Back before Star Wars came along and changed the notion of what science fiction films should or could be, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes were the science fiction films to be TAKEN SERIOUSLY! 2001 showed the possibility of man while wowing audiences with Cinerama sized awe while Apes fell into the “mankind is screwed” column and showcased a cast of thousands all in monkey makeup. Both films were hugely successful, but went in different directions afterwards. 2001 was happy to be debated and discussed by confused film critics and stupefying stoners with light shows, while Apes forged ahead with marketing, marketing and more marketing.
Where’s the Dr. Zaius?
Predating and perhaps influencing the Star Wars licensing bonanza that was to come, Planet of the Apes went ape-shit marketing those primates. The studio released four sequels in the five years following the original, an animated Saturday morning series, and a live-action, prime time series. Nowadays it takes five years to make one film and maybe release a single sequel. They weren’t resting on their laurels or perhaps they thought they were striking while the iron was hot. Eventually all five films were packed into a Go Ape marathon that played drive-ins. You got to love the ’70s.
On top of this, there were tee-shirts, beach towels, toys, games, dolls, model kits and make-up kits so that kids could de-evolve at home. They also made some pendants as seen in the ad above which I have never seen anybody wear.
The Ape Pendant ad appeared in the pages of The Defenders No. 26 published by Marvel Comics in 1975. The Defenders featured the unlikely association of the rampaging Hulk, sorcerer supreme Dr. Strange and a revolving reserve of second and third string characters from Marvel’s licensing junk drawer. This issue also featured The Guardians of the Galaxy which have some vague connection to the Guardians in Marvel’s box office smash, but I’m not sure what it is. I could look it up, but I’m not curious enough.