with a jungle theme. We used to all hang out at this one little coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard -- The Hamburger Hamlet. In those days the casting directors would just come by grab a few of us we'd have our coffee we'd leave a couple coins for the lady. They'd drive us out to the set.
And these were all apes who hung out at the same coffee shop?
MARVIN: Yeah what do ya think? I mean you wouldn't believe how much ape work there was back then. There was an ape job every week in the year. That's fifty-two ape jobs.
All right. We'll talk more to ape actor Marvin Mishowski at the next break but right now let's get back to the movie. And can I get you something to drink Marvin, I notice you got a little TMJ thing goin' on there.
MARVIN: Yeah you're right, yeah. I can't control it sometimes. A Perrier would be nice.
Sure thing. Can we get Marvin a Perrier?
MARVIN: With a straw.
A straw for Marvin.
MARVIN: You got the kind with the lime in it?
Lime Perrier . . .
MARVIN: So delicious. How do they do that?
"PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #4
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. No offense, Marvin.
MARVIN: None taken. The message in this film is what makes it a timeless piece of art.
We're here with Marvin Mishowski, an actor who works exclusively in ape roles. Speaking of Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter, how did you feel about their getting the lead ape parts in this movie?
MARVIN: That didn't bother me. We knew they had to have stars for the two lead apes. But I didn't think Woodrow Parfrey, for example, was a wise choice.
MARVIN: The guy who plays Maximus, the ape political leader. So many of us have dedicated our entire careers to this area, and -- don't get me wrong, Parfrey is good, but I think he'd only done one previous simian, and that was a B movie over at the old Republic Studios. I mean who knows about that? He didn't realize what he was doing and he doesn't really know the business of apery.
I take it you wanted the role of Maximus?
MARVIN: I read for it. Edward G. Robinson had the courtesy to turn down the role of Dr. Zaius. One day in that make up chair and he said, "Let me outta here, boys." And it was . . .
. . . that's good Marvin.
MARVIN: Yeah. Yeah. I loved Eddie G. He knew his limitations.
MARVIN: Kim Hunter said she spent time at the L.A. Zoo studying how chimpanzees kiss, but lemme tell ya, that is NOT how chimps kiss. I mean, it's close, but . . . oh, it just makes my blood boil, thinking of how many serious ape craftsmen coulda done that job at LEAST as good as she did.
How'd you get started doing ape work?
MARVIN: My mentor, Charlie Tubner--
Charles Tubner? From the original "King Kong"?
MARVIN: We met when he was still doing off-Broadway stuff. I was just a kid, gettin the coffee, makin myself useful backstage. He saw me admiring his fur, and told me I could make big money if I knew how to wear it. Course, that was before everything went high-tech.
I'm gonna cut you off there, Marvin, cause I really want to get into that area, but we need to get back to the movie. Let's go -- back to "Planet of the Apes."
[fading] How much fur have you gone through over the years?
MARVIN: You're lookin at it, baby.
The dry-cleaning bills must be hell.
MARVIN: Oh tell me about it will ya? I gotta have a cedar closet with me wherever I go. That'll run you up a nice hotel bill.
"PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #5
The lovely Linda Harrison as Nova, with that animal-skin bikini prominently displaying her two enormous talents. Linda was Miss Maryland, 1965, and boy did she deserve it. She also got First Runner-Up in the Miss America Pageant, but Miss Ohio said she was a Sunday School teacher, and Linda said she wanted to be an actress. Guess who won. Linda was kicking herself for being so stupid when an agent told her he could get her a contract at 20th Century Fox. And once she got THERE, like a smart cookie, she started dating Richard Zanuck, the head of the studio. She played Zira in the screen test I talked about earlier, but I'm guessing she didn't do too well, since she ended up playing a part with no lines. Our guest, ape-suit actor Marvin Mishowski is still here with us. Marvin, you were telling us how roles for guys in ape suits have dwindled.
