?Anybody who thinks sci-fi merchandising bonanzas began with Star Wars really needs to go back about four years prior. This was when 20th Century Fox went absolutely nuts with milking the Planet of the Apes franchise to the last nickel. Almost everything Star Wars did later, Planet of the Apes merchandisers did first, very likely teaching George Lucas a thing or two about hawking trinkets.
As with most pop culture crazes, common sense was immediately shoved in a rocket and launched into space, never to return (well, at least not for several thousand years). Thus, Planet of the Apes toys and merchandise ranges from the awesome, appropriate and incredible to the ridiculous, weird, and downright stupid. Here are the Apes items, past and present, that stand the most upright… as well as the ones that broke the Lawgiver’s heart.
6) Planet of the Apes Kubricks
?The Medicom Kubrick format can add a bit of awesomeness to just about any property, especially when you add fun little extras like the Icarus (that’s Taylor’s ship) the Lawgiver statue and the upper portion of the Statue of Liberty. Medicom did sets based on all five Apes movies, which makes for a lot of adorably blocky Ape goodness.
5) The Simpsons “A Fish Called Selma” Pop-Out People
?A crossover item that both nerds and norms can appreciate, Dark Horse released this awesome set in 2003 based on The Simpsons’ infamous musical “Stop the Planet of the Apes, I Want to Get Off,” including Dr. Zaius, a Soldier Ape and Troy McClure as the human — the part he was born to play!
4) Don Post Masks
?In the “well, duh” category, any film that portrays the titular characters in rubber masks is a shoe-in for such merch, especially when it’s done by Don Post Studios, the Cadillac of 1970s rubber mask makers.
3) Forbidden Zone Trap
?Mego was the first company to make Planet of the Apes action figures; while many of their earlier toys and playsets were simply recycled from earlier, un-Ape related toylines, this depiction of a post-apocalyptic ruin was a pretty awesome and somewhat gritty item for the mid-’70s.
2) Mini Play Sets
?These smaller, hand-painted figures from the ’70s were low priced and usually came packed with tons of army men and other great stuff that allowed you simulate an all out Apes vs. Mutant battle in your sandbox. Sure, scales were often a little off, but hey, Monkey War!
1) Medicom/Sideshow Planet of the Apes Series (tie)
The early part of the century was just an Ape lover’s dream, whether you preferred the 1/6th scale of Sideshow’s wonderful figures (shown on the right) or the smaller, 6-inch scale of the Medicom figures, it was amazing the character breadth finally available to a Planet of the Apes fan — both lines included dozens of characters, all the way from Dr. Zaius to General Ursus.
The poop gets flung with the most ridiculous PotA merch, beginning on the next page.
6) Rev Up-N-Go Zoomcycle
?On the weekends, Doctor Zaius likes to grab his special lady, hop on his hog and blast through the Forbidden Zone, tossing beer can after beer can behind him, and flipping the bird to the “man.” Like much late-’70s fair, this bit of Apes merchandise from AHI was simply a re-purposed Batman item that made somewhat less than zero sense.
?The Planet of the Apes franchise was a speeding bullet train into the toy world; many toymakers such as Larami simply slapped the Apes logo on an existing item and gave it the cleverest name they could think of. In this case, the Apes logo wasn’t even present once that card got thrown out in the Pathmark parking lot, making this nothing more than a set of cheap, plastic boomerangs.
4) Inter-Planetary Ape Phones
?I’m not sure you have enough tubing to reach the closet, let alone another planet. We don’t even need to discuss the fact that the denizens of the 40th century didn’t have phones. But even if they did, who the hell would Dr. Zaius want to call on Venus, anyways?
3) Attar Cookie Jar
?From the “Tim Burton’s regrettable films” series of cookie jars, this incredibly awful limited edition collectible of Michael Clarke Duncan’s Colonel Attar is still available 10 years later for much less than the original retail price. Few people want reminders of this lamentable “reimagining,” even one that has cookies inside.
2) Official Helicopter
?Toymaker AHI strikes again with another bad attempt to carry over some existing Batman toys into Ape territory. Remember, in Planet, Cornelius and Zira were scientists who got completely freaked the fuck out by Taylor’s paper airplane — chances are they weren’t volunteering for any helicopter rides anytime soon. It’s a glaring example of how easy licensing standards were in the 1970s, and when we say “easy” we mean “barely existent.”
1) Monkey Shines Flashlight
?Like the Boom-A-Rangutang above, this thing gets two points having a cute name, but in the end, it’s just a cheap flashlight from Larami with a picture of Roddy McDowell on it. Not even Roddy McDowell wanted a flashlight with a picture of Roddy McDowell on it.