Arnold Laven was an American film and television director and producer. Laven was born in Chicago, moved to Los Angeles with his family in the late 1930s, and got his start in the entertainment business working as a mail room messenger at Warner Bros. During World War II, Laven was assigned to the U.S. Army's 'First Motion Picture Unit', making training films. After the war, he continued to work in the motion picture business, holding jobs as a script supervisor, dialogue director, and film press agent. He worked on such films as The Best Years of Our Lives and Teresa. Co-founding a production company - 'Levy-Gardner-Laven' - Laven directed Without Warning!, Vice Squad (1953, starring Edward G. Robinson), Down Three Dark Streets (1954), The Rack (1956), The Monster That Challenged the World (1957), The Vampire (1957), The Return of Dracula (1958), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Anna Lucasta, Geronimo (1962), The Glory Guys (1965), Rough Night in Jericho (1967) and Sam Whiskey (1968), and produced Clambake (1967), The Scalphunters (1968) and Kansas City Bomber (1972). Laven's company also produced for television, including The Rifleman series (1958 - 1963), which became one of the most successful TV series of the 1960s, Law of the Plainsman and The Big Valley (1965 - 1969). His television directing credits included episodes of The Rifleman, The Big Valley, Mannix and Ironside before he was asked to direct 3 of the 14 episodes of the Planet of the Apes TV series in 1974 - namely "The Trap", "The Surgeon" and "The Liberator".

Apes star Mark Lenard, who played Urko, singled out Laven for particular praise: "I think shows like 'The Trap' came closest to investigating the kind of thing I'd like to see in the show." "It had a good director, Arnold Laven: I like him. He goes to get what’s in the story and he sometimes gets himself in trouble with the people because he takes a little longer, but he goes for the values. And I appreciate it, and I think in the end, that’s what makes the show."[1] Over the following decade, Laven directed dozens more episodes of television series, including The Secrets of Isis, Police Woman, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Rockford Files, Fantasy Island, Eight Is Enough, CHiPs, Hill Street Blues, The Greatest American Hero and The A-Team, before he retired. Arnold Laven died from complications of pneumonia at the Tarzana Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley in September 2009.

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  1. Urko Unleashed, by Chris Claremont - 'Planet of the Apes' UK #22 (22 March 1975)