to the Planet of the Apes was an animated Saturday morning TV
show based on the popular 1968 film Planet of the Apes and its
numerous sequels. It was the second TV series based on the
film, the first being a short-lived live-action series bearing
the same name as the movie.
In the Saturday morning version,
astronaut Bill Hudson and his crew, Jeff Carter and Judy
Franklin, were on a mission when their craft, the Venture, got
caught in a time-vortex and crash landed in the year A.D.
3979. (about 1000 years later than in the film). Unaware that
they had actually landed on earth, Bill and company found
themselves in a society where intelligent apes were the rulers
and humans were treated as a lesser species; serving as pets,
servants, and sport for hunters. Mankind had in fact reverted
to a primitive and uncivilized version of itself, unable even
to speak, and was relegated to a separate area called New
City. Despite knowledge that humans had once ruled the earth
was lost to all but a handful of ape scholars, humans were
still viewed as a threat and a menace by some apes, who called
for the their eradication.
Humans were subjected to
scientific experiments by an ape named Dr. Zaius, the ape
community's scientific leader, with the assistance of two
simian underlings, Cornelius and Zira. Bill, like the Charlton
Heston character in the film, was captured, but won the
sympathy of Cornelius and Zira when they realized that he had
the ability to speak. Aware that the human's ability to talk
made him a prime candidate for brain surgery, Cornelius and
Zira helped him to escape.
Bill eventually reunited with
his fellow astronauts and the three continued to struggle for
survival in a world where they were not welcome. Along with
Dr. Zaius, Cornelius and Zira, other characters from the film
were regulars on the cartoon, like military leader General
Urko and human female Nova.
The short-lived animated series
lasted only a single season, but it showed ape society as no
previous trips had. Return left intact many of the "knowns"
while presenting an alternate, upgraded ape culture complete
with automobiles, airplanes and movie theaters. Coincidently,
the technology present in the cartoon was right on par with
what existed in 1975, the year the series aired.