Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Steve Elliott

Dedicated Apes fan Steve Elliott, originally from Michigan, is responsible for these eye-catching and highly original Apes tribute posters. Archives Of The Apes hunted him down and found out what makes him tick... 

How did you first discover the Planet Of The Apes universe?

I saw the original Planet Of The Apes on TV at about age 9, as part of "Ape Week" on the 4 o'clock movie, in my hometown of Monroe, Michigan. I was hooked at a very early age. My dad (not a sci-fi fan) wanted me to change the channel, but I whined until he gave in and let me watch. I'll never forget him saying, "you know that those are just actors in monkey masks, right?" (Of course I knew. Still fascinated by it, though). For Christmas, my dad gave me a Mego Ape Soldier action figure. It was my favorite toy.

What was your opinion of the Tim Burton “re-imagining” and the recent reboot entries Rise and Dawn?

The Tim Burton re-imagining was one of the most hyped experiences and biggest let downs I've ever felt seeing a movie. I was working at a day planner store (I sold calendars, pens, Palm Pilots) in California, at the time the film was being released. My boss allowed me to create an in-store promotion to tie into the movie. I called it "Planner of the Apes". I brought in my collectibles & posters and changed the store into an ape-friendly paradise. The day after I saw the movie, I quietly took down all the ape decor. My boss asked; "no more planner of the apes? Was the movie that bad?" I replied: "I don't want to talk about it." I think that says it all.

One interesting side effect from the Burton movie is that my friends who know I love all things "ape", began finding merchandise from the movie on clearance and sending it to me, as gifts. Because I didn't want to seem rude, I gladly accepted the gifts and still have them, to this day. I have to admit, I did think the make-up & costumes were exceptional. Particularly on the gorillas. But, as far as the movie, thanks.

I love the newest instalments (Rise & Dawn). I think they are a perfect blend of the old-school mythology and new world technology. I love the references to the original films and the 'tweaking' of the timelines. It is appealing to both the classic film fans as well as a whole new generation, who are only now discovering it. My hope is that these new films conclude with a tie-in to the original 1968 film. And it very well could, if they do it right. (Can you tell I have thought about this? Ha, ha.)

What’s your favourite scene or moment from the classic films?

Well, I have a few. Nothing beats the ending of the original film. Greatest ending of all time, in any movie (in my opinion). But, I also love every scene in which General Ursus appears in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and Brent's reaction when he first sees Ape City ("My God, it's a city of...APES!"). I also get chills whenever I watch Caesar's speech at the end of Conquest. So powerful.

Have you ever visited any of the locations from the original movies or TV series?

The day planner store, I mentioned above, was in The Century City Mall, in California. Century City Mall is the shooting location for Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (my favorite of the sequels). On my lunch break, I would often eat a hot dog while standing in the spot where the security guards eventually capture Caesar, under the stairs. I did not choose to work at the planner store because it was the location of the movie but once I knew about it I deliberately put off looking for another job, in order to stay there and bask in the memory of the apes that came before me.

Some other ape-centric points of interest about my obsession:

1. I have a good-sized collection of ape memorabilia, posters, action figures and magazines that I keep in my basement bathroom, which I call my "Bathroom of the Apes". It is a great conversation starter and a thrill for guests who request to see it.

2.  For years, I have been hosting my own ape-themed birthday parties for myself. Affectionately called "Ape-Fest", these parties would begin at noon, on a weekend day, and include a showing of all 5 original films (ending around 10:30 or 11:00 pm). While the classic movies ran on the big screen TV upstairs, the basement was the place to go to see the classic TV series episodes (both animated & live-action). I decorated all rooms in the house with my ape collectibles & posters, I would blare the original film score into the backyard while we grilled burgers and, every year, someone would make banana daiquiris for all who attended.

I also design and distribute Ape-Fest T-shirts as giveaways for all guests (being the Art Director at an athletic apparel company with a screen printing department has its advantages). Ape-Fests have been a semi-annual event at my house since 1995. I am currently planning the next one to coincide with the release of War of the Planet of the Apes next year.

Archives Of The Apes: Steve has asked me to point out as a disclaimer that he doesn't own any of these original images, their copyright is the property of the owners and all these designs are not for any profit. All designs are just for fun. No copyright infringement is intended or should be inferred.

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