Much of the original Planet of the Apes was a grueling desert film shoot, with actors wearing prosthetic make-up that was cutting-edge for 1968 but was still incredibly cumbersome. Their greatest champion, remembers the one and only Dr. Zaius, was star Charlton Heston—who apparently insisted everyone call him “Chuck.”
This TCM interview, conducted to promote Planet of the Apes’ limited return to the big screen, doesn’t really contain any new behind-the-scenes details, but it’s still fun to hear ’em coming from an avuncular (but still damn dirty) ape. When the movie was being filmed, Heston was the president of the Screen Actors Guild, and he was a determined advocate for his fellow thespians—going out of his way to do things like arranging helicopter transport for the extras to make their days less grueling.
The actor who played Dr. Zaius, Maurice Williams, passed away in 1989 at age 87, so that’s comedian Dana Gould performing his stellar recreation of Ape City’s Minister of Science and Chief Defender of the Faith.