Win Passes to the 2018 Kansas City Planet Comicon

What if you could go to a party and chat with Alice Cooper, John Cusack, Jason Mamoa, Danny Trejo and others?  You’d jump at the chance, of course!

Media Mikes is giving (4) lucky readers the chance to win weekend passes to the 2018 Kansas City Planet Comicon.  If you’ve ever attended, or read our annual write-ups, you know that Planet Comicon is THE Midwest convention and the one that all of the others strive to be.

All you have to do is let us know below what guest you would like to see at a future convention.  On February 14, (4) random commenters will be chosen to receive (2) weekend passes to attend the show.

Planet Comicon runs from February 16 -19, 2018 and will be held at Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.  For more information click HERE

Good Luck!

“Forbidden Planet” to Invade Omaha


“Forbidden Planet,” the classic 1956 science-fiction classic, will be the 37th film to be presented by film historian Bruce Crawford at the upcoming Tribute to Classic Films, to be held on Friday, October 23, 2015 in Omaha, Nebraska. The screening will begin at 7:00 p.m.

The film, starring Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen, Anne Francis and the timeless Robby the Robot, is considered one of the best science-fiction films ever made and was a strong inspiration on such future projects as “Star Trek.” The screening will be held at the Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge Street in Omaha.

The evening’s special guest will be actor/author/producer Robert Dix, who played Crewman Grey in the film. Mr. Dix is the son of legendary silent film star Richard Dix, whose Westerns were among the most popular films of the time.

As with other Classic Film Tributes, artist Nicolosi will design a commemorative United States Postal Envelope honoring the film, with the original artwork being unveiled prior to the screening. You can purchase tickets for the event, which benefits the Nebraska Kidney Association, by visiting the customer service counters of all Omaha-area HyVee food stores. The cost is $24.00. For more information you can call (402) 932-7200 or visit www.omahafilmevent.com

Once Again, KC’s Planet Comicon is a Rousing Success!


Planet Comicon, one of the best and biggest fan-driven conventions in the country, ended another great session this past weekend in Kansas City.

With such celebrity guests as Cary Elwes, Michael Rooker and Scott Wilson, the lines for autographs were long (but moved quickly) and there were plenty of vendors ready to work a deal or two. Whether your love was movies, television, comics or toys, there was plenty to see and plenty to do. As in other years, many guests came in the guise of their favorite pop culture characters.

The “Behind the Mikes” podcast team of Moviemike, Loaf and Brett “Movie Quote” Coker, along with photographer Dan Lybarger, worked the vast expanse of Kansas City’s Bartle Hall, speaking with fans and capturing the sights of the event. Fans of every genre’ were encouraged to get on stage for trivia, hosted by a gentleman in an amazing looking suit!

A huge THANK YOU to Chris Jackson and his Planet Comicon staff for making this annual event one of the most anticipated each year!

Moviemike, Loaf and Brett (l-r) bright and early in the morning. Midwest Wonder Woman

 

The artist with her signed painting The Walking Dead’s” Scott Wilson Photog Dan Lybarger and Michael Rooker The trivia quiz master and his assistant. Lady Avengers Three of a kind

 

“Thank you, Walt Disney” trying to raise money to restore Walt’s original Kansas City studio.

Win Passes to 2015 Kansas City Planet Comicon [ENDED]

If the calendar says it’s March you know two things are certain. Spring is (hopefully) right around the corner. And Kansas City’s Planet Comicon is back!

One of the best, and most popular, conventions in the country, the KC Planet Comicon runs from Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 15 at beautiful Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. This year’s announced guests include Cary Elwes, Scott Wilson, Michael Rooker, Erin Gray, Mitch Pileggi, Kent McCord and dozens of other celebrities in the film, television and graphics world.

Once again, our friends at Planet Comicon have given us (5) pair of passes to give away to the event. To be eligible to win them, just let us know below what celebrity guest you’d like to see at the next Planet Comicon. (5) random entries will be chosen to win a pair of passes to the KC Planet Comicon. This contest ends at midnight (EST) on Sunday, March 8, 2015. Winners will be notified by email. Good luck!!

