Planet of the Apes
The Cure title card
Episode The Cure
Season 1
Production Number B-506
Air Date Friday, November 29th, 1974
Network CBS
Director Bernard McEveety
Writer Edward J. Lakso
Continuity TV Series
Previous Episode: "The Tyrant"

Next Episode: "The Liberator"

"The Cure" is the twelfth episode of Planet of the Apes.



Guest Starring:

Production Crew

  • First Assistant Director ... Gil Mandelik
  • Second Assistant Director ... Ed Letting
  • Second Assistant Director ... Cheryl Downey
  • Music ... Lalo Schifrin
  • Film Editor ... J. Frank O'Neill
  • Costumer ... Paula Kaatz (possibly)
  • Wardrobe Assistant ... Pete Dawson (possibly)



A village that the trio have just left is devastated by malaria, and the group returns to assist, only to find themselves sealed in by a quarantine. Burke and Virdon butt heads with Dr. Zoran, a chimpanzee sent by the High Council to experiment on the humans. At the same time, Urko wants to burn the village to the ground, with everyone inside it. Alan unwisely confides his secret to a young woman, Amy (Sondra Locke), and when she becomes delirious she starts spilling the beans.

The most notable thing about this episode is Galen's growing resentment toward the humans. First off, he is upset that Alan chose to trust their secret to a woman and endangered all of them, and again by not being included in the decision-making. Though he is cross for most of the episode he chooses to stay with his friends. In the following two episodes Galen and the astronauts are just as good friends as ever.


  • In the early part of the 'Ornan Period' of Ape history, a plague ravaged the human population in several outlying areas of the rural zone. The entire sector became barren for years afterward.


  • Originally the Ape Council called malaria the "sleeping sickness." But when the second gorilla collapses, they call it the "shaking sickness."
  • The twelfth episode to be broadcast (29 November in the USA, 5 January 1975 in the UK), this was the sixth episode filmed, chronologically, according to the Production Code.[1] The episode was fimed in September 1974.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Urko Unleashed - Marvel Comics 'Planet of the Apes' UK Issue #22 (22 March, 1975)[2]

The Apes on T.V. - Marvel Comics 'Planet of the Apes' UK Issue #13 (18 January, 1975), possibly on the set of The Cure[3]

"A couple of days later - out at the Fox Ranch when the crew was shooting the fifth episode, The Cure, I spoke to Fred Blau, one of make-up chief's Dan Striepeke's team of make-up artists assigned to handle this most critical, delicate and essential facet of 'Planet of the Apes'. I met four of them while I was out there - Fred Blau, Sonny Burman (who worked along with his brother on David Wolper's acclaimed 'Primal Man' series: in fact, only the merest quirk of fate caused them to miss flying back to LA with the rest of the crew on the doomed airliner that crashed some months back en route back from location shooting for one of the series' episodes, wiping out almost the entire production team, including designer Janos Prohaska), Ed Butterworth and Frank Westmore (of the legendary Westmore brothers, whose names can be found next to the make-up credit of more Hollywood productions than seems decent) - but there were more, one make-up man assigned to each actor who had to wear a full application, with a general crew to handle the mask-wearing Apes (the extras) and the human actors.

The most notorious element of John Chambers' brilliant Ape applications is, of course, the time needed to put them on. The average figure seems to be about three hours, depending on the skill of the make-up artist involved - but, because this is a weekly series and because these men have to apply the make-up day in and day out, sheer familiarity with both the process and the face it‘s being applied to enable the make-up artists to streamline their operation slightly, thereby making it easier on themselves and the actor. Even so, the general time still rounds out at close to three hours. It begins with the upper face being laid down over the actor's cheeks and forehead, the latex appliance being 'cemented' down with spirit gum or glue or some other adhesive - what adhesive gets used usually depends on whether or not the actor has any sort of allergic reaction to spirit gum, glue, etc. This takes about a half-hour or so - the make-up call for simian principals being three hours before the camera call; as the average day begins at eight A.M., this makes the time roughly 5:30 in the morning. The upper face now firmly in place, make-up crew and actor(s) break for breakfast - the actors eating hearty, as this is the last solid food they will eat all day - and then, fifteen minutes later, it‘s back to the salt mines. Like any other make-up job, it isn’t really the gluing down of the appliance that takes the time: there's a head piece and there's a chin piece and only so much time is needed to insure that they're both firmly in place. What eats up the final 2 1/2 hours of the make-up session is the painstaking task of finishing the appliance. Of fitting the wig and chin hairs, of combing and smoothing and gluing and combing again, so that - when all is said and done, etc - the application looks like real hair and real features on a real face, and not some two-bit, slapped-together amateur-night job where anyone with decent eyes can see the lace core of the hair piece. Also, a sloppy job will only create worse problems later on during the day’s shooting.

