Planet of the Apes
Escape from Tomorrow title card
Episode Escape from Tomorrow
Season 1
Production Number B-503
Air Date Friday, September 13th, 1974
Network CBS
Director Don Weis
Writer Art Wallace
Continuity TV Series
Previous Episode:

Next Episode: "The Gladiators"

"If humans could build and fly a spaceship like this, they'd begin to think they're as good as we are!"

"Escape from Tomorrow" is the first episode of Planet of the Apes.



Guest Starring:

Production Crew

  • Assistant Director ... Bill Derwin
  • Music ... Lalo Schifrin
  • Film Editor ... J. Frank O'Neill


Burke and Virdon's ship

The unnamed spaceship crash lands on the Planet of the Apes

A man named Farrow is sleeping beneath a tree in a forest when suddenly he is awakened by the sound of a barking dog. Trailing behind the dog is a young chimpanzee boy named Arno. Frightened, Farrow quickly scales the tree as Arno encourages the dog to chase him. Suddenly a strong gust of wind passes through the forest accompanied by a loud, raucous sound. Arno and the dog run off, but Farrow descends the tree to investigate further. He finds the smoldering ruins of a downed space craft. The hatch of the ship opens automatically, and the curious human climbs inside. He finds the bodies of three astronauts slumped inside the cockpit. One of the astronauts is dead, so Farrow pulls the other two free of the ship.

Moments later, Arno tells his father Veska, the prefect of the nearby village of Chalo, what he had witnessed. Veska and a group of gorilla soldiers ride to the spot and inspect the smoking ship. They find the body of the dead pilot Jonesy. Veska is visibly shaken by the notion of humans mastering such advanced technology. He orders the guards to bury Jonesy's body and to search for the other missing astronauts. He quickly writes down a report and hands it to another solider. He instructs him to ride to Central City and deliver the message to Chief Councilor Zaius.


Meanwhile, Farrow brings the two surviving humans to his secret shelter and nurses them back to Health. He goes out to procure food just as the two awaken. The astronauts are Alan Virdon and Peter Burke. Both are in a state of confusion and are unsure of their surroundings. Burke ponders what world they could have possibly landed on. Alan recalls that their ship passed through some radioactive turbulence as they neared Alpha Centauri. He had told Jonesy to activate the automatic homing device, but he blacked out before he could ascertain whether the order was carried out. They suddenly hear a noise and take defensive positions. The door of the shelter opens, and Farrow enters with a handful of fruit.

Alan and Pete 01

Alan and Pete escape from a gorilla patrol

Immediately, they begin to question him, asking him what planet they are on. Farrow is uneducated and doesn't understand the question. Through the course of conversation, the astronauts learn that apes are the dominant species on this world, and that humans are less than second-class citizens. Farrow goes out to gather supplies.

In the village of Chalo, Veska calls all of the human inhabitants together in the square and warns them about the two astronauts. He warns them that these two humans are insane and that if they are spotted, they should report to him immediately.

Back at the shelter, Pete and Allan grow impatient waiting for Farrow to return. They decide to explore this strange new world for themselves. As they walk down a footpath, the sounds of gunshots explode above them. They look to see two gorillas on horseback carrying rifles. Farrow was telling the truth. The two humans begin running and the mounted gorillas give chase.

Galen TV 02


Meanwhile in Central City, councilor Zaius interviews his newest assistant, the chimpanzee Galen. Moments later, Zaius' manservant enters the room and delivers him the letter from Veska. Reading the letter, Zaius' eyes widen. He passes the letter to Galen then begins to pace back and forth in his chambers. Galen reads the letter, but dismisses it as fantasy.

Elsewhere, Alan and Pete make their way back to the shelter. Farrow has returned, and they press him for more information about ape society. They ask him who runs the government, but Farrow doesn't understand them. He tells them about the high council, and Pete asks if there are any humans that sit on the high council. Farrow chuckles and replies that humans are nothing and they've "always been nothing". Farrow shows the two men an old book that he found in the shelter. The book contains a photograph of the city of New York circa 2503. Alan now realizes that they are back on Earth in the far distant future.

In Central City, Zaius summons his gorilla commander General Urko. He warns Urko of the two renegade humans indicated in Veska's letter. He wants Urko to capture them, but he is to bring them back alive. Urko is militant and aggressive. He views humans as an infection that should be wiped out. Zaius recalls a similar situation that took place ten years prior. Another space vessel landed on Earth, carrying astronauts from another time period. General Urko had them shot and killed before Zaius had a chance to question them. Urko storms out of Zaius' office to head up a search party. Zaius doesn't trust Urko to take them alive, so he instructs Galen to follow after him to make sure that Urko doesn't do anything rash. Galen tells him that he has no control over Urko, but Zaius says that as his representative, he now carries his authority.