DVD Review “Gilligan’s Planet: The Complete Series”

Voices of: Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jr., Russell Johnson, Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Dawn Wells
Directed by: Hal Sutherland
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 292 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

When I saw that this was coming out on DVD, I honestly have never even heard of it. I used to watch “Gilligan’s Island” as a kid though, so I know the idea around the show. This was in fact the second animated spin-off of the popular sitcom “Gilligan’s Island”. The first, which was “The New Adventures of Gilligan” aired in 1974-1975. What is cool about this is that the cast of “Gilligan’s Island” actually returned to their respective roles except for Tina Louise who played Ginger Grant. Dawn Wells ended up pulling double duty voicing Ginger as well as her own original character, Mary Ann Summers. Not the greatest of the bunch of cartoons that were born in the 80’s. If you are a hardcore fan of “Gilligan’s Island” and remember this show, it might be worth picking up.

Official Premise: It’s a brand new story about The Castaways! Leaving their tiny island after years and months and days, they built a little spaceship, crude but it could fly. They left their home and lost their way, between the stars and sky, they went from an island to star, lost on Gilligan’s Planet.” It’s true – The Castaways are now lost in space! They’re all here, in this strange, new world, Gilligan (voice of Bob Denver), the Skipper (voice of Alan Hale, Jr.), the Millionaire (voice of Jim Backus), his Wife (voice of Natalie Schafer), the Movie Star (voice of Dawn Wells), the Professor (Russell Johnson) and Mary Ann (voice of Dawn Wells). Now joined by Gilligan’s alien sidekick Bumper, they begin a whole new life on a whole new world, while still trying to repair the now space-worthy SS Minnow and return home from their infinite three hour tour. It’s something old, something new in this Saturday morning cartoon sit-com sci-fi romp!

I can’t imagine why 😉 but this show only lasted for 13 episodes in one season. The episodes are “I Dream of Genie”; “Turnabout Is Fair Play”; “Let Sleeping Minnows Lie”; “Journey to the Center of Gilligan’s Planet”; “Amazing Colossal Gilligan”; “Bumper to Bumper”; “Road to Boom”; “Too Many Gilligans”; “Space Pirates”; “Invaders of the Lost Barque”; “Wings”; “Super Gilligan” & “Gilligan’s Army”. This complete series DVD release is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release and it is available exclusively through Warner’s online store and Amazon.com. So this also means that if you do want this DVD, I would get it quickly since you don’t know how long it is going to be produced for. The episodes looks as good as you would think they would for this lost show. They are presented in their original aspect ratio: 4 X 3 full frame – 1.37:1. There are no additional special features included besides the episodes.

Book Review “The Art of the Films: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes”

Author: Matt Hurwitz
Hardcover: 173 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: July 8, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

When “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was released in 2011, I was very upset when it didn’t have an art of companion book. All the work, all the visual effects that went into that film to make it amazing as it was needed to be shared with the world. Well with the release of “Dawn of Planet of the Apes”, we are now getting an art of book for both of them. The book is a literally amazing from the hard cover to the last page including tons of great production photography and concept art for both films. I absolutely love both of these films and if you do as well, this is a must own.

So it is kind of obvious what the focus of this book would be and that is the creation of the apes. I recently went back and re-watched “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” after seeing Dawn of Planet of the Apes” and if you look at the apes in the first film compared to the second, there has been such an improvement. I thought they looked amazing in “Rise” but “Dawn” really delivered 10x the visual effects. So this book includes some fantastic concept art, production stills, VFX renders and finished frames from these movies showcasing those aspects. You also have to remember that these apes aren’t just CGI effects they included state of the art technology mixed with motion capture performances from some very talented actors.

Aside from the apes creation, there are also tons of great locations that was focused on. From “Rise”, there is the lab, Will’s home, primate shelter and, of course, the Bridge. In “Dawn”, there was a bit more since it takes place 10 years after “Rise” and shows pretty much the wipe out of the human race a very degraded world. I really enjoyed this section quite a bit for sure. Between the apes lair and the human’s hold up in a run down San Francisco, it just shows how much work went into this film. Kudos again to Titan Books for releasing yet another gem and my wife is cursing you for us needing a gigantic coffee table since each book is better than the next.

Film Review “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Starring: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hrs 10 mins
20th Century Fox

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

I’m currently co-authoring a book about the making of movie sequels. Among the earlier ones were the very successful “Planet of the Apes” films. Five in total, they took moviegoers to what they thought was a distant planet, underneath it, back to it and then finally watched the conquest of and the battle for it. Almost three decades after the last film, Tim Burton put his very puzzling stamp on a remake/reboot/reimagining of the original 1968 film. Another decade would pass before Hollywood went back to the well with the very well done “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which did away with the time travel plot and brought the apes to us. Now that we’re all caught up, let’s talk about “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

The time is now. While the genetically evolved apes from the first film, led by Caesar (Serkis, in what should be an award winning performance) occupy the woods mankind, overwhelmed by the ravages of disease now lives in camps that were one time major cities. We find such a group of survivors in what used to be San Francisco. While on an exploration mission outside the city, a group of humans come across two young apes. A standoff occurs, broken when one of the group panics and fires his gun. The ape is only wounded but the shot of the gun brings out a shrewdness of apes (yes, dear readers, if you want to impress your friends tell them that a group of apes is referred to as a “shrewdness), led by Caesar. Caesar still remembers the kindness he received from some humans and brokers a peace between the two factions. This does not sit well with Koba (Toby Kebbell), a fellow ape who longs to battle. He will soon get his wish.

Much darker than “Rise,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” rises and falls on the large shoulders of Andy Serkis. He gives Caesar a quiet dignity and, if possible, almost makes him human in his emotions. He does not want war, even when those around him insist on it. Serkis conveys more with his eyes than many actors do with their words. From the anger or betrayal to the joy of holding his newborn son, Caesar is the strongest and best drawn out character in the film. Serkis is joined by other actors who also bring out the emotions under their computer generated fur. Kebbell is angry and bitter as Koba while Karin Konoval, as the gentle orangutan Maurice (a nice nod to the late Maurice Evans, who appeared in the original 1968 film), is kind and caring. On the human side, Clarke and Keri Russell do well as the leaders of the observation group, as does Kodi Smit-McPhee, as a young man who spends his time sketching his new simian friends. Oldman is a little over the top in his distrust of the furry fellows. Perhaps someone told him that Hollywood is actually a town run by apes.

Visually the film is outstanding. The apes and their world are rendered well as is the inner workings of what is left of the city of San Francisco. As for the 3D…once again it brought nothing to the film but a lot of blurry images in the foreground. I honestly think the process needs to be saved for animated films, where it seems to work the best.

Kansas City’s Planet Comicon Another Huge Success

Despite downtown Kansas City being overrun by Big 12 College Basketball fans, more than 40,000 people, many in costume, filled Bartle Hall to participate in this year’s best in the Midwest gathering, Planet Comicon.

Lured by an unprecedented reunion of cast members from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and first time Planet Comicon appearances by genre’ royalty William Shatner and Lee Majors, fans were treated to an event unrivaled in the Midwest.

Every genre’ of fandom was represented, from celebrity guests to well-known comic artists Film and television fans had the opportunity to meet and greet many of their favorite stars. Besides the incredibly popular Shatner and Majors, such stars as Margot Kidder and John Ratzenberger were on hand. “ST:TNG” fans were in heaven as they had the opportunity to chat with many of the original cast members, including Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Levar Burton and Wil Wheaton. Even more of a treat – an unannounced John DeLancy was also in attendance.

Comic fans had the opportunity to meet legendary artist Neal Adams as well as new-to-the-game Darryl McDaniel, best known for his time with the musical group Run DMC.
With nice weather for the weekend (a sincere rarity this year) many fans were encouraged to attend in costume. Characters from “Star Wars” and comic-book heroes seemed to be the most popular costumed characters, though pretty much every genre’ was well represented.

Photo credit: Dan Lybarger





Win Tickets to Kansas City’s Planet Comicon! [ENDED]

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the annual Kansas City Planet Comicon is by far the best fan convention happening in the Midwest. And this year Media Mikes is offering (5) lucky readers a chance to win two 3-day passes to this years event.

All you have to do is let us know the following: Who is the one person you would like to have the opportunity to meet at a fan convention? (5) random entries will be chosen and the winners will receive (2) 3-day pass tickets. Planet Comicon runs March 14-15, 2014 at Bartle Hall in Kansas City, Missouri. Among the special guests: Lee Majors, John Ratzenberger, Margot Kidder and seven members of the popular series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” including Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes, Gates McFadden and Brent Spiner. Guests on Sunday, March 16th, will also be treated to a rare Midwest appearance by William Shatner, who will not only be greeting his fans but will be moderating a special TREK-tacular “Next Generation” event.

This contest runs through 5:00 pm Sunday, March 9, 2014. Winners will be notified by email and will have their tickets delivered via US Mail.

For more information head over to www.planetcomicon.com

3D Blu-ray Review “Escape from Planet Earth”

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Jane Lynch, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson
Director: Cal Brunker
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Run Time: 90 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
3D: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Escape from Planet Earth” is a movie that came out of nowhere and surprisingly did pretty well.  I couldn’t help but relate it back to past alien CGI animated film “Planet 51″. I wasn’t really drawn in by the trailer but I have to admit, I am a sucker for anything science fiction, animated or not. The film really does have an impressive voice cast including Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, William Shatner, Rob Corddry, George Lopez, Craig Robinson, Sofía Vergara and Jane Lynch. I mean there is a really nice wide array of talent here. But when it comes down to it, this is really a kids film and doesn’t really speak to their parents as much as other kids films try to do.  But kids should enjoy it as it is fun, well animated and did I mention it’s in 3D!

Synopsis: The 3D animated family comedy catapults moviegoers to planet Baab where admired astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population. A master of daring rescues, Scorch pulls off astonishing feats with the quiet aid of his nerdy, by-the-rules brother, Gary (Rob Corddry), head of mission control at BASA. When BASA’s no-nonsense chief Lena (Jessica Alba) informs the brothers of an SOS from a notoriously dangerous planet, Scorch rejects Gary’s warnings and bounds off for yet another exciting mission. But when Scorch finds himself caught in a fiendish trap set by the evil Shanker (William Shatner) it’s up to scrawny, risk-adverse Gary to do the real rescuing. As the interplanetary stakes rise to new heights, Gary is left to save his brother, his planet, his beloved wife Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker) and their adventure hungry son Kip.

This combo pack release is very impressive.  It includes both 2D and 3D presentations of the film, as well as a DVD and UltraViolet digital copy. The 3D on the film is a lot of fun.  There is some great in your face moments and gags that kids will enjoy. The 1080p transfer looks amazing and the colors is very crisp and sharp. The DTS-HD Master Audio  5.1 track really works with the action and the original music by composer Aaron Zigman. The special features are good and work checking out if you enjoyed the film.  There is an audio commentary with Director Cal Brunker, which might not keep the attention of kids but parent could enjoy. “The Making of Escape From Planet Earth” is a nice behind-the-scenes look at the film. There is a few Alternate Takes and Deleted Scenes included.  Lastly there are several Music Featurettes for musicians Delta Rae, Owl City and Cody Simpson.

KC Planet Comicon The Best Ever!

I’ll have to admit I was a little worried when promoter Chris Jackson moved the Kansas City Planet Comicon from it’s familiar Overland Park, Kansas location to the Kansas City Convention Center at Bartle Hall in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. I needn’t have worried. The convention, which was held April 6 and 7, was a major success, establishing Planet Comicon as not only the best annual convention in Kansas City but one of the best in the entire Midwest.

Fans from all over packed the building to meet some of their favorite actors. This was the convention’s best line up of talent ever, led by George Takei, Adam Baldwin, Wil Wheaton and Lindsay Wagner. “Star Wars” fans were greeted by Chewbacca himself, Peter Mayhew, as well as Ray Park, who was so memorable as Darth Maul in “Episode One.” They also had what was sadly one of the last opportunities to meet Richard LeParmentier (Admiral Motti) who passed away earlier this week. Even Corey Dee Williams, son of Billy “Lando Calrissian” Dee Williams, was on hand. The young man shared some great stories of being with his dad during the filming of “Return of the Jedi” and even had a cameo as Klaatu, who ended up in the Sarlac pit when Jabba’s barge was destroyed.

Returning fan favorites included Lee Meriwether, Lou Ferrigno and Adrienne Wilkinson as well as Media Mikes favorites Tom Kane and Blair Butler. The autograph lines moved quickly, though I must say that I never saw the line end at Ray Park’s table. It’s amazing how less than 10 minutes of screen time made such an indelible impact on the fans. If meeting celebs isn’t your thing, there were plenty of dealers selling the very best in comics, toys and paraphernalia. My wife is tickled pink with her talking TED key chain (very “R” rated).

Overall, the convention was a hit, with fans already talking about next year as they were leaving. So am I.

For more information about the Kansas City Planet Comicon: http://planetcomicon.wordpress.com/

Photo credit: Dan Lybarger

George Takei signs for a fan A 70s dream come true: One of the “Mikes” and Lindsay Wagner A chip off the old block: Corey Dee Williams Setting up an interview that would never take place. R.I.P. Richard LeParmentier Just like in years past, fans went all out with their costumes.

Blu-ray Review “Planet Ocean”

Narrator: Josh Duhamel
Directors: Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Michael Pitiot
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Run Time: 93 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When you think of April, one of the most important days of the month each year is Earth Day. I honestly have to give it to BBC Earth and Disneynature for really highlighting this month with wonderful nature documentaries. “Planet Ocean” is released by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Narrating the doc is actor Josh Duhamel (“Transformers” series). It is directed by acclaimed photographer, filmmaker and environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand (“Home”). “Planet Ocean” is visually stunning…plain and simple. It is engaging and really entertaining not just for the nature buffs but for the whole family!

Official Premise: Planet Ocean captures extraordinary images of our remarkable oceans – the source of all life on our planet. Filmed by directors Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot, along with an outstanding team of international underwater cinematographers, in partnership with OMEGA, and with the scientific support of Tara Expeditions, the film aims to explain some of the planet’s greatest natural mysteries, while reinforcing how essential it is that mankind learns to live in harmony with our oceans. Planet Ocean serves as a reminder of the bond between humans and nature, and the duty that exists to protect and respect our planet.

The 1080p transfer and 1.78:1 aspect ratio just looks stunning. This type of film would have looked even better in 3D since it was so well shot. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sounds amazing and really transports you in the film and you feel like you are traveling through the ocean. I usually don’t focus much on the additional languages but this documentary also comes with DTS 5.1 tracks in Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Italian, Japanese and Russian. Very impressive even though I speak non of those languages it is nice and makes this release very marketable.

The special features are quite impressive for this nature documentary. There is are three featurettes inside “The Making of Planet Ocean”, which goes behind-the-scenes in the documentary. The first is “In the Skies Above Rio”. which includes some really stunning images of Rio de Janeiro’s shores. I am a big fan of beautiful photography and this really left me inspired. “Underwater” is next and it looks into the mysteries of the marine life alongside the film’s underwater cinematographers. Lastly, included is “Shanghai”, which packs some really breathtaking aerial photography of the harbor and its significance.

Josh Duhamel Narrates “Planet Ocean” On Blu-Ray and DVD on April 9th

JOIN NARRATOR JOSH DUHAMEL ON AN INSPIRATIONAL VISUAL VOYAGE INTO THE ASTONISHING AND REMARKABLE HEART OF OUR EXISTENCE

PLANET OCEAN

AVAILABLE APRIL 9, 2013 ON BLU-RAY™AND DVD

FROM UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Universal City, California – Directed by highly acclaimed photographer, filmmaker and environmentalist Yann Arthus-Bertrand (Home) and narrated by actor Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Life As We Know It), Planet Ocean is a cinematic adventure that invites viewers of all ages to change the way they look at the ocean and appreciate its greatest natural mystery. Planet Ocean will be available on Blu-ray™ and DVD on April 9, 2013 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Through dazzling aerial and underwater imagery captured in extreme geographical conditions worldwide, Planet Ocean delivers an unprecedented journey into the least known regions of our planet. The stunning documentary aims to captivate as well as provide understanding of humankind’s relationship to the ocean and stress the urgency of making sustainable change. Brought to life with dynamic and relatable narration, this groundbreaking film can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Planet Ocean will be available on Blu-ray™ and DVD.

Blu-ray™ disc unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring perfect hi-def picture and perfect hi-def sound.

DVD offers the flexibility and convenience of playing the movie in more places, both at home and while away.

BONUS FEATURES (BLU-RAY™ and DVD):
· THE MAKING OF PLANET OCEAN
· IN THE SKIES ABOVE RIO: Breathtaking images of Rio de Janeiro’s magnificent shores will inspire you with wonder and delight.
· UNDERWATER: Uncover the natural mysteries of marine life with Planet Ocean’s team of underwater cinematographers.
· SHANGHAI: Extraordinary aerial photography of Shanghai’s busy harbor underscores the significance of ocean commerce.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION – BLU-RAY™:
Street Date: April 9, 2013
Copyright: 2013 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Selection Number: 61126490 / 61126510 (CDN)
Running time: 1 Hour, 33 Minutes
Layers: BD-50
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Rating: Not Rated
Languages/Subtitles: English, Italian, Castilian Spanish, Japanese, Brazilian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Latin American Spanish, Norwegian, Russian, and Swedish
Sound: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Complimentary Passes to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex screening of “Forbidden Planet” [ENDED]

For your chance to receive event passes, log on to www.GOFOBO.com/RSVP
Enter RSVP code: MEDIAMKBTC
Saturday October 13, 2012,
Kennedy Space Center, FL
Passes are limited and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Turner Classic Movies and DIRECTV are bringing the Road to Hollywood tour to Florida in celebration of the TCM Classic Film Festival next April in Hollywood. Join TCM host Ben Mankiewicz for a free screening of FORBIDDEN PLANET on Saturday, October 13 at 7:30PM at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Come for a night under the stars – Enjoy free parking, popcorn & soda!

 

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Linda Harrison reflects on her role in 1968’s “Planet of the Apes”

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with actress Linda Harrison. Ms. Harrison is best known in the Pop Culture world for her work in the first two Planet of the Apes films as well as Ron Howard’s Cocoon and its sequel. She is also a fountain of behind-the-scenes knowledge thanks to her marriage to Oscar-winning producer Richard Zanuck. Ms. Harrison was also originally slated to play the role of the police chief’s wife in Jaws. As Mr. Zanuck relates on the extended behind-the-scenes version found on the Jaws boxed laser disc set, Ms. Harrison was offered the role. However, Universal Studios president Sid Shienberg had offered the part to his wife, actress Lorraine Gary. According to Mr. Zanuck, to smooth things out, Shienberg picked up the telephone and called the producer of the upcoming film Airport 1975, William Frye. “Bill,” Shienberg said, “you’ve got another passenger on your airplane.”

Born in Maryland, Ms. Harrison was the first runner-up in the 1965 Miss USA pageant. In November of that year, she signed a seven year deal with 20th Century Fox. Her television debut came in back-to-back episodes of Batman in 1966. She was then cast as Nova in Planet of the Apes and its sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes. She has also appeared in the above-mentioned Airport 1975 (she is billed as “Augusta Summerland”), Cocoon, Cocoon: the Return, and had a cameo in Tim Burton’s updated version of Planet of the Apes.

Now divorced from Zanuck, she is the proud mother of two sons, Harrison Zanuck and DeanZanuck, who both work in the film industry. Interested fans are encouraged to check out her web site, www.LindaHarrison.com. Still as strikingly beautiful in person, Ms. Harrison sat down with me at the recent Planet Comicon in Kansas City.

Mike Smith: It’s been our four decades since the original Planet of the Apes was released. Did you ever think while filming that you were creating something that would be, and still is, regarded as a true classic?
Linda Harrison: I think somewhere in my mind I may have thought that. I saw it as an unusual film and went on from there to do other things.

MS: Including the recent Apes film, in which both you and Charlton Heston have a cameo, you’ve appeared in 6 major films. Heston is in 4 of them. Coincidence?
LH: I know. It’s just incredible how much I’ve worked with him. Things just seem to fall that way.

MS: If Beneath the Planet of the Apes had ended on a happy note, with everyone alive, who do you think Nova would have ended up with: Taylor (Heston) or Brent (James Franciscus)?
LH: Taylor! (laughs) No hesitation!

MS: Are there any outtakes of you laughing hysterically when Heston goes into his “you maniacs!” speech at the end of Planet of the Apes?
LH: (laughs) No, I don’t think I laughed hysterically. It was a pretty, I won’t say somber set, but we were dealing in new territory that had never been done on film. So everybody was really at attention, wondering what the next shot was going to be. It was pretty unusual to be sitting there with apes!

MS: My favorite film is Jaws. I was so taken by the film and the performances that I ended up starting Roy Scheider’s official fan club and helped run Richard Dreyfuss’s. Had Sid Sheinberg not outranked Dick Zanuck, you would have been bombarded with mail from me YEARS ago! Did you know from reading the script that Jaws wasgoing to be special?
LH: I remember when Dick was reading the galleys (which is basically the book before it’s published) that he had a really great instinct that this would be a great picture. He knew it would be tough trying to make a 25 foot shark, but he pulled it off. It’s that really classic horror film that still surprises and scares you (mimics a shriek) when you’re not expecting it.

MS: Please tell me that had you done Jaws you would have passed on Jaws: the Revenge?
LH: Oh, sure!

MS: So, what are you doing now?
LH: Actually I’m now what they call a convention celebrity. I try to do one show a month, some do more. I’m also concentrating on my web site.

MS: Are the fans very receptive?
LH: Very. More then I ever imagined.

 

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