Once the application’s on, the make-up team reverts to a sort of maintenance mode, hanging around throughout the rest of the day’s shoot in case something goes wrong with one of the applications. And things do go wrong; through nobody’s fault but just through an average day‘s wear and tear. Someone's chin piece might work loose during a scene - the glue might melt, stretch - and so a triangular chunk is cut out of the back of the chin piece, the entire piece is re-glued back into place; or, if that won't work, the whole thing has to be ripped out and reapplied, another two hour job that everyone - actors, directors and make-up men - would like to avoid at all costs. Things can get especially hairy out at the Fox Ranch, where - on a good day in mid-summer - the temperature can head up towards three figures and when that basic heat is combined with the heat generated by the giant arc lamps the crew uses to light the exterior sets... suffice it to say it can get very hot. And life can occasionally get quite uncomfortable for a man wearing a full face simian application acting under those lights. A weight loss of ten pounds on a day like that is not considered unusual. And you thought acting was a fun profession, did you? The make-up team usually ends up creating about 120 applications a week, and running through them almost as quickly, fitting the principals’ applications over life masks moulded from those actor’s faces. Guest stars, on the other hand, must make do with applications moulded off a series of general life masks; so, for them, the fitting is not always exact, and, occasionally, that can lead to some on-the-spot realignment and adjustment. Which is no fun in an air-conditioned dressing room, but when it’s done in hundred-degree heat... ouch!

I was out at the Fox Ranch, up in Malibu Canyon watching the Apes crew go to work on their next episode - 'The Cure' - under the direction of Bernard McEveety. Now, right off the bat, I would like to say that Los Angeles and its environs are very strange. I mean, this is a city of a few million inhabitants, sprawled out over Lord knows how many square miles; and you’re in the city, calmly driving down a freeway, and then - boom! - all of a sudden, you’re not! You’re in the country and, as far as you can tell from the land, there isn’t a city within miles. It’s a very abrupt change for one used to the never-ending urban splutch‘ of the BoNYWash megalopolis, and - if I may say so - it’s kind of weird. End of digression. The ranch itself is about five miles deep, reaching back into the hills of the Las Vergines/Malibu Canyon road. The first thing I saw as I drove in is a huge concrete tank, where - I found after asking around a bit - Irwin Allen had capsized his seven metre long model of the Queen Mary (a.k.a. SS Poseidon, in the movie of the similar name) some years back. Now, the Fox crews are using it for another Allen disaster flick, 'The Towering Inferno'. There’s a tall, slim forty-odd foot tall, hundred-and-thirty story, fire-scarred building standing in the tank and the word is they’re getting it ready to fire off again in a week or two - having just done so with spectacular results a few days before. I cursed my lousy timing and headed for the 'Apes' compound. 'Apes' is tucked way back in the ranch, past the ruined temple from 'Sand Pebbles' that Warner Bros. uses occasionally for 'Kung Fu', and, finally, in the shadow of the knoll that 'M*A*S*H'’s helicopters swing around in the opening credits - the 'M*A*S*H' set itself was a bit further up the road - I found the village of Trion. And I was back on the 'Planet of the Apes'.

To set the scene, 'The Cure' involves our heroes, a gorgeous young love interest type named Amy, Urko, Zaius, malaria, some rather pig-headed medical chimpanzees and some rather belligerent gorillas. And the bark of the cinchona tree. No earthquakes, though. This is a big-budget episode, a lot of exteriors necessitating a fair amount of background villagers - men, women, children and appropriate farm animals of all ages and degrees of health, (after all, many of the people were supposed to be dying of malaria) and a fair amount of extraneous apes, backing up the regular apes, and this week’s guest star, David Sheiner. They’d been shooting all morning by the time I got there, Bernie McEveety discussing the shots he wanted with Gerry Finnerman; Finnerman - wearing a screaming orange yachting windbreaker and a curious Rivera/Panama hat to keep the sun away (and sun there was - it wasn’t a very warm day for LA, that time of year, but the sky was shaded a brilliant azure blue and there didn’t seem to be a cloud anywhere, nor any smog) - moving from the lights to the big, boom-mounted Mitchell camera, checking to see that everything was just about right before the scene began. As for everyone else: they mostly sat in the shade - principals working on their lines, simian principals getting their applications checked over, extras just sitting and talking, crew (those that weren’t working) doing likewise - and waited for a call from First Assistant Director Gil Mandelik - or his two assistants, Ed Letting and Cheryl Downey - to galvanize the whole melange of talents and personalities into the action.

