You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

7 Crazy ‘Planet of the Apes’ Moments You Won’t Believe

When a film franchise lasts for more than four decades, it’s bound to collect a few odd moments along the way, and the “Planet of the Apes” series is no exception. As the eighth film in the popular saga arrives in theaters July 11, here’s a look at some of the strangest riffs on simian cinema.

The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
Animal acts were a staple of Johnny Carson’s 32 years on The Tonight Show, and none were more memorable than when singer Paul Williams took the stage in full orangutan makeup and crooned a bluesy ballad to promote his role as Virgil in “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.” The lit cigarette in his hairy hand helped add to the surrealism.


The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour
During the second season of this CBS variety show, Cher dressed in a loincloth and appeared with a group of gorillas in a spoof of the original 1968 film. Guest stars for this episode included Telly Savalas and Lassie. Disappointingly, Sonny and Cher’s signature song lyrics were not changed to “I Got You Ape.”

The Carol Burnett Show
A year after appearing in his final “Ape” film, actor Roddy McDowall endured three-and-a-half-hours of chimpanzee prosthetics to perform a romantic song and dance with a comically flustered Carol Burnett. This vintage clip also includes a rare behind-the-scenes makeup demonstration.

Don Rickles & Don Adams TV Special
In the 1973 NBC comedy special “A Couple of Dons,” comedian Don Rickles and “Get Smart” star Don Adams, neither of whom appear in any of the “Apes” films, donned full prosthetics to poke fun at the sci-fi film series. By this point, the popularity of the franchise had dimmed considerably, which explains why this short clip is built around a single banana joke.

British “Planet of the Apes” Live Shows
During the mid-70s, a small British PR firm called Television Character Promotions secured the rights from Twentieth Century Fox to produce a series of live appearances and performances by costumed  “Apes” characters across England. These events proved so popular that a deal was eventually struck with Marvel Comics U.K. division, resulting in the creation of the first official Planet of the Apes Fan Club.

“Ape Shuffle”
Having composed the theme music for the short-lived 1974 “Planet of the Apes TV Series,” Lalo Schifrin was tapped by Twentieth Century Records to write a funky Ape-inspired dance single. Released as a vinyl  45, “Ape Shuffle” features jungle drums, a brass horn section and grunting ape-man vocals.

Brazilian Planet of the Apes (1976)
Perhaps the strangest addition to “Ape” film history is this feature-length South American knockoff produced by a Brazilian comedy troupe best known for its unofficial “Star Wars” remake. Titled “Bungler on the Plateau of the Apes,” this one falls squarely in the “must be seen to be believed” category.

More Film

  • Kiernan Shipka and Ross LynchMTV Movie

    MTV Movie & TV Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    Many of the biggest stars in movies and television — including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kiernan Shipka, Sandra Bullock, Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson — came together to present and receive honors at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi. And while non-attendees are able to enjoy [...]

  • Johnny BananasMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    'The Challenge' Veteran Crashes MTV Awards Acceptance Speech; Cut From Broadcast

    Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio pulled a Kanye West at Saturday’s taping of the MTV Movie & TV awards when “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” won over “The Challenge” in the Reality Royalty category. However, viewers didn’t get to see it. Producers of the show cut out Devenanzio’s speech from Monday’s airing, after the reality star took [...]

  • Zachary LeviMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    MTV Movie & TV Awards Winners: The Complete List

    The MTV Movie & TV Awards returned to television Monday, with host Zachary Levi and a number of pop culture favorites. Dominating this year’s nominations with four apiece were front runners “Avengers: Endgame,” which took home the evening’s best movie award, and “Game of Thrones,” which won best show. The Oscar-nominated documentary “RBG” also scored [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Jon Ham Richard Jewell

    Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm Join Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Olivia Wilde and Jon Hamm have joined the cast of Clint Eastwood’s already star-studded drama “Richard Jewell.” Paul Walter Hauser is set to star as the titular Jewell in Warner Bros.’ pic alongside Sam Rockwell as Jewell’s attorney and Kathy Bates as Jewell’s mother. The drama is based on Marie Brenner’s article in Vanity Fair [...]

  • Where the Wind Blows

    Hong Kong's 'Where the Wind Blows' Sidesteps Protests For China Promo

    Hong Kong film director Philip Yung and his cast were in Shanghai on Monday to promote their upcoming film “Where the Wind Blows.” They revealed new details while cautiously sidestepping — for the most part — the awkward issue of last week’s massive civil protests in Hong Kong against a controversial bill that would have [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content