Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Love You Damn Dirty Apes

I've found that when it comes to Planet of the Apes and everything therein related, there are two kinds of people. I'm the kind who dressed as a gorilla soldier for Halloween (at the age of 33) and who began writing an (as yet) unfinished biography of General Ursus, aping the style of Suetonius' Twelve Caesars. Planet of the Apes has pizzazz. It's got class. It's got sexy bikini cavewoman Linda Harrison. And it's got Charlton Heston being chased by angry gorillas with guns riding horses. Gorillas on Horses! With guns! So now you'll know where I'm coming from when I tell you about my dream and its outcome. Its glorious, glorious outcome.

About two weeks ago I was watching Beneath the Planet of the Apes, which is an incredibly entertaining movie in its own right, less clever in its satire (who can top Rod Serling?) than the original but relentlessly nihilistic and darkly funny. Needless to say I enjoyed the hell out of it.

That night I had a dream that I found a set of Planet of the Apes toys that were made for little kids, like my son's Galactic Heroes Star Wars toys, or those Superhero Squad guys, Captain America, Iron Man, etc, little two inch superdeformed bits of plastic simian joy. I am a 38 year old man, with all the responsibilities and stresses that entails, and I have to say that this was the purest, most golden dream I've had in a decade. "I'll take them all!" I said in my dream, and when I woke up I could still feel the smile that must have been plastered across my face for half the night. I don't usually remember my dreams and I talk about them even less, but this one stuck and I told my wife. As I did, the same goofy smile came back. Like I said, pure.

Now, I'm sure everyone has a good idea of where this story is going, but let me just say that by the end of the day I had completely forgotten this dream. It was one of those things that was so beautiful and childlike all you can do is accept it, enjoy it, and let it go. It's the natural thing, I think.

Anyway, a week later I'm in a comic shop (imagine that) and I'm standing at the counter waiting to pay. I look down into the glass case that houses various and sundry items.

"Oh my god!" is what I said next. Loudly.

General Ursus, on a horse. Four gorilla soldiers with guns and clubs. Astronaut Brent, in primitive human duds. Two mutant humans. And a cage wagon with another horse. Two inches tall. Kubricks. I'd never heard of them. These particular ones have been out of circulation for seven or eight years.

"I'll take them all!" I said. So f-ing pure.

Since then I've tracked down Dr. Zaius, Cornelius, Zira, her nephew Lucius, Julius the gorilla jailer, more gorillas, and of course, Chuck Heston himself, Taylor. I don't know if dreams come true, but I do know this: Gorillas on horses are something you never outgrow.

1 comment:

  1. "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" gave me the first apocalyptic chills of my young life when it was released. I seem to remember seeing it with my dad, which would make it one of two films I saw with him (the equally satirical-terrifying 'Soylent Green') as a child.

    Did Heston think he was really being pursued by apes who wanted to cut his brain in later life? The declamation that he would give up his gun when they pried it from his cold, dead hands sounds awfully like Taylor . . .