Planet of the Apes
The Surgeon
Episode The Surgeon
Season 1
Production Number B-509
Air Date Friday, October 25th, 1974
Network CBS
Director Arnold Laven
Writer Barry Oringer
Continuity TV Series
Previous Episode: "Tomorrow's Tide"

Next Episode: "The Deception"

"The Surgeon" is the seventh episode of Planet of the Apes.



Guest Starring:

Production Crew

  • Assistant Director ... Bill Derwin
  • Music ... Lalo Schifrin
  • Film Editor ... J. Frank O'Neill



Virdon is shot and seriously injured in an escape from gorilla soldiers and Galen goes to Kira, a surgeon who happens to be an old girlfriend. The highlight of the episode is a daring raid on Zaius' study to obtain a book of human anatomy, without which Kira feels unable to operate.


  • The 'New Territory' was one of the regions surrounding ape-controlled lands that Urko thought the fugitives might have escaped into. Another was the 'North Mountains'.[1]
  • The title of the ancient 20th Century book kept by Zaius, which was to save Virdon's life, was 'Principles of Surgery' by Dr. Walter Mather of the Hanson Clinic. Burke was familiar with his work.[2]
  • When Galen and Burke broke into Zaius' home, they used a bust of his predecessor Doswa on a stretcher, pretending it was the body of Zaius.


  • The seventh episode to be broadcast (25 October in the USA, 24 November in the UK), this was the ninth episode filmed, chronologically, according to the Production Code.[3]

Behind the ScenesEdit

"On a later visit to the small planet in the Santa Monica Mountains, the set-side fun and games were noticeably subdued. The Nielsen ratings for the second week of the new season had been posted, and Friday night had been cornered by NBC. Chico and the Man was the No. 1 show for the week, Sanford and Son No. 3. Apes, directly opposite, was No. 43.

Galen was leading astronauts Alan and Pete across the dry, stony bed of Malibu Creek, tracked by the camera as they scuttled away from the pursuing gorillas. A few yards downstream a deer emerged from the woods, surveyed the goings-on, gave the cervine equivalent of a shrug, then bounded across the creek and vanished among the cottonwoods and sycamores on the opposite bank. A visitor, watching it, said, “Beautiful!” A gorilla slumping next to him said, dispiritedly: “Why? Is a deer supposed to be good luck or something?”

Things picked up considerably at lunch time. It was Roddy McDowall’s 46th birthday. Eldon and Ronnie, the stunt gorillas, lugged McDowall out of his trailer, in a two-man fireman’s carry, to officiate over his birthday cake and open his present from the crew. Roddy was wearing a turquoise terrycloth jacket over his green chimp-tights, and violet shades over his sunken chimp-eyes. An ivory cigarette-holder protruded from his chimp-mouth. He had trouble extinguishing the birthday candles. “Blow harder,” somebody said and Roddy said, “Look, I don’t want to blow my face off!”

He was genuinely touched by his present: an inscribed silver wine bucket and a pair of matching wine cups. All that was missing, he noted, was a silver straw. The setting was eminently apropos. It was here, on the Century Ranch, 33 years ago, that Roddy McDowall became a movie star. The ranch was dressed up like a Welsh mining town then. The movie was “How Green Was My Valley.”

Then it was back to the usual routine on your usual ape-show location. Apes lined up with humans to draw their day’s travel pay. Apes, along with humans, hitched a ride back to the set on a prop truck. Other apes, stretching the lunch break to the fullest, stretched out to sunbathe, from the appliance down. Roddy McDowall was still hopping delightedly from crewperson to crewperson, thanking each one for the marvelous gift on his most marvelous birthday."

- Rowland Barber, TV Guide (December 7, 1974), possibly on the set of The Surgeon[4] (Tomorrow's Tide was being filmed on Friday 13 September 1974 - four days before McDowall's birthday).[5]

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