Planet of the Apes started life in 1963 as a quirky work by Pierre Boulle, the French literary novelist famous for The Bridge over the River Kwai. His concept of a world where humans are ruled over by apes proceeded to become one of the biggest multi-media sensations in history.
The 1968 Charlton Heston motion-picture adaptation of Boulle's book was celebrated and successful but was just the beginning. By 1973, said picture had spawned four sequels. It then spun off a live-action TV series, which in turn spun off the animated TV show Return to the Planet of the Apes. With this, comic books, novelizations, and a tsunami of merchandising, the late '60s and first half of the '70s had a distinctly simian flavor. A new generation was introduced to the concept when, in 2001, Tim Burton's updating of the series appeared in cinemas. This itself was rebooted a decade later in the form of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its two sequels. Yet despite all the fantasy (and money-chasing), the series has always been marked by thoughtfulness, exploring serious themes alien to most franchises.
Planet of the Apes: The Complete History explores every aspect of this phenomenon—from books to films, comic books to television shows, and video games to merchandise—providing an overview that is truly definitive. With the help of new and exclusive interviews with Planet of the Apes producers, directors, writers, actors, and makeup artists, Sean Egan attempts to gain an understanding of how a media property changed the world.
Sean Egan has contributed to Billboard, Book Collector, Classic Rock, Reader's Digest, Record Collector, Tennis World, Total Film, Uncut, RollingStone.com, and more. He has written or edited two-dozen books, including works on the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Clash, Manchester United, Coronation Street, Tarzan, James Bond, and William Goldman. His critically acclaimed novel, Sick of Being Me, was published in 2003, while his 2008 collection of short stories, Don't Mess with the Best, carried cover endorsements from Booker Prize–winners Stanley Middleton and David Storey. His 2002 book, Jimi Hendrix and the Making of "Are You Experienced," was nominated for an Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.
“Egan carefully unpicks the frayed strands in his well-researched history . . . an upstanding primates primer.”—Total Film Magazine
“In this engaging overview Sean Egan covers the full sweep of the Apes story . . . Well worth getting your stinking paws on.”—SFX Magazine
“If you enjoyed watching Charlton Heston rage against his simian overlords back in 1968, then you’ll be fascinated to read regular Retro contributor Sean Egan’s latest book. Planet of the Apes, The Complete History explores every aspect of the strange world where apes are the ruling class.With the help of new and exclusive interviews, he examines the contributions of producers, directors, writers, actors and makeup artists to explain why this story still fascinates the world.”—Retro
NetGalley Review: 4 stars
Last updated on 14 Oct 2021
"My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Rowan & Littlefield for an advanced copy of this new behind the scenes movie collection.
When I was in school, one of the highlights of the year was Ape Week, which was actually two weeks, which showed instead of the usual boring 4:00 O'Clock movies on WABC, two weeks of Planet of the Apes movies and televisions shows. This and Monster Week, all Godzilla for a week, were as eagerly awaited as Christmas.
So I bring a large bias to Sean Egan's Planet of the Apes: The Complete History book. I love the movies, the show and cartoons, and many of the comics, I had no idea there were so many comics until I read this book. The remakes might grow on me, but Ape Week made me a classic fan for life.
The book does not disappoint. Mr. Egan starts with the original novel, the creation and sale to the studios. From there he covers every form the Apes franchise as gone into movies, television, toys, books even computer games. The book is very interesting with many new facts and stories that I have not seen and was unfamiliar with, especially on the costuming and makeup. Mr's Egan's writing is very readable, never bogging down whether he is discussing rights issues, or comics issues, or the long drought between movies. There is a tremendous amount of information and research and Mr. Egan presents it very well and in a very engaging way.
Reading this brought me back to Ape Week and I enjoyed that. I learned a lot of new things about Planet of the Apes I found his summations for the new movies very intriguing. A great gift for Ape fans both old and new, and also a good read for people interested in the growth of merchandising in film history."—Dan O'Leary, bookseller
"An engrossing, detailed chronological exploration . . . an engaging, highly-readable and occasionally warts 'n' all pocket digest of the history of cinema's first sci-fi movie series."—Starburst