Back at the shelter, Alan and Pete change into civilian clothing provided by Farrow and make plans for their next course of action. Alan wants to check the instrument panel from their ship, so that he can learn exactly what happened that caused the ship to crash. Farrow grabs his book, and tells them that he will lead them back to the ship. As they approach, Farrow lures the gorilla guarding the ship to follow him in an alternate direction, allowing Pete and Alan the chance to inspect the ship. Once inside, Alan learns that the ship chronometer reads 3085. Suddenly, they hear Farrow screaming and run outside. Farrow falls down in front of the ship, clutching at a gunshot wound. As Alan and Pete race to his side, General Urko, Galen and several more gorilla soldiers surround them. Urko has them tied up and taken back to camp. Galen inspects Farrow and confirms that he is dead. While Urko's back is turned, Galen scoops up Farrow's book and takes it with him.

That night at the camp, Galen reads from Farrow's book. He is astonished at the things he reads. He walks over to a tree where Alan and Pete are tied up and begins asking them questions. He asks them if they are really from another time, and if the things he has read in the book are true. Alan tells him that they are, but Galen doesn't believe them.

The following day, Urko brings Alan and Pete before the High Council of Central City. Having stolen a miniature grenade from Zaius' office, he uses it to demonstrate that humans are capable of nothing but creating weapons of mass destruction. Zaius is angry that Urko had stolen the item from his cabinet, and Alan and Pete tell the council that they have no intention of harming anyone. Although Urko calls for their execution, Zaius insists that they be kept alive - for now. Both men are taken to a holding cell.

Galen visits Alan and Pete

Galen visits Pete and Alan in their cell

Later in Zaius' office, Galen asks him if there was ever a time when humans controlled the world and apes were kept behind bars. He further wonders if the world would be better off if apes and humans could live as equals. Zaius accuses Galen of committing heresy merely by asking such questions, and warns him to cease this inquiry. Undeterred, Galen visits Pete and Alan in their cell. Alan wants to get back to the ship and get the flight disk. He theorizes that the humans who made the mini-grenade, might still be alive, and might possess the technology to read the information on the ship's magnetic disk. If so, he continues, there might be a way to reverse the process that brought them here, thus providing the means to return home. Pete thinks the entire idea is preposterous, citing the improbability of finding a computer, much less being able to repair the ship. Frustrated, Alan asks Galen to help them escape. The chimpanzee scoffs at them, and says that just because he finds them interesting to talk to, it does not mean that he is willing to commit treason for them. Galen leaves the cell.

Meanwhile, General Urko secretly conspires with his soldiers to kill the humans. He instructs a guard to leave their cell door unlocked after feeding time is over, in the hopes that they may try to escape. Then he can shoot them without risking Zaius' ire. Alan and Pete soon discover that their door is unlocked, but immediately realize that it is a trap. However, they are willing to take their chances if it means freedom. As they exit the prison, a gorilla hiding in the bushes levels a pistol at them. Nearby, Galen witnesses the trap and shouts "Look out!" He dives on top of the gorilla and in the ensuing struggle, the gun goes off killing the guard. Pete and Alan run into the woods.

General Urko arrests Galen and brings him to Zaius. He accuses him of murdering the guard and aiding and abetting the humans in their escape. Galen tells Zaius that Urko planned on murdering Pete and Alan, but Urko denies it. Urko further condemns Galen as a heretic and shows Zaius the book that was found on his person.

Later, Pete and Alan break into Zaius' office and take him prisoner. They ask him about the human who built the mini-grenades. Zaius tells them that the human didn't live long enough to tell him his name. He further confesses his awareness that humans once ruled the world, but their warlike nature caused their own downfall. Pete and Alan take Zaius to the prison complex and force him to let them in. They use the grenade to blow the door off Galen's cell, setting him free.

The following morning, the three fugitives go to the ship. Alan pries loose the magnetic disk containing the ship's flight recorder. Galen alerts them to the sound of approaching horses. They all run into the woods as General Urko and his men approach. After searching the ship, Urko has the vessel destroyed.

Now, with only a sliver of hope of ever returning home, the two wayward astronauts and their new chimpanzee ally attempt to eke out a new life for themselves on this strange planet of the apes.


