Planet of the Apes
The Gladiators title card
Episode The Gladiators
Season 1
Production Number B-502
Air Date Friday, September 20th, 1974
Network CBS
Director Don McDougall
Writer Art Wallace
Continuity TV Series
Previous Episode: "Escape from Tomorrow"

Next Episode: "The Trap"

"The Gladiators" is the second episode of Planet of the Apes.



Guest Starring:

Production Crew

  • Assistant Director ... Gil Mandelik
  • Music ... Lalo Schifrin
  • Film Editor ... Axel Hubert, A.C.E.


Virdon, Burke & Galen stumble into a village led by a chimpanzee prefect, Barlow (John Hoyt), who keeps the human populace calm by gladiatorial combat. When Barlow finds the magnetic disc containing the record of the flight of Pete and Alan, they must get it back in order to have any hope of returning home. Galen goes to the village to attempt to retrieve the disc. While he is speaking with the prefect, Virdon and Burke are captured.


Sensing an opportunity to appease his humans, the prefect decides to pit Burke against the local champion in a fight to the death. Meanwhile, Urko has dispatched one of his lieutenants to spread the word about the three fugitives. In the arena, Burke defeats the champion, but spares his life. A riot ensues, which helps Burke and Galen escape as Urko's man arrives.

The gorilla is upset at the loss of Burke and Galen, but rejoices at having Virdon. When the prefect learns that the gorilla is intent on killing Virdon, the prefect doesn't agree and rues the day he ever set eyes on the two humans.

Burke and Galen make plans to rescue Virdon and go to enlist the help of the champion, the burly Tolar. Disgraced by Burke (Burke let him live), he refuses; but his son Dalton (Marc Singer) agrees to help. But he is arrested by the prefect when he refuses to kill Virdon. The champion helps, but is killed aiding Virdon's escape. In the escape attempt, Urko's lieutenant is also killed. The prefect calls it an accident and allows them to leave.

After rendezvousing with Burke and Virdon, the prefect rides up and gives the magnetic disc to Dalton. The trio watch as the prefect rides off, and then bid farewell to Dalton, who is returning to the village to make sure that the 'games' end forever.


  • The script for The Gladiators named the town as 'Seelah', and the name 'Cela' was used in the novelisation. 'Kaymak' was used on screen.[1]
  • This episode establishes that Central City is located in the Western, United States - in the region formerly known as California. Burke guesses they are North of San Francisco.


  • The second episode to be broadcast (20 September in the USA, 20 October in the UK), this was also the second episode filmed, chronologically, according to the Production Code.[2]
  • Actor Marc Singer, who plays the role of Dalton in this episode will go on to play more more famous characters, notably Dartanus in the Beastmaster films, and Mike Donovan in the Sci-Fi mini-series, V.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Gladiators scen

"At the old Fox ranch in Malibu Canyon where the original films were made and the TV series is filmed, I watched four gorillas on horseback starkly etched against the sky—and it gives you pause, it’s frightening. I left the filming and wandered down into a compound where humans of the Planet of the Apes lived in thatch-roofed, floorless mud huts. In the center of the village was a rude amphitheater, a primitive coliseum with a central arena. “Gladiators fight there. Humans, of course, for a human audience. The apes feel it vents their hostilities. They work off their aggressions. Interesting idea, isn’t it?” Roddy McDowall was at my elbow. He smiled. At least, the ape face that is literally molded to his flesh smiled. It can be disconcerting. Roddy was smoking a cigarette through a long holder thrust between his ape lips; he wore a loose sport shirt from which human arms and hands protruded; his tight green pants disappeared into ape feet with long, finger-like toes. Only the brown eyes that gazed at me with some amusement seemed human. And they were distant as if peering from caves. “Actors have difficulty at first with the face,” said Roddy. “They watch the mouth. They must learn to act to the eyes. This—appliance, I suppose you should call it—is an ordeal. I have to get up at 4 a.m. and spend three hours in makeup while they mold it on me before I come to work. It’s unbearably hot. I insist on a day off in every script so my flesh can breathe. “But in it you can fool around with ideas, have some fun with sacred institutions. Not that we go very deep into anything but we can poke little barbs into the complaisance of our society. “The ape society is very primitive. We have fire and the wheel and gunpowder but the astronauts with their machines are frightening. But they’re even more frightening to the humans than they are to the apes…” Roddy feels the series has little relation to the movies, though the chief orangutan Zaius (Booth Colman) cites the visit of other astronauts at other times. And the gorilla general Urko (Mark Lenard) knows the danger in educated humans. “They’ll think they’re as good as we are,” he growled. You could see what he meant."

- TV Times (September 22, 1974), on the set of The Gladiators[3]

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