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Return to the Planet of the Apes
Ret doom
Episode Flames of Doom
Season 1
Production Number DFE01
Air Date September 6, 1975
Network NBC
Director Doug Wildey
Writer Larry Spiegel
Continuity Animated Series
Previous Episode:

Next Episode: "Escape from Ape City"

Humans are nothing but a scourge to all of us! They should be eradicated... not studied!
General Urko[src]

Flames of Doom is the first episode of the Return to the Planet of the Apes animated series.



Venturer crew

The crew of the Venturer from left to right: Jeff Allen, Judy Franklin and Bill Hudson

In the silent void of outer space, astronaut Bill Hudson transmits to Earth from the NASA space capsule, Venturer. On board are crew members Jeff Allen and Judy Franklin. The ship's date is August 6, 1976. Bill explains in his transmission that they are testing doctor Stanton's Time-Thrust theory. Due to the advanced speed of the Venturer, their Earth clock indicates that they have traveled over a century into the future. Without warning, the craft begins to reel wildly out of control as the Earth clock starts clicking up. The ship enters a planet's atmosphere and crash-lands in a lake in a desolate desert region.

Meanwhile, in a sprawling settlement known as Ape City, General Urko, leader of the gorilla army, is debating before the Supreme Council. He demands permission to begin an all-out assault on the humanoids, ending in their annihilation. Cornelius, an animal psychologist, pleads for the council to allow the humanoids to live as subjects of scientific research. He believes the knowledge gained will help the simian culture better understand their origins. Urko violently disagrees and the crowd supports him. Councillor Zaius rebukes the sentiment, citing that such action should only be taken so long as it is in accordance with their sacred scripture. After hearing both sides presented, the Council closes the proceedings by decreeing that the humans should not be exterminated since they have no language, but they will continue to be hunted, enslaved, domesticated and studied . According to the Book of Simian Prophecy, however, the humanoids must be destroyed if it is ever discovered that they can speak.

All three astronauts survive. Bill, Jeff and Judy escape their disabled, sinking ship and raft to shore, but none of them yet realizes that they are back on Earth. They think that they have landed on an alien world. Bill's watch reveals the date still to be August 6, but in the year 3979 A.D. With no better plan, and with enough survival rations for two days worth of travel, they begin trekking across the wasteland, hoping to find some kind of life to help them. Bill, Jeff and Judy wander for miles through the scorching desert. They bear witness to many strange, geological occurrences, including sudden intermittent electrical lightning storms, high-velocity winds, tremors, rockslides, unexplained spontaneous walls of flame erupting before them, and ruins proving that some kind of intelligent life once inhabited the region. Exhausted and at the end of her strength, Judy pleads with Bill and Jeff to go on without her, but they refuse. Another mysterious wall of flames consumes their survival packs. After many days, they find hope in the sight of green, living plants; water must be nearby. Suddenly, a massive earthquake erupts beneath their feet. Judy slips and begins falling into one of the fissures. There is a blinding flash of light, and by the time Bill and Jeff regain their senses, Judy is gone.

Frantic, the men move to higher ground in the hopes of spotting her and find a puzzling and frightening sight: ape faces carved into the mountainside. They continue exploring until they find a group of primitive-looking humans living in a cave. They try to speak to them, but the primitives run away. Finally, Bill and Jeff collapse from exhaustion. The tribe takes the two men to their cave dwellings and nurse them back to strength. To their amazement, one of the tribe, an electively mute female named Nova, is wearing United States astronaut I.D. dog-tags around her neck. The tags belong to a Col. Ronald Brent, a 21st century astronaut. Jeff cites that Brent was born on Earth on May 2nd, 2079, over a century after Bill, Jeff and Judy left Earth! With a little effort, Nova manages to stammer out Brent's name, and Bill and Jeff manage to teach her their names.

Suddenly, General Urko and a squad of gorillas lay siege to the human settlements. Reluctantly, he orders his men to take his prisoners alive. One of the guards throws a tear-gas grenade into the cavern, flushing out the panicking savages. To their horror, Bill and Jeff see that the attackers are gorillas! Nova manages to hide Jeff by crawling through a small crevice where they exit on the opposite side of the cave, but Bill is captured along with most of the tribe. They lock them up inside of Wagon Cages and bring them back to Ape City. Once there, Bill begins to fully realize that on this planet man is the animal and apes are the masters.[1]



  • Ronald Brent's NASA registry number is 553386086.
  • Bill and Jeff find a mountainside carved in the likeness of Mt. Rushmore. However, instead of well-known American statesmen, the reliefs in the side of the mountain resembles apes.

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Return to the Planet of the Apes
"Flames of Doom" "Escape from Ape City" "The Unearthly Prophecy" "Tunnel of Fear" "Lagoon of Peril" "Terror on Ice Mountain" "River of Flames"
"Screaming Wings" "Trail to the Unknown" "Attack from the Clouds" "Mission of Mercy" "Invasion of the Underdwellers" "Battle of the Titans" Return to the Planet of the Apes