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Bush Attends Planet
of the Apes Reunion

President, Heston trade barbs about their walk-on parts in the new movie remake.

Bush "chimps it up" with Charleton Heston and Rodey McDowell at the 38th Annual Reunion for the cast of the original "Planet of the Apes."

By Starita Jones

A relaxed President Bush attended the 38th annual reunion for the cast of the original "Planet of the Apes" movie. Held this year on the expansive Northern California ranch of fellow cast member Charleton Heston, the President reminisced about his role in the original 1967 classic sci-fi thriller. "I was only 19 at the time, and was looking for something to do during the summer break other than snort coke and drink beer. I applied to be an extra and they just loved me because I didn't need a lot of makeup."

"We'd all be in the makeup tent for hours and Dubya, whom we nicknamed 'Smirky' at the time, would stand around complaining about how he'd been ready to start for hours."

Mr. Bush did express some disappointment at being cast as a chimp instead of a gorilla. "I wanted to play one of those gorilla generals, but had to settle for playing both the stunt double for Rodey McDowel [left] and the chimp who swept and hosed out the human cages in the scene where Heston screams out, 'It's a mad house.'"

Heston, seen on the right shaking hands with former General and Secretary of State Alexander Haig, at times walked around the gathering wearing a huge NRA button and carrying an AK-47. He joked frequently with the president about those unforgettable times they spent together on the "Apes" set. "We'd all be in the makeup tent for hours and Dubya, whom we nicknamed 'Smirky' at the time, would stand around complaining about how he'd been ready to start for hours."

Heston's Chimpophobia
Not to be outdone, Bush needled Heston about his neurotic fear of monkies. "The first day I walked on the set, Charlie ran off and climbed a tree screaming about how they were 'putting too much makeup on those god damn apes.' He was being such a baby, especially since I hadn't even been to the make-up tent yet."

Perhaps the funniest story of the night came from former child star Rodey McDowell, who played a chimp scientist named Cornelius. "We had some real chimps in cages near the set so actors could study their mannerisms and behaviors to make things more realistic. Smirky liked hanging out there, and one day he fell asleep with a can of beer in his hand and the keepers thought he'd escaped and locked him up for the night. We found him in the morning fending off the advances from the resident alpha male. It was the first and only time I didn't see a smirk on Dubya's face."

Both the president and Heston also appeared in brief walk-on roles in the remake of "Apes." In a virtual cameo role, Heston played a pro-NRA ape who exclaims, "Guns don't kill people, apes do." The president also got a cameo-type role, playing a chimp leader [right] bent on the destruction of the entire human race.   



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