In this interview originally conducted by the SciFi Channel when the network first launched, actor Roddy McDowall reflects on portraying the character of Galan in the 1974 Planet of the Apes TV series.
Back in the 1970s when episodes of the Planet of the Apes TV series were repackaged as two-hour movies for television syndication, Roddy McDowall put on his makeup to portray an elderly Galen in epilogues to the films. Below are a pair of them.
Back in 1974 when CBS was airing the television series version of Planet of the Apes, Newsday's then weekly TV guide featured a cover story on the show and an interview with Roddy McDowall. What follows is an excerpt from that interview, which actually profiles McDowall's career as well. Offers Newsday, "McDowall's one-year TV series contract with 20th Century Fox is considered a coup of sorts because of the high salary he receives and other concessions granted him by the production firm. The studio has provided McDowall with a driver to chauffeur hm in his own air-conditioned mobile unit, which he leases to the studio during production. The actor also has a double (not the usual stand-in) to take his place when he doesn't have any lines. His face has been insured for $100,000 and makeup time, normally excluded, is included in his pay check. Getting into makeup, McDowall said, takes from two and a half to three hours and removal takes almost an hour. 'Perhaps not since some of the classic Lon Chaney days,' McDowall said, 'has anyone been subjected to such intensive make-up on such a rigorous schedule.' "...McDowall said that he has problems eating and drinking while he is in costume. 'Other functions are almost equally difficult, but the facial makeup creates the most handicaps,' McDowall said. The makeup stands out six inches from his mouth, requring him to survive on work days by eating yogurt with a long spoon. 'I have a jim dandy cigarette holder in order to smoke,' McDowall said. 'It's about a foot long and makes me look like the weirdest monkey you ever did see.'" At one point the articles notes that although the series started out strong in the ratings, it had started taking a hit from NBC's powerhouse comedy hour Sanford and Son and Chico and the Man. The actor, the article stated, didn't concern himself with ratings, just his character of Galen and the show itself. "It's a characterization I'm fascinated with," he said. "The possibilities are immense when you think of the philosophy involved." Newsday described the set-up of the show as "two astronauts whose space ship have passed through a time warp. When they return to Earth, they discover 2,000 years have passed and the planet is ruled by apes. Space traveler Pete Burke (James Naughton) is resigned to the situation, while his colleague, Alan Virdon (Ron Harper), continues to look for a way back through the time boggle to rejoin his wife and child. Aware that humns once ruled the Earth, chimpanzee Galen befriends the men and aids them in escaping the various hazards imposed by the other, more hostile apes. McDowall said of his part: 'We must assume that Galen is a courageous chimpanzee who possesses some of the taboos of his civilization, but is open minded and receptive to the humans.'"
For those who remember them, Mego released a number of Planet of the Apes action figures back in the 1970s and this video represents a collection of the various TV commercials that were produced to sell them.