USS Angeles visits planet of the apes (and cowboys)

David Westbay explores the Rock Pool, a Malibu Creek State Park filming site for “Logan’s Run” (1976), “Planet of the Apes” (1968) and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969). (Photos by Dave Mason)
USS Angeles members and a guest gather at Malibu Creek State Park. From left are Lisa Sobien, Jan Sobien, Sue Lee, Pat and David Westbay, Kat Campbell and Jennifer Pesqueira.
This rock wall was featured in “Planet of the Apes.”
Great views grace Malibu Creek State Park.
Lisa Sobien strikes a pose at the park.
A door from a M*A*S*H” ambulance is displayed outside the park’s Visitors Center.
A spectacular view graces Malibu Creek State Park.
A Boy Scout troop takes a steep hike to a water tower at the park.
Taylor (Charlton Heston) swam in this rock pool in the “Planet of the Apes.”
A sign shows the distance to the “M*A*S*H” site.

By Fleet Capt. Dave Mason

MALIBU — We found the Planet of the Apes, the planet from “Logan’s Run,” the planet of the Old West.

And the planet of the 4077.

Malibu Creek State Park has been all this and more in a hundred years of movies and TV, everything from “M*A*S*H” to “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

USS Angeles members explored the park Nov. 2.

Kat Campbell, Jennifer Pesqueira, David and Pat Westbay, Lisa Sobien, Jan Sobin, Sue Lee and I started the afternoon with lunch by the parking lot, then hiked a short distance to the Visitors Center. That’s where we saw a video showing the movies made there. Films varied from “Mr. Blandings Built His Dream House” (1948), starring Cary Grant, to “Love Me Tender” (1956) with Elvis Presley. We also saw photos and movie posters and learned the many films at the park included the 1966 “Batman” movie.

We learned the bridge we walked across had been in movies, as well as the Visitors Center itself. And we saw a door from a “M*A*S*H” ambulance.

The large park was land formerly owned by 20th Century Fox. It was later donated and became Malibu State Creek Park, but filming has continued.

After our stop there, Jan stayed to continue to enjoy the Visitors Center while Lisa and Sue walked to the nearby Rock Pool. At the same time, Kat, David, Pat, Jennifer and I found dramatic views as we hiked uphill toward the “M*A*S*H” filming site. That’s where helicopters landed against the hills of Korea in the opening credits during the Johnny Mandel song “Suicide Is Painless.”

We found it was too late in the day to complete the 2-mile hike to the “M*A*S*H” site. We decided to return, but vowed to complete the hike to the site another day this winter. Stay tuned for details.

On this day, we left Korea to find Sanctuary, the “Logan’s Run” locale, at the Rock Pool.

Some kids were wading and swimming in the Rock Pool, but we stayed on dry ground and looked at the filming site. Besides “Logan’s Run,” this site is where the astronaut Taylor (Charlton Heston) swam in “Planet of the Apes” (1968). This also was where Paul Newman and Robert Redford jumped off a cliff and landed in the water as a posse chased them in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969).

The site is known for a waterfall in movies, but Kat noted the waterfalls were artificial creations made specifically for films.

On our way back to the parking lot, we encountered other hikers, including an adventurous group of Boy Scouts making a steep hike toward a water tower. The men advising them told us that they were happy to leave the difficult hike to the kids.

We had a great time as we walked past dramatic trees and sunlight stressing the colors of what could be the Old West or a wild future.

Hmm. There’s no telling what we might see when we return soon to Malibu Creek State Park. There might be a helicopter! Right, Radar?

Dave Mason

Commanding Officer, USS Angeles NCC-71840