Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Cornelius And Zira (1977)

The cast and storyline of our own fan film of the seventies, Cornelius And Zira.

Cornelius (David Barclay)

Chimpanzee genius Dr Milo has discovered the ruins of an ancient household deep in the green belt not far from Ape City. Among many other treasures, the ruins contain the bones of a hitherto unknown species of mammal. Milo invites his friends, the animal psychologist Dr Zira and her husband Cornelius, an eminent archaeologist, to visit the site and inspect the fossils. During their visit, Dr Zira stumbles upon an astounding relic – a human skull, wearing spectacles. 

Dr Zira (Jackie Lawrence)

Dr Zaius (Ernest Morris)

Humans don’t wear glasses! They’re animals! This discovery suggests – no, proves – that humans once had some kind of culture, deep in the dark and distant past. Zira alerts Dr Milo, who immediately travels to Ape City to share the artefact with the Minister of Science, Dr Zaius.

Dr Milo (Gary Cook)

Aboro (Frank Seymour)

But unknown to Dr Milo, Zaius has his own agenda. At all costs, this knowledge must not get into the hands of the general populace. So he decides upon a radical solution…

Screen-cap from Dave Barclay's 2012 restoration of Cornelius And Zira: Dr Zaius (Ernest Morris) and Dr Milo (Gary Cook)

Cornelius And Zira was filmed on a Standard 8mm cine camera and made on a shoestring budget by two schoolboys and our friends during 1977. It was the sixth Apes fan film made by Dave Barclay, and the second to feature me (Gary) as Dr Milo. Also joining us for the first time was Jackie Lawrence (actually my kid sister) as Zira (we thought it would look amateurish if there were two cast members with the same surname, hence the stage name). Ernest Morris (Dave really) and Frank Seymour (me) completed the cast.

The story was intended as a bridge between Beneath and Escape, in an attempt to explain how Dr Milo came to restore and resurrect Taylor's sunken spacecraft. Of course this concept has been covered to a more satisfying effect in Drew Gaska's excellent continuation novel Conspiracy Of The Planet Of The Apes, but we got there first.

In the near future I'll be uploading some more material from Cornelius And Zira.

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