Planet of the Apes
The Horse Race
Episode The Horse Race
Season 1
Production Number B-511
Air Date Friday, November 08th, 1974
Network CBS
Director Jack Starrett
Writer Booker Bradshaw, David P. Lewis
Continuity TV Series
Previous Episode: "The Deception"

Next Episode: "The Interrogation"

"The Horse Race" is the ninth episode of Planet of the Apes.



Guest Starring:

Production Crew

  • Assistant Director ... Bill Derwin
  • Music ... Lalo Schifrin
  • Film Editor ... Axel Hubert, A.C.E.



In exchange for a condemned human's freedom, Virdon agrees to ride a chimpanzee prefect (Barlow)'s horse in a match race, only to learn his opponent is Urko. Virdon decides to take part in the dangerous race even though he runs the risk of being captured by Urko. Of course, Urko cheats in order to make certain his winning streak remains intact. Under Urko's very nose, Virdon manages to win the race, winning, as part of the stakes, the life of a blacksmith's young son.


  • The DVD subtitles for The Horse Race identified the town's name as 'Venton', rather than 'Venta'.[1]
  • Barlow's horse was named 'Woda' in the script and novelization of the episode.[2]


  • The ninth episode to be broadcast (8 November in the USA, 8 December in the UK), this was the eleventh episode filmed, chronologically, according to the Production Code.[3]
  • Barlow is warned about Urko's methods of winning races by a friend from the Regego - a village in the vicinity of Venta.[4]
  • The Tiger Scorpion, which makes an off-screen appearance and then later uses a wooden stand-in, bites rather than stings, which is certainly odd for a scorpion.[5]
  • The so-called "Scorpion" placed on the gorilla soldier's shoulder is actually a Jerusalem cricket outfitted with a prosthesis to simulate a tail, presumably to prevent the actor from actually being stung.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Ron Harper's favorite episode was The Horse Race, "in which I competed in a race against an ape. I knew how to ride pretty well because, years earlier, I'd worked on a ranch out in South Dakota for one summer. The other ape was played by a stuntman (Wesley Fuller), a guy who had been a regular, and he really could ride. I said, "Jesus, where'd you learn to ride like that?" and he said, "That’s my bag, baby!" I don't know if he was a jockey or not, but he was an excellent horsemen. There's one scene where you can see that I’m riding full-out and he's riding next to me, and he starts hitting me with his whip, and then I grab the whip - it's an old, standard thing in Westerns, where you take the whip out of the other rider's hand and smack him back with it. He worked with me on that, and we were even able to keep the horses going at a pretty good clip as we carried this off. And the stuntmen hated horses. They said, "They're dumb animals, and they’re heavy, and you can't predict them and you can't really control them!" So they hated horses! I had three stuntmen working on that episode, doubling me. Two of them broke a leg, and one wrenched his ankle or his knee so badly he was incapacitated for the rest of the shoot. All three injuries involved the horses."[6]

Mark Lenard commented "I think there’s room for lots of variety, like 'The Horse Race' episode, which was directed by a funny sort of western director; he brought humour into it, lots of fun and a kind of carnival atmosphere with horse racing. Urko goes around to all his prefects and fixes the race and it‘s sort of fun. But it’s done well - it's not quite as serious as some of them. It's a nice change of pace." "I just had a director in 'The Horse Race' episode who had never met me, never seen me before; and, as Urko, I'd done several days of shooting and had a late call, so I went out to the Fox Ranch early and said hello to him. He got a funny look on his face, and I said, 'you don’t remember me, do you?' And he said, 'well, I've seen you somewhere; I’ve seen your face somewhere.' And I told him I was Urko. He turned crimson, blushed, and got embarrassed."[7]

"Nearly two years [after "Battle for the Planet of the Apes"], and more than seven since the whole 'Planet of the Apes' phenomenon began, men and women in ape costumes still can be found bouncing around the Hollywood Hills. After five highly successful movies, Pierre ('Bridge Over the River Kwai') Boulle’s creation is a successful weekly television series. And, as was the case with four of the five movies, it stars Roddy McDowall in the role of the friendly, science-minded chimpanzee.

One day recently, Mr. McDowall was preparing for shooting. 'It’s hard to say how it’s going', he said. 'It isn’t like doing a film which you finish, look at, and then have a point of view about. With a TV series you’re working so hard and it’s being shown at the same time. It’s a rather different situation from anything I’ve been involved with before. We just started the 11th episode this week, and have 13 more to do to complete the season. It’s very pleasant. The people are very nice, but it’s hard work.' What precisely makes 'Planet of the Apes' hard work? 'It’s a very challenging acting assignment', Mr. McDowall said. 'The physicalization is different, because you are dealing somewhat with animal movements. And it’s not easy being encased in all that rubber for that length of time and manipulating it so that it’s alive.' How long must the actor remain in costume? 'I work four days a week', he explained. 'Three hours for makeup. After the first hour and a half, before the chin is put on, I eat breakfast. Then I don’t get any more solid food until the makeup is off, usually 12 hours later. When we started shooting in June, it was boiling. Even now it’s still pretty hot. You perspire, and that breaks the glue. I have an air-conditioned motor home which I run into between takes.'

The basic principle of the show is that humans nearly destroyed themselves through technology; the apes evolved into the dominant species, and they keep the few remaining and slightly dull-witted humans in a position of servitude. There is a lot of playfulness, such as having an ape speculate about what would happen if you chained an infinite number of humans to an infinite number of typewriters. (Incidentally, that experiment has been tried, and the result goes by the name of 'The Village Voice'.) Mr. McDowall says that despite the Darwinian implications, there has been no rumbling from the Bible Belt. 'Even in the movies I don’t remember any sort of uproar about that', he says.

The 'Planet of the Apes' phenomenon sells not only movies and TV shows, but more than 300 different kinds of items, including toys, games, dolls, books, wastebaskets, t-shirts, doll cut-out books, bubble gum, saucers and plates, transistor radios, and masks, some of them running to $60. According to Selwyn Rausch, a New York merchandiser who is responsible for this aspect of the 'Apes' craze, 'by the end of this year we estimate $100-million gross sales in all kinds of 'Ape'-related merchandise. Why anyone would want a 'Planet of the Apes' wastebasket I don’t know', he says, 'but they’re selling like crazy.'

- CUE (November 18-24 1974), possibly on the set of The Horse Race.[8]

External LinksEdit


  1. Timeline of the Planet of the Apes: The Definitive Chronology by Rich Handley
  2. Glossary to the Planet Of The Apes Jim Whitmore (1976)
  3. 'Broadcast History' at
  4. Glossary to the Planet Of The Apes Jim Whitmore (1976)
  5. Glossary to the Planet Of The Apes Jim Whitmore (1976)
  6. I Talked with a Zombie: Interviews With 23 Veterans of Horror and Sci-Fi by Tom Weaver (2008)
  7. Urko Unleashed, by Chris Claremont - 'Planet of the Apes' UK #22 (22 March 1975)
  8. It Ain't Cheetah (A Tribute to Roddy McDowall), by Mike Jahn - 'CUE' (November 18-24 1974)

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