Ted Post was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1918, studied acting at the Tamara Daykarhanova School of the Stage, and then directing at The New School for Social Research Dramatic Workshop, under Irwin Piscator. In World War II, he served in the 235th Combat Engineers, 5th Army, in Italy. Afterwards, in 1946, he started directing innumerable stock companies to great success, with shows like Jean Cocteau's The Eagle Has Two Heads, Barretts of Wimpole Street, The Glass Menagerie, and even a 1948 production of Dracula, with Bela Lugosi, at the Norwich Theatre. Post has directed over 700 television shows, including live TV from the 1950s - Chesterfield Presents and The Armstrong Circle Theatre - and filmed shows like Gunsmoke, Studio One, the Perry Mason pilot (1957), The Twilight Zone, Thriller, The Defenders, Wagon Train (40 segments), Rawhide (50 segments), and Peyton Place (224 segments!). He made several segments of ABC's Movie of the Week, including Night Slaves (TV winner at the Trieste Science Fiction Film Festival) and Dr. Crook's Garden. As one of the pioneers of television directing, he was only later known for motion picture work, with the western, Hang 'em High, the psycho-horror-melodrama The Baby, The Harrad Experiment, and of course Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
When asked about his experience directing the second Apes picture, Post said he found it "a very challenging experience" working with the film's "hodgepodge script," and trying to give it "a concept, a point-of-view, a unifying force." He felt the film had "a shape, a character that gave it a visual and visceral thrust," but also that "the story was unclear and didn't measure up." He was denied a script re-write, and so had to make the best of what was given. For the central story idea, Post wrote the following notes: "The world seems ready to destroy itself and 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes' asks you not to contribute to that destruction." He reserved special praise among his actors for James Franciscus, whom he called "a remarkably dedicated craftsman."
Post was apparently responsible for the final makeup concept for the mutants in the film. For many months, the studio had spent thousands of dollars and several artists trying to find the right look for the mutants, coming up with almost every conceivable brand of monstrosity, deformity, and what-have-you. When Post walked into the makeup lab, he was appalled at the sight of myriad grotesque plaster heads lining the shelves, ranging from early Universal to early American-International in appearance. He remembered a drawing from a medical text entitled 'Gray's Anatomy', in which was printed a vivid picture of a man's head, with the top layer of epidermis removed. For some reason, he never forgot that picture and suggested the idea to Dan Striepeke and John Chambers. With the magic of their skills, they transformed this into film reality.
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- Ted Post Interview, by Dean Preston - 'Simian Scrolls' #13 (Winter 2007)