Samuel James Maronie is a journalist writing primarily in the genre of science-fiction. Maronie provided numerous articles for Marvel Comics' Planet of the Apes Magazine in the mid-1970s, covering subjects from all aspects of the Planet of the Apes franchise, including the five movies and the TV series. His enthusiasm for the Apes movies even won him a brief supporting role in 1973's Battle for the Planet of the Apes, though his scenes were edited out of the theatrical release and remained unseen for many, many years. He continues to write sci-fi journalism, most notably in Starlog magazine.
Sam Maronie recounted of his on-screen appearance: "It all started near the end of December, 1972, while I was vacationing in Los Angeles. I spent a memorable day visiting the 20th Century-Fox studios in Century City, hunting up some interesting copy for the newspaper for which I write. I was well aware at the time that the newest of the annual Apes series, 'Battle for the Planet of the Apes', was to commence shooting in the next few days, and I was determined to find out as much about the forthcoming Ape adventure as possible. I sought out my friend, Jack Hirschberg of APJAC Productions, to see if I could obtain his permission to tag along with the cast and crew for a few days of shooting. Hirschberg not only consented to my desire to watch the production company at work, but offered me a small part in the film as an extra. Of course, I accepted immediately. The prospect of appearing in a genuine Hollywood production was exciting enough, but to act in one of the Apes films, which I had admired for so long, made the proposal that much more interesting - I couldn’t have chosen a more enjoyable assignment if they would have asked me." "I learned that we were to be filming on location - and at a sewage treatment plant, no less!" "When I arrived, my first stop was the make-up trailer, where I was instructed to report for my cosmetic treatment. Once there, several make-up men commenced transforming me from man to mutant." "Strips of thin plastic and assorted chemical solutions known only to the make-up wizards were applied to my face to achieve a scarred, decaying look - as if the flesh had been burned and blistered from the atomic blast." "Instead of any of the stylish finery, my costume was regulated to a simple pair of dingy grey overalls, gloves, and close-fitting skull-cap. Not too spectacular of garb for the everyday post-nuclear war survivor, to say the least!"
"After lunch, it was back to the Missile Room set, and time for me to make my movie debut. The script called for a dramatic confrontation between Alma, who is about to unleash the nuclear warhead against the Ape populace, and Mendez (played by actor Paul Stevens of 'Patton'), who advocates a peaceful solution to the problem. In my capacity as 'mutant technician', I functioned no more than as window-dressing; standing in the background watching the control panels, trying to look as intent in my work as possible. Again, many Ape-ophiles may not recall such a scene. The whole subplot of the missile was excised in the editing stages - a mistake which many felt hurt the intelligibility of the film (as well as ruining my chance for superstardom!)" "My Missile Room shot was the last scene for that day - the 'wrap' - and thus closed my exciting adventure “Behind the Cameras of the Apes”; I will remember it for the rest of my life. You can imagine my extreme consternation when, on assembling a personal cheering section for the premiere of 'Battle' in St. Louis, I recognized only the scenes with McDowall. My friends began to wonder if I had been putting them on, and only the photos I brought back as souvenirs saved my reputation. Hollywood may have passed me by this time, but perhaps someday I'll have my second chance - regardless, I'm glad that I had this opportunity!"
Sam Maronie's 'Apes' Articles
- Finding the Future on the Fox Ranch! ('Apes' film sets & locations) - 'Planet of the Apes' UK #43 (16 August 1975)
- Sam Maronie's Entertainment Funhouse
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- When Sammy Met Roddy: Sam Maronie interview, by Dean Preston - 'Simian Scrolls' #18 (2015)