Planet of the apes turned out to be one of my most successful films, though it drifted around the studios for a couple of years like a stray dog looking for a home. Arthur Jacobs owned the property and spent his time peddling it around town, being laughed at by every studio he pitched it to : "Talking monkeys! Rocket ships! You outta your mind? Get out!".
Arthur, however, was convinced he had a wonderful film, if only someone would make it. I read the book, which didn't impress me very much... but the idea did. Franck Schaffner agreed, we told Arthur we'd like to do it, if he could get the several million it would require to film.
By this time we had a wonderful Rod Serling screenplay. more importantly, we had Dick Zanuck's interest. He was running Fox at the time. I'll put up fifty thousand to develop the makeups,' he said, "then we show it to the board. If nobody laughs, you've got a go film."
And so we did. We shot for several months through the summer, and I, half naked most of the time, was sprayed withe firehoses, caught in nets, and stoned (yes, even rubber, rocks hurt).
Apes was really the first of the Space Operas, all still popular. It's a very fine film, and I'm proud to be in it. It's amazing how many people still write me about it. I'd say that film has the best ending of any movie I've ever seen. Before word got around, audiences would stand stunned when I stood below the ruins of the Statue of Liberty screaming, "They finally, really did it! You maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you... God damn you all to hell!"