Return to the Planet of the Apes
Synopsis of Saturday Morning Show
Imagine you are an astronaut. Your vessel is time-warped to a planet almost 2000 years into the future, to a post-atomic land where apes are the governing species and humans are captured and domesticated. This was the predicament in which Bill Hudson and his crew found themselves in Return to the Planet of the Apes, an animated Saturday morning TV show based on the popular 1968 film Planet of the Apes (and that film's many 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, Bill Hudson and his young crew, Jeff Carter and Judy Franklin, were on a mission when their craft, the Venture, got caught in a vortex and landed in the year 3810 A.D. (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 apes were the rulers and humans were considered primitive and uncivilized. Mankind as we know it was relegated to a separate area called New City, where they were subjected to scientific experiments (yes, children, we call that "irony").
The human experiments were carried out by an ape named Dr. Zaius, their scientific leader, with the assistance of two simian underlings, Cornelius and Zira. Bill, like the Charlton Heston character in the film, eventually won the sympathy of Cornelius and Zira when they realized that he had the ability to speak. Other characters from the film were regulars on the cartoon as well, like military leader General Urko and human female Nova.
Since the show was geared towards younger audiences, it played for more laughs than the film had, including sly cultural references (e.g. - one of the apes mentions, "that new film, The Apefather"). Such witticisms were not enough to stave off the process of natural selection, and Return to the Planet of the Apes left the air after only one season.
Release History9/6/75 - 9/4/76 NBC
TV Sub Categoriesanimated
Television CastBill Richard Blackburn
Dr. Zaius Richard Blackburn
Jeff Carter Austin Stoker
Judy Franklin Claudette Nivens
Nova Claudette Nivens
General Urko Henry Corden
Cornelius Edwin Mills
Dr. Zira Philipa Harris