He has driven a chariot, rowed in a slave galley, even parted the Red Sea. But "physically, Planet of the Apes was the most arduous thing I've ever done," says Charlton Heston, 73. "In the first place, I was all but naked through the whole thing, thrashing through the bushes," explains the actor, recalling the 1968 sci-fi classic. "I was fire-hosed and dragged and choked and whipped and caught in a net and held upside down and all kinds of fun things. Had rocks thrown at me. And, I'll point out to you, even rubber rocks hurt."
Ah, sweet memories. On Sept. 6, you can see Heston get bonked, mauled and pawed all over again as American Movie Classics reruns Planet and its four sequels in a 30th-anniversary marathon, starting at 9 a.m. ET—along with a first-run behind-the-scenes documentary (at 5:30 p.m. ET). As rough as he had it, says Heston (who returned briefly in the first Apes sequel), "it was really terribly unpleasant for the people playing the apes." Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans had to sweat 12 hours a day inside thick latex makeup. Which posed a problem during Heston's kissing scene with Hunter in Planet. "It was very, very curious," he says. "You're a long way from the inside of her mouth—about 3½ inches." At least his own anatomy was genuine. As Heston undraped for a nude scene, a coffee girl on the set quipped, "Hmmm, nice buns."