Two of my pop culture obsessions are Star Trek and the Planet of the Apes series. In a just world there would be Apes conventions around the world just like there are ones for Trek… but, alas, the world does not share my love for the Apes franchise.(Though, to be fair, the newest Apes films have been rousing successes and was well received by audiences).
There is a key nexus point between the two “universes”, an actor who played a pivotal role on both the Star Trek and Apes TV series. That actor is Mark Lenard, who played Spock’s father Sarek (as well as a Romulan AND a Klingon – the only actor to have ever done so) on Star Trek. He also played the Gorilla Urko on the short -lived Planet of the Apes TV series. An interview with the actor was published in Planet of the Apes magazine, and it is a great conversation about the work he had done on both series, as well as the burgeoning Star Trek fandom that was just beginning to take off (the interview was published in 1973).
There’s another reason the interview was so good – it was conducted by Chris Claremont, who comic readers better know as the writer who made the New X-Men a huge success (The Planet of the Apes magazine was published by Marvel Comics, and he was an editorial assistant at this time).
I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Lenard before he passed away, and he was an utter gentleman… and you can see his kindness reflected in many of his responses. Here is the full interview, in PDF form.