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Lt. Thomas Dodge was an astronaut on a mission along with George Taylor, John Landon and Lieutenant Stewart to journey to another star system. He was portrayed by Jeff Burton.


A member of the Icarus, Dodge and the rest launched out of Cape Kennedy in 1971. After entering suspended animation, the Icarus entered a Hasslein Curve. It crashed onto an unknown planet (actually Earth) and Stewart was killed. Dodge, a man of science with a thirst for knowledge of the unknown, committed himself to finding a way to survive on the planet. He seems to have a personality that was a go-between between Taylor's tongue-in-cheek ways and Landon's seriousness. When Taylor mocked Landon for volunteering on the mission, after some time Dodge had had enough of this and yelled "Climb off him, Taylor!" At some point, the trio found some weeds and dandelions flowering, which Dodge considered great scientific knowledge that although they still had no clue wha planet they were on, they had proven this planet could sustain life. After swimming in a lake and discovering their clothes were stolen by mute humans, including an attractive woman named Nova, Dodge and the others discovered, to their horror, that there were horseback-riding, talking apes on the planet. During their attempt to escape, Dodge was shot. Later, Taylor would horrifically find Dodge stuffed in a museum.


  • Michael Wilson's final shooting script for the movie described Dodge and Landon as "thirtyish, clean-shaven, virile".[2]
  • In the novelization of Escape, it is revealed that the apes were intrigued by Dodge's skin color, having never seen a black person. This scene is based on script dialogue edited out of the finished movie (although that script was written by a different writer than that of 'Planet', and so it may not have been a consideration at the time of the original movie):
E-1: "Colonel Taylor had colleagues..."
Zira: "Oh, yes. There was one who ... somehow ... died before we found out he could talk. He possessed a unique skin. We had it stuffed and put in our museum. Like the gorilla I saw in yours. ... It was black."
  • The museum where Dodge was displayed was the 'Great Hall of the Zaius Museum'. Earlier scripts named it the 'Museum of Natural Science'.
  • A 2007 fan-produced reproduction of the Presidential Commission's Briefing Dossier gave Dodge the name 'Dr. Jeff Dodge' (Mission Specialist).[3]
  • The 'ANSA Public Service Announcement' bonus feature from the Blu-Ray Planet of the Apes Box-Set (released November 2008) included this biography: "Lieutenant Thomas Dodge serves as head science officer. At the relatively young age of 35, Lieutenant Dodge exhibits the vision of a man with twice his years. He admits yearning to find intelligent life at the crew's ultimate destination. A dream he has often discussed as professor of organic chemistry at Annapolis."


  • As a scientist, Dodge is similar to Professor Antelle from Pierre Boulle's original novel, La Planète des singes, though Antelle is an older man. But Dodge is shot and killed in his first encounter with the apes and Taylor discovers him as a stuffed and mounted display in the ape museum shortly afterwards: this is the same fate that befell Arthur Levain, the third character in Boulle's book.
  • Rod Serling used the name Dodge from his earliest screenplays for an Apes movie (1964), with one draft apparently describing him as 'William Dodge', a stocky man in his twenties. He was apparently also a white man, as he "turns pasty white" when shot.[4] Serling's script treatment for an 'Apes' TV show followed on somewhat from his film scripts, with two astronauts sent to rescue Taylor's crew which included a man called 'Thomas' - confusingly, Serling's earlier name for 'Taylor' (possibly a 31-year-old man, who is found to have died from a gunshot).[5]
  • On May 21, 1967, the first day of filming in Page, Arizona, Charlton Heston complained that they.. "were more than half an hour late starting this morning because the beards weren't sent up for the other astronauts, who of course haven't had time to grow their own. They weren't well applied when they did come... The heat is bad here. One of the other two actors playing astronauts (Jeff Burton) passed out from the heat."[6]
  • Explaining the effects used to transform Dodge into a stuffed corpse, make-up designer John Chambers joked, "We just didn't have the heart to send Jeff to a taxidermist!" Instead, special contact lenses were made to cover Jeff Burton's eyes completely, giving a 'glazed' appearance. A custom mouthpiece which fit inside his lips & cheeks added to the 'stuffed' illusion, and translucent body make-up completed the effect. Between takes the actor was overheard to comment "I don't see how those stuffed animals can stand it!"[7]


See also


Dodge's stuffed corpse in the Ape Museum

Dodge in Power Records' 'Planet of the Apes'; illustration by Arvid Knudsen and Associates Dodge in Marvel's 'Adventures on the Planet of the Apes'; illustration by George Tuska, Michael Esposito & George Roussos

Planet of the Apes - The Original Pentalogy Series
Planet of the Apes (APJ) Movies
Planet of the Apes | Beneath the Planet of the Apes | Escape from the Planet of the Apes | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes | Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Main Ape Characters
Zira | Cornelius | Zaius | Ursus | Milo | Caesar | Lisa | Virgil | Aldo | Cornelius II | Lawgiver
Supporting Ape Characters
Hunt Leader | Julius | Marcus | Galen | Honorius | Maximus | President of the Assembly | Lucius | Minister | Minister | Frank | Mandemus
Main Human Characters
George Taylor | Nova | John Landon | Dodge | John Brent | Mendez XXVI | Caspay | Ongaro | Albina | Fat Man | Lewis Dixon | Stephanie Branton | Otto Hasslein | Armando | Breck | MacDonald (Conquest) | MacDonald (Battle) | Kolp | Mendez I
Supporting Human Characters
Stewart | Maddox | Verger | General Winthrop | General Faulkner | The President | Chairman of the President's Committee of Inquiry | E-1 | E-2 | Inspector Hoskyns | TV Newscaster | Mrs Riley | Mutant Captain | Jake | Jake's friend
Horse | Gorilla in Zoo
Items / Weapons
Sacred Scrolls | Human Doll | Alpha-Omega Bomb | Grape Juice Plus
Important Events / Battles
Ape Rebellion
Bellatrix | Orion | Earth's Moon | Ape City | Forbidden Zone | Statue of Liberty | Queensboro Plaza | Radio City Music Hall | Grand Central Terminal | New York Stock Exchange | St. Patrick's Cathedral' | New York City | Jefferson Public School | Los Angeles | Los Angeles Zoo | Forbidden City | Ape City (Caesar's City) | Council
Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes | Exile on the Planet of the Apes | Planet of the Apes: Ursus| Planet of the Apes/Green Lantern | Kong on the Planet of the Apes | Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes
Soundtrack Music
Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Beneath the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Battle for the Planet of the Apes (Soundtrack Album) | Music Of The Planet Of The Apes