Images pop out of those two days out at the ranch, people moving across the dusty main 'square' of Trion, yelling orders and ducking out of sight behind the houses as the camera operator yelled that they were in the shot (actually, he told the A.D. and the A.D. yelled; after all, he had a megaphone so yelling was no great hassle); a couple of authentic looking wrangler types trying to track down a trio of hardened, escaped chickens who were understandably reluctant to return to their wire coop after being set free as background for a couple of scenes (chickens may well be among the dumbest animals God ever created, but they can be excruciatingly, exasperatingly brilliant pains-in-the-butt when they've a mind to be; and these chickens had a panic squawk that would scare a Lovecraft demon out of a year's growth). Or strolling idly around the compound, taking notes and watching the action only to suddenly find oneself face-to-face with an orangutan sitting in a director's chair in pants and torn undershirt, wearing the latest in Foster Grant’s 1974 shades. Or bumping into Roddy McDowall as he dashed from his Winnebago to the set, blue terry-cloth robe around his body, cigarette stuck into a cigarette holder poking out of his mouth, sunglasses looking oddly right on his simian features, suddenly shrugging off the robe and shifting into his chimpanzee tunic, slipping out of the whole, irritatingly hot mess as soon as the scene was done and McEveety gave him the OK.

And then there were the goats. Picture this: A village, its people weary and listless, worn down by what they view as a helpless battle against something in the air that is striking them down without mercy. Killing them. Enter Alan Virdon, Pete Burke and Galen. Virdon has a plan; the disease seems to resemble malaria. If it is malaria, he and the villagers can fight it. Amy won’t die (having left a wife and son back in the good old days, before the time warp caught his starship, Virdon is torn between desire for Amy and desire for the woman he loved and left behind; very guilt-ridden, very typical, very American. So what else is new these days?). Virdon calls all the villagers down and starts to give them 'The Word'. Except that there are these goats, see, brought in for general background and tethered way out beyond the village perimeter in what was hoped to be a classic case of out of sight, out of mind. No such luck. Virdon begins his speech. Gather round, he calls. Baaa! He starts telling the villagers what they have to do. Baaaaa! He keeps going. Baaaaaaaaaa! Not for nothing is Ron Harper a star: undaunted by the off-camera opposition, he ploughs ahead, oblivious to those members of the far off-camera crew already convulsing on the ground. He is reaching the climax of his speech. Unfortunately, so are the goats. The whole... whatever... of goats are in on it now, one Baa! triggering off an answering chorus. No way is the sound mike gonna pass that noise by. Finally... Harper: "And we’ve got to... get rid of those God-damned goats!" Or words to that effect. And, as he says this, collapsing towards the ground in an aborted gesture of penultimate frustration - I mean, being heckled by a goat, for cryin' out loud - as the entire crew goes into brief, but trenchant, hysterics. The goats are struck. The scene is done again. And, from the far meadow, wafting in on the wind, eager, questing ears pick up one final, defiant, never-say-die: Baaaaa! Luckily for the wee beastie, he was nowhere near either star or director at the time or he might have found himself somewhat precipitously shuffled off this mortal coil of ours. Because as far as this crew was concerned, that goat had had it in Hollywood.

That‘s pretty much it. I took as long returning from the Planet of the Apes as I took going, and the trip was about as much fun... People ask me, what did I think of it, of the series? Good, bad, indifferent? What? And I‘ve thought about it - realizing that by the time you read this, the show will have been on almost a month and you’ll have all made up your own minds - but this is September and the show is still in the can and an unknown quantity and I figure I owe an answer. so here goes. For better or for worse. I honestly do not know. I‘ve seen good people doing good work - people like Assistant Director Bill Derwin and Costumer Paula Katz and Wardrobe Assistant Pete Dawson, and all the other people I‘ve mentioned throughout this article - and I‘ve seen one of the best crews I‘ve ever seen work like a fine-tuned Swiss watch putting this show together, and I‘ve seen actors practicing their craft and doing a damn' good job of it. But all I‘ve seen to date are pieces - a scene here, a scene there, all of it done live under conditions that are nowhere near ideal - and because the pieces won’t make sense until they’re all threaded together and edited and spliced in with a soundtrack and all the rest of the cinema/TV post-production work, it‘s almost impossible to make any kind of valid judgement about the material one has seen. What I‘ve seen I‘ve liked, and I think I'll like the finished product equally well. So there. My feelings, take ’em or leave ’em. I like what I‘ve seen and I think the show will work well. And I hope it runs five years, minimum! Hell, I hope it catches 'Gunsmoke'. ’Cause I‘ve been to the 'Planet of the Apes', ladies and gents, and I want to go back. Because I like it there, and I hope it's going to be there to find for a long, long time. But that, as all of us know, is up to you."

- Chris Claremont, Marvel Comics' Planet of the Apes Magazine Assistant Editor, Planet of the Apes Magazine #3 (December 1974), on the set of The Cure.[4]

External LinksEdit


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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