The spaceship Ventura, with its crew of three astronauts, plunges through a time warp as it returns to Earth from a deep space mission to find the whereabouts of a lost expedition (which was itself launched to search for Taylor’s crew). Though it still lands on Earth, its crew has arrived nearly two millennia after they expected to return. The world is now ruled by intelligent apes, and a heated debate rages over whether human beings are dangerous to the dominant ape species, or if they can be preserved as harmless pets. Astronauts Hudson, Franklin and Carter find a settlement of humans, but these humans are primitive at best. The contrast between the native humans and the astronauts attracts the attention of the new rulers of Earth, who consider a more modern human race a threat to their existence, and they set out to capture the three astronauts.
Voice Cast: Tom Williams (Bill Hudson), Claudette Nevins (Judy Franklin), Austin Stoker (Jeff Carter), Henry Corden (Dr. Cornelius), Tress MacNeille (Dr. Zira), Henry Corden (General Urko)
Notes: It’s nearly impossible to reconcile Return To The Planet Of The Apes with either the movies that started the saga, or the short-lived live-action series that attempted to continue it. It’s probably wisest to view Return as a retelling of the Apes saga for a younger audience, rather than any kind of continuation. The depiction of humans at a stone-age level, the inclusion of Cornelius, Zira and Dr. Zaius, and the mentions of Brent and Nova from Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, are appropriated from the films, but the apes in Return have far more advanced technology, including motorized vehicles and television. The character of General Urko is borrowed from the live-action television series, again serving as a persistent nemesis for the humans. The exterior of the three-person Ventura is represented by artwork of the single-seater Mercury capsules of the 1960s, rather than a depiction that’s anywhere near the vehicles seen in the Apes movies or live-action TV series; the design of the American space shuttle was finalized by the time Return To The Planet Of The Apes went into production, but wasn’t used.
LogBook entry by Earl Green