  • It is indicated within the opening scenes of this episode that the setting of this series takes place in an alternate continuity from that of the original Arthur P. Jacobs films. A young chimpanzee named Arno is seen chasing after his pet dog. As established by the character of Armando in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, a space-borne pathogen eradicated all cats and dogs from the planet Earth in the year 1984.[1] Zira and Cornelius also predicted the extinction of all cats and dogs at some point in their ancient history.[2] Another dog can be seen frolicking about the ruins of Oakland, California in the opening scenes of "The Legacy", though actress Zina Bethune later explained, "There was a stray puppy running in and out of the shots."[3]
  • This episodes recycles stock footage from varying resources, causing several continuity gaffs along the way. There is a scene showing a long-distance shot of gorilla cavalry soldiers riding along a trail. One of the gorillas is riding a white horse. The only character in the series who rides a white horse is General Urko, however, Urko does not make his first appearance until later in the episode. When the riders arrive at the site of the crashed space ship, the white horse is missing. All of the present horses are black or brown.
  • Many of the establishing shots of Central City are actually archival footage of Ape City used in Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
  • Virdon, Jones and Burke's ship was named Probe Six in initial concept pages for the series.
  • Interviewed during filming of "The Trap", star Ron Harper described the opening scenes of the series: "the chronometer records, I think, fifteen hundred years into the future before it stopped working. So, there's a little time to play with, fifteen [hundred] to two thousand years." Harper's understanding (about two weeks after filming "Escape from Tomorrow") was therefore that the series could be set much later than the 3085 date shown.[4]


  • The first episode to be broadcast (13 September in the USA, 13 October in the UK), this was the third episode filmed, chronologically, according to the Production Code.
  • In the opening scene, the wind machine nearly blows Bobby Porter's ape wig off and he has to hold it to keep it in place.
  • Two of the extras cast in this episode, Alvin Hammer and Jerome Thor, were both born in New York City in the year 1915, and both passed away in California in 1993.

External LinksEdit

Behind the ScenesEdit

Episode StoryboardsEdit


Planet of the Apes TV Series
"Escape from Tomorrow" "The Gladiators" "The Trap" "The Good Seeds" "The Legacy" "Tomorrow's Tide" "The Surgeon"
"The Deception" "The Horse Race" "The Interrogation" "The Tyrant" "The Cure" "The Liberator" "Up Above the World So High"
Planet of the Apes (TV Series)
Main Characters
Alan Virdon | Peter Burke | Galen | Urko | Zaius
Supporting Characters
Aboro | Anto | Arn | Augustus | Bandor | Barlow | Carsia | Daku | Dalton | Farrow | Fauna | Gahto | Hurton | Jillia | Jones | Kava | Kira | Kraik | Leander | Leuric | Lucian | Miller | Olam | Perdix | Polar | Remus | Scientist | Sestus | Tolar | Veska | Chris Virdon | Sally Virdon | Wanda | Yalu | Zako | Zandar | Zantes | Zilo | Zon | Zoran
Alpha Centauri | Farrow's Shelter | Central City | Borak | Chalo | Delphi | Hathor | Kaymak | Numai | Trion | Venta | Oakland | San Francisco | Council
Escape from Tomorrow | The Gladiators | The Trap | The Good Seeds | The Legacy | Tomorrow's Tide | The Surgeon | The Deception | The Horse Race | The Interrogation | The Tyrant | The Cure | The Liberator | Up Above the World So High
Unmade Episodes
Episode One | Episode Two | A Fallen God | Hostage | The Trek| Freedom Road | The Mine | The Trial
Annual / Comic Strips
Brown & Watson 'Planet of the Apes' Annual, 1975 | Brown & Watson 'Planet of the Apes' Annual, 1976 | Brown & Watson 'Planet of the Apes' Annual, 1977 | Pit Of Doom | The Arsenal | Ship Of Fools | Raiding Party | A Promise Kept | Blow For Blow | Breakout | Depth | Flight From Terror | From Out Of The Past | From Out Of The Sky | Galen's Guerrillas | Journey Into Terror (Brown & Watson) | New Life... On The Old Planet | Power Play | Rockets | Swamped | The Beach Of Time | The Captive | The Circus | The Gods Of The Stars | The Marksman | The Master Of The Forests | The Prophet | The Scavangers | The Wandering Jew | The Zombies | Ultrasonic | When The Earth Shakes | When The Ghosts Walk
Planet of the Apes Encyclopedia: The Legacy | Planet of the Apes Encyclopedia: The Surgeon | Planet of the Apes Encyclopedia: Tomorrow's Tide
Audio Episodes
Volcano | Battle of Two Worlds | Dawn of The Tree People | Mountain of The Delphi | Values
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