For the past few months, my friends over at The After Lunch podcastMichael May, Rob Graham, and Paxton Holley – have been going ape for the Planet of the Apes.  They’re watching every film in the series and giving us the highs, the lows, and the downright weird twists and turns of this simian-based franchise.  As a fellow fan of the Apes, it’s been a lot of fun to revisit these old movies and listen to the discussion from the After Lunch crew.  

Because of their podcast, I’ve had my mind on the monkeys and the monkeys on my mind, so for my podcast, When You Hear This Sound, I thought I’d do a short mini-series of episodes featuring the 1974 album, Planet of the Apes, released by Peter Pan Records under the Power Records imprint.  The album covers four of the films in the original series, and for this two-part mini-series, I’ll be covering two films on each episode.

Planet of the Apes started life as a novel released in 1963 by the French author Pierre Boulle.  The book tells the story of three astronauts who land on a planet that looks very similar to early-20th Century Earth, except apes are the dominant species.  One of the astronauts is captured and becomes a sort of scientific oddity in that he’s human, but shows a higher level of intelligence than the native human population.  

The 1968 film of the same name is a loose adaptation of the novel with a script written by The Twilight Zone creator, Rod Serling.  Charlton Heston takes the lead role as Taylor, a crewmember of a lost American spaceship that crash lands on a planet controlled by apes.  Taylor is captured, but eventually escapes with the help of empathetic chimpanzees Cornelius and Zira.  The film ends with a now-famous dark and ironic twist that shook audiences to the core.

Planet of the Apes was a big success, bringing in over $22 million at the box office on a $5 million budget.  It also earned three Oscars for Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and an honorary Oscar for the monkey make-up effects.

The sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, was released in 1970, however, very few of the original actors or crew returned.  Heston had no interest in a sequel, but agreed to shoot a few scenes for continuity, and then donated his salary to charity.  

For the most part, the film was essentially a retread of the original, with another crashed spaceship, this one intended as a rescue mission for Taylor’s crew, with the surviving crewmate, Brent, captured by the apes.  Brent eventually escapes and discovers an underground civilization of mutant humans who worship a nuclear bomb capable of destroying the planet.

Despite poor reviews, Beneath performed at the box office about as well as the original film, making $19 million against a $3 million budget.  

I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Planet of the Apes was to older Gen Xers what Star Wars was for younger Gen Xers like myself.  The Apes were everywhere back in the late-60s and early-70s, with merchandise that included a full line of action figures and playsets by Mego, trading cards, t-shirts, Aurora models, puzzles, a board game, lunch boxes, Halloween costumes, and so much more.  So it’s no surprise that Power Records wanted to get in on Ape mania.

The Planet of the Apes record was released in 1974, shortly after the final film in the series, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, came out in 1973.  This release also coincided with the debut of the short-lived TV series, Planet of the Apes, which ran for 14 episodes in 1974.  The four stories on the record were also released as read-along comic books at the same time.  

Unfortunately, I don’t have the comic book versions of the stories, but thanks to a rather rabid fanbase for all things POTA, they are readily available from many online sources.  With that in mind, I’m going to include a PDF of these comic books in the show notes over at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *