Planet of the Apes: It’s Colorforms Fun!

Cforms_POTA_post_Header02

Colorforms were a cheap activity toy and were commonly given as birthday gifts from friends so I had this PLANET OF THE APES set at least a couple of times during my childhood. I got to play with quite a number of different Colorforms sets throughout my youth in the 1970s but only a few stand out in my memory, the PLANET OF THE APES set being one of them. It stood out, not for anything gimmicky or elaborate like some ’70s Colorforms sets, but simply because it was a cartoon rendition of a great film franchise that I saw on the ABC-TV 4:30 MOVIE during their annual “Ape Week” airings. But this was not a movie tie-in merchandise item. It was for something else APES related that came and went without barely a notice. For a clue, take a look at the set’s box lid…

Flattened box lid for the PLANET OF THE APES Colorforms set.

Flattened box lid for the PLANET OF THE APES Colorforms set.

“GO APE…OVER THE CHARACTERS FROM THIS EXCITING NEW TV SERIES-”

This was a toy tie-in with a POTA TV series! The popularity of the original PLANET OF THE APES movie from 1968 carried well into the 1970s thanks to regularly produced sequels and now a TV series too. Surprisingly it was a short-lived series, lasting only one season in 1974. In fact, here’s all 14 episodes all at once…

Contrary to what the box lid declares, the odd thing is that there aren’t any direct characters from the 1974 TV series portrayed in this Colorforms set, other than the generic gorilla soldier or two. Here, take a look at the set’s pieces (this is an incomplete set in my collection but all the main pieces are here)…

PLANET OF THE APES Colorforms set booklet.

PLANET OF THE APES Colorforms set booklet.

POTA Colorforms set- short tray: seem to be missing a set of orange arms there.

POTA Colorforms set- short tray: seem to be missing a set of orange arms there.

POTA Colorforms set- long tray: lots of apes but missing one's arm...oh, and a bird apparently.

POTA Colorforms set- long tray: lots of apes but missing one’s arm…oh, and a bird apparently.

Cforms_POTA_instructions03

Yes, loin-clothed bearded male human, there does indeed seem to be lots of monkey business here. You’d think that the two human lead characters from the TV show would be part of this set instead of two loin-clothed humans that look like Charlton Heston as Taylor and his mute mate, Nova. In fact, all the characters in this set look as if they’re from the original 1968 PLANET OF THE APES movie. Besides, those are clearly Dr. Zaius, Zira and Cornelius as well. Actually, it’s possible this set is based more on the sequel BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970) since the male human piece looks more like James Franciscus than it does Chuck Heston…

Linda Harrison as Nova and James Franciscus as Brent in BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970).

Linda Harrison as Nova and James Franciscus as Brent in BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (1970).

Besides, all the main simian characters seen in BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (Zaius, Cornelius, Zira and a prominent gorilla General Ursus) are all portrayed in this set too.

Cforms_POTA_instructions04

Cforms_POTA_instructions05

The PLANET OF THE APES Colorforms set Backdrop upon which the colored vinyl pieces stick to "like magic". This looks like it could be home to the Apes or the Flintstones, "Yabba dabba get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!"

The PLANET OF THE APES Colorforms set Backdrop upon which the colored vinyl pieces stick to “like magic”. This looks like it could be home to the Apes or the Flintstones, “Yabba dabba get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!”

Even though there’s a PLANET OF THE APES TV series tie-in with this Colorforms set, an actual Colorforms TV commercial featuring this PLANET OF THE APES set wasn’t to be found on the Internet. What is found is this short and delightful contemporary demonstration of the PLANET OF THE APES Colorforms set…

“These sets allow kids to interplay between worlds”?!
Love the idea of mixing up pieces from different sets!
Let’s put that into play and set the stage…

Uhoh! Looks like the gorilla soldiers have Nova and an armless James Franciscus surrounded. General Ursus is riding in for the kill as Dr. Zaius gives yet another diatribe on the evils of Man. Sorry Nova, but it looks like James is disarmed and can’t save you, in fact he looks like he’s ready to bolt out of there. Who will save Nova from these damn, dirty apes?!

POTA_Cforms_mashup01

POW! The Superfriends to the rescue! KLONK! ZAP! SPLAT!

POW! The Superfriends to the rescue! KLONK! ZAP! SPLAT!

Superman swoops in for the rescue…of armless James Franciscus apparently. But no worries, Nova, because Wonder Woman has straddled Dr. Zaius into capitulation, Robin the Boy Wonder seems to have a wrestling hold on the orange gorilla soldier, Batman appears in the nick of time to halt Gen. Ursus by punching his horse “ZAP!!!” and then there’s Aquaman…hurtling fish. Hmm.

Perhaps I’ll dig out all my collected Colorform sets and create an epic mash-up like this one entitled “A Colorforms Party Don’t Stop” found over on the blog, mattandtimfunny

So if you happen to collect vintage Colorforms sets, or just have a couple of sets around, why not create a visual mash-up of your own and GO APE!

Cforms_POTA_post_header

Subscribe to the Retroist Newsletter

* indicates required

2 thoughts on “Planet of the Apes: It’s Colorforms Fun!

  1. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this before – and Vic Sage can confirm – but I loved colorforms, especially the sets with more separate pieces and I had the The Black Hole set. Man, I wish I still had them.

    It looked like Colorforms licensed a TON of properties. Maybe I should start thinking of a Colorforms movie – like Lego. But a retro one?

Comments are closed.