MARVIN: Yeah, well, nowadays they use all these computerized apes. It all started back in '76 when Dino DeLaurentiis re-made King Kong, used a guy in an ape suit and then TOLD people it was mechanical. What a slap in the face THAT was. In King Kong Lives he gave us in the suits the credit but the movie was such a bomb that it was hurting us more than it was helping us. I can't even talk about this I get so emotional. That's when we started forming our own union.
MARVIN: AAG. "Ag." Ape Actors Guild. Anyway, you look at a movie like "Mighty Joe Young," the remake from last year. Maybe ten per cent of that movie is actual ape artists. You know how many of us were at that audition?
That's gotta be painful.
MARVIN: AND they only pay scale for "under five" contracts.
Apes with fewer than five lines. Under-five contracts.
MARVIN: You're one of the few people I've ever met who understands that. But think about it. I guess all the ape roles are under five. Right?
Yeah. As a matter of fact yeah 'cause apes never have lines right so...
MARVIN:. . . that's right.
And so it's so it's a loophole to get . . .
MARVIN:. . . a loophole . . .
. . . I understand.
MARVIN: We tried to get the definition of a line changed to ANY audible noise. For example, if I do this -- [ape noise] -- that should count as a line. Or this -- [2nd ape noise] -- that should really be two lines, just for the wear and tear on the vocal cords.
I see what you mean. That's a lot more taxing than "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn," or something like that.
MARVIN: That's a very good impression by the way.
Nobody likes a sarcastic ape actor, Marvin.
MARVIN: That's true. Just because we're apes doesn't mean we don't have mortgages like everybody else. You know what I mean?
Marvin, thanks for being here.
MARVIN: And the working conditions? Sometimes they wanna herd us into one big dressing room!
We're out of time, Marvin, but thanks a lot.
MARVIN:. . . hanging from a rope.
Well thanks a lot.
MARVIN: On "Planet of the Apes," we had trailers.
You know, I would love to see a better grade of ape movie. Glad you were here, Marvin.
MARVIN: Thank you very much. "Gorillas in the Mist" -- Sigourney Weaver kept asking why they weren't using real gorillas. She wanted scabs brought in from Kenya or some damn place.
What do you do when you're not makin' these gorilla pictures Marvin?
MARVIN: What do I do? That's another thing. You should see what happens if I try to collect unemployment. You know what the woman asked me last time? "Have you tried to get OTHER work?" This IS MY WORK, LADY!
I understand. Calm down, Marvin.
MARVIN: I'm sorry, Joe Bob, sometimes it's just so hard maintain a career as long as you have to maintain a career in this town.
Marvin you're scaring me.
Bloodsuckers in this town... They'll chew ya up and spit ya out just like that. (MAKES NOISES) That's what they do.
"PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #6
Okay, Rule Number One when you're captured by a hostile breed of orangutans whose hobbies include performing human lobotomies: DON'T TELL THEM YOU'RE FROM OUTER SPACE. Make friends with em first. Have a few cocktails. Play a little pool. THEN tell em that you flew there in a metal thing that now you can't find cause it's lying at the bottom of a lake. 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 stuff, but they couldn't afford to build those kind of sets, so they turned it into 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."
[fading] "Hi, I know you found me butt-nekkid in the woods, but I'm from Outer Space. My space ship? Well, you know that really deep lake you have? It's in there." That always goes over well, doesn't it? We got people over in County who've been telling that same story for years.
"PLANET OF THE APES Commercial Break #7
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. I think the character's name might've been Maurice, too. Was his name Maurice? Or was that Paul Lynde? No, Paul Lynde was Uncle Arthur. Always showin up in the ice bucket or someplace. Somebody was Maurice. Anyhow, as Marvin was telling us earlier, Edward G. Robinson 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, back to the movie.
[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?
"PLANET OF THE APES" Commercial Break #8
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. And don't forget we've got "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" right after this. 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 Schwarzenegger's still attached. And I didn't even cover all the writers. Okay, guess what? It's time for the classic conclusion to "Planet of the Apes."
[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!"
"PLANET OF THE APES" Outro
[cash register receipt w/writing on the back]
That famous final line of the movie we just watched, "God damn you all to Hell!" -- 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.