Planet Of The Apes: The Series

Planet Of The Apes: The SeriesThe most unexpected Planet Of The Apes soundtrack of all is this compilation of music from the franchise’s brief extension in live-action TV. Though the series boasted some segments worthy of the Apes brand of storytelling, it’s often ignored by more serious afficionados of the original film series because it doesn’t try very hard to adhere to the movies’ timeline. What the TV series had going for it was lavish location filming, Roddy McDowall again donning the makeup of a sympathetic ape, and what was actually a fairly effective music library.

With the rules of television scoring being different in the ’70s, not every episode of the Apes TV series got its own score; many of its installments were “tracked” from this music written for early episodes. Lalo Schifrin also composed the oppressive, guttural main theme, so his scores tended to quote that theme frequently, providing some unity. The episodes scores by Schifrin were less adventurous than, say, the same composer’s globe-style-trotting music for Mission: Impossible, but he wisely leans in favor of “aping” the brutal, occasionally dissonant sound established by the first movie’s groundbreaking Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack. With a smaller ensemble at his disposal, Schifrin makes the best use of his orchestral resources: there’s more brass than strings here, and he can’t hope to match Goldsmith’s wall of violent unconventional percussion. What he manages to pull off with that smaller orchestra is impressive.

Some of the better cues are the wrap-everything-up-on-a-less-hopeless-note final scenes from Schifrin’s scores. “Your World”, from the series pilot, is the musical epitome of “cautiously optimistic,” while “A Beginning” (the final cue of the show’s second hour, The Gladiators) is less certain in its feel-good send-off (and was used to close out many of the series’ installments). The Gladiators score also provides a showcase for what Schifrin was able to do with his more modest percussion section.

Another early episode score, The Legacy, was composed by guest musician Earle Hagen, and it’s distinctly different from Schifrin’s music. Less in-your-face pessimistic than Schifrin’s scores, Hagen’s music is more typical of mid 1970s drama scoring for American TV. Cues like The Soldiers demonstrate an attempt to mesh with the Schifrin scores, but most of the music is subtler and more mysterious, befitting the episode’s race to preserve a hologram which promises to be a storehouse of human scientific knowledge. Hagen went on to compose other scores for the series, ultimately providing almost a third of the show’s scores versus the two-thirds either scored by Schifrin or tracked from episodes previously scored by Schifrin.

The last score – incidentally closing out the first four episodes of the show – sees Schifrin return with a more robust percussion ensemble, and resuming the use of music that complements his main theme nicely. A few cues (the opening moments of “Riding For Urko” in particular) see Schifrin confidently stepping right up to the territory mapped out by Goldsmith’s score for the first Apes movie. 4 out of 4This score truly belongs in the Apes musical pantheon.

And so does the TV soundtrack as a whole. More obscure than even the later film sequels, the TV series suffered from a malady common to early ’70s TV science fiction – namely having well-worn plots from westerns or The Fugitive grafted onto the Planet Of The Apes backstory – but the music is one of the better things about the show, consistently reminding the audience of the stakes in play, even if the scripts didn’t make this quite so clear.

Order this CD

  1. Main Title (1:15)

    Escape From Tomorrow by Lalo Schifrin

  2. The Spaceship (2:38)
  3. Apes (2:48)
  4. The Warp (2:03)
  5. Urko and Galen (4:05)
  6. Prison Guard (1:58)
  7. Jail Break (3:32)
  8. Your World (1:58)

    The Gladiators by Lalo Schifrin

  9. Jason (1:11)
  10. Fighting (2:14)
  11. Barlow (1:50)
  12. Trouble (2:25)
  13. Into the Arena (2:47)
  14. There Will Be Death (0:53)
  15. Humans versus Apes (2:34)
  16. A Beginning (2:32)

    The Legacy by Earle Hagen

  17. Into the Ruined City (2:28)
  18. The Machine (0:50)
  19. The Soldiers (2:30)
  20. The Key (1:25)
  21. Verdon and the Kid (1:10)
  22. The Family (1:56)
  23. The Reward (2:25)
  24. Knowledge Hunts (3:13)
  25. Farewell (0:38)

    The Good Seed by Lalo Schifrin

  26. Riding for Urko (1:48)
  27. Travel Without Stars (3:18)
  28. Attack (3:18)
  29. Bonded Humans (2:26)
  30. Next String (2:27)
  31. End Credits (1:59)

Released by: Intrada
Release date: 2005
Total running time: 68:34