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  • In 1975, my Saturday mornings became a little more apocalyptic with the addition of "Return to the Planet of the Apes" to my cartoon lineup. I was young, but had seen all of the movies and the live-action television series, so I remember really looking forward to a continuation of the story. Thirty-seven years on my only remaining impression of the show is a vague confusion over the technology.
    I believe the timeline of the Ape universe is basically humans evolve to become the dominant species on the planet, they develop technology to the point of space travel genetic engineering, then destroy their civilization in a nuclear war. They are succeeded by their pets/slaves, the gengineered simians. I was fine with that. I was kind of cynical at 12 and felt it was time for humans to step down and let someone else take a stab at it. If it be the apes, that too was fine with me. I was all about monkeys and apes. The bank on my dresser was a big plastic gorilla. I had a sock monkey hanging in my closet. I envied Tarzan the company he kept. In short, bring on the apes!
    But, and this was the crux of my disconnect with the cartoon, give them their own technology, or let them continue where we left off. If the apes succeed us in open revolt, they would have access to whatever technology we leave behind. The future depicted in the movies showed sleek cars and high rise buildings. I'm cool with the new masters of the earth eschewing these on religious or philosophical grounds. But why go retro?
    The apes in the cartoon were shown driving around in cars, but not the cars that would have been left behind by an advanced human civilization capable of sending astronauts to the stars or launching planet-busters. The apes apparently combed the museums and car clubs of the area for their vehicles. At one point gorillas are seen driving around in what appears to be a 1936 Mercedes Benz convertible. The Icarus (Charlton Heston's spaceship) launched in 1972, so gorillas in an AMC Gremlin would have made more sense.
    This weekend I went to the mall to get a new gym bag. There in the parking lot I saw the above and it brought back all of the confusion I felt with the Apes cartoon. But then I noticed something. Looking around the parking lot I didn't see any AMC Gremlins. Maybe the apes had to go back to a period when cars were built to last longer than five years. Maybe I was unjust to the creators of the cartoon. Maybe it's time to unburden myself of this 37-year grudge.
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