Everyone has that moment in life when they wonder why they're walking around in a monkey suit. For legendary actor Edward G. Robinson that epiphany came in 1966 while shooting a test for The Planet of the Apes movie. Good Serling script, good cast but Robinson didn't really need the paycheck so why the hell was he making it? After a costly divorce in '56, Eddie made a killing in the art collecting racket and walking around choking on orangutan hairs was obviously for schmucks. Before Robinson turned in his ape suit he filmed one makeup test scene with Charlton Heston, James Brolin and Linda Harrison. In the finished movie, Harrison was demoted from smart chimp Zira to grunting sexpot Nova (NO-VA!) and Brolin was replaced by the monkeyriffic Roddy McDowell. The role of the wise orangutan Dr. Zaius was given to Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans who was surprisingly all too eager to don the furry jumpsuit.
Captured for posterity for Edward G. Robinson completists and Planet of the Apes perverts alike, here's the makeup test reel that was shot before Robinson bailed. It's about as dull as an Adam-12 chase scene but at least it's got a certain monkey je ne sais quoi about it. The clip begins with a storyboard pitch to the Fox studio gorillas narrated by all-purpose cult hero Paul Frees. Looks like it's gonna be a good Tuesday.