Booth Colman is a film, television and stage actor who, in 1974, played the role of Dr. Zaius in the popular short-lived TV series, Planet of the Apes. The role had been made famous on the big screen by his former teacher, Maurice Evans. In the six episodes he appeared in, he even wore the same costume that Evans wore in the movies The Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
"The full make-up took quite a bit of getting used to. Frank Westmore made me up every morning, and it took three hours. I had to be in his chair at 5 a.m. to be ready on set at 8 a.m., with a very short interval for breakfast, before they had the lower half of my face to deal with."
In the series, Dr. Zaius was the highest ranking member of the High Council of Central City in the year 3085. He knew of the potential of humans and would stop at nothing to maintain the status quo. The young chimpanzee Galen (Roddy McDowall) became his new assistant, but became a fugitive with two human astronauts Peter Burke (James Naughton) and Alan Virdon (Ron Harper), fleeing from Zaius and his enforcer, General Urko (Mark Lenard), who wished to question the astronauts in order to prevent more following them.
"It was a real shame. My makeup guru, Frank Westmore, told me that we were going to be cancelled. Had the stories been better written and the characters developed, we could have had a three-year run. But the stories didn't have the imagination or quality necessary to sustain viewers. One could only cope with the dialogue, develop a personality for the character, hit your mark and hope it looked believable."
Planet of the Apes finished the 1974-75 season ranked 67th out of 84 shows; the most expensive (and lowest-rated) CBS series of the year except for Khan - a crime drama that finished 80th and, ironically, had replaced Apes, lasting just four episodes.