Cast & Crew

Brian Penikas Brian Penikas
Gorilla Lieutenant
"Chief Defender of the the Glue and Paint"
Brian Penikas


It was Brian’s interest in monster make-up way back in the early 1970’s that got the whole deal 
(of what eventually became APEMANIA) started. 

During their junior high and high school years, Brian and his friends experimented with make-up effects as well as costume and prop making as a serious after school activity.  Sometimes they even worked the projects into classroom assignments. At some point during the10th or  11th grade, Brian and his friends discovered Doug Wright’s Science Fiction Horror and Fantasy Conventions, and the Merry Monkeytime Players were born!

“For a  shy kid like I was at the time, dressing up with my buddies and ‘Going Ape’ at the conventions was really a way for me to break out of my shell.  Apes running rampant through a nice hotel for a 3 or 4 day holiday weekend (3 times a year) was always great fun.  Unfortunately, for my poor mom’s sanity, it meant that all the months in between the conventions, our house was turned into an ape factory.  My brother Dave and I never believed in doing things on a small scale.  Whenever we would start to plan for a convention, there was always a large group of people involved (12 to 20 on average).  Mom was very supportive, even got involved with some of the lifecasting and sewing, but I’m sure it had to drive her insane at times to come home to zoo of people with every room of the house involved in various stages of ape-production.  God bless her patience!”

When Brian was 12 years old, he had a chance meeting with Oscar winning make-up great William Tuttle (Seven Faces of Dr. Lao).  Tuttle sat him on his knee and said, “Son, if you can draw well and know your anatomy, you’ll be worth your weight in gold in this business!”  Taking his words to heart, Brian went home, drew his “butt off” (as he puts it), and got fat! (Taking Tuttle’s gold comment a bit too literally!)

Since those early ape years, Brian has gone on to a career as a motion picture make-up effects artist.  He currently is Creative Director for a company he helped to create, Make-up & Monsters Studios.  Now in his 21st year “in the biz”, Brian has some hefty film projects on his resume

The resurgence of Planet of the Apes’ popularity over the past severalyears has all but consumed Brian and his Apemania cohorts.  “I still have to sit back and say, ‘What the heck am I doing here?  I'm 40 years old and I'm dressing up like an ape for fun!’  I suppose I could be getting into worse trouble.  It sure has been a thrill to bring the apes back to life again.  I doubt I could ever get tired of people’s reactions to meeting an ape in person.”

When asked what his biggest thrill as an ape has been, Brian replied, “Out of the dozens of events we’ve done to date, I would have to say the John Chambers Birthday Party and the 30th Anniversary Celebration.  Being able to provide an added “live-ape atmosphere” to those two events and to share it all with the original Planet of the Apes team and players, as well as some of my same high school buddies, definitely are cherished ,once-in-a-lifetime, moments.  And I have two of them!  Wow!”

So that’s why APEMANIA.COM is here, not only for Brian and the rest of the group to share the fun and excitement with everyone in cyber-space, but also as yet another way for Brian to sincerely say “ thanx”  to all of the people who made the Planet of the Apes a film reality and for inspiring Brian and other kids like him to pursue creative careers in the motion picture and television industry.

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