A former member of the Dapto Apes Appreciation Society is thrilled life is imitating art and a new film in the Hollywood franchise is being filmed where he once envisaged. Associate Professor Tony Moore works in media and historical studies at Monash University and admits he sometimes uses anecdotes in lectures from his love for Planet of the Apes. Read more: Hoodoo Gurus 'waltz in', save the day after Barnesy pulls out of Wollongong gig "Popular culture as we know can stir children into interests, and television was a big one for me but so was cinema and comic books," he said. "I do credit the imaginative, quite radical science fiction social critique underpinning the Planet of the Apes films with directing me into film and media practice and research. "It also politicised me, as it offered a progressive perspective for me on turbulent political events and issues of the 1970s." Moore and his friends once roamed around the Illawarra in latex ape masks searching for locations suitable for one of the movies - and now the latest instalment (Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes) is currently being made in Yellow Rock, near Albion Park. "It's like we premeditated on this for many, many years just imagining and finding locations in Dapto and in Port Kembla ... and here Hollywood has followed in our footsteps," Moore said. "It's good karma." The Kingdom film has been spotted at the Helensburgh glow worm tunnels and the lush green hills of Yellow Rock in recent months. Read more: The South Coast couple getting you up close and personal with whales, seals At a time when he "could've been underage drinking" Moore said he wasn't, instead he was frolicking around the Illawarra with his mates re-enacting scenes from the original Apes films of the '60s and '70s, and running a profitable enterprise. "As 13 to 14-year-old boys, we would dress up as the characters and re-enact scenes from the film, perhaps in some of the same sites the new film is being made," Moore said. "We were likewise obsessed with [chimpanzee expert] Jane Goodall, and hoped to become primatologists imitating her work observing chimpanzees in equatorial Africa." His fascination with Planet of the Apes began when at primary school age, a child intrigued by science, who saw a trailer for one of the Apes movies at the cinema. "The makeup looked so real and I was just a little kid," Moore said. He later had the privilege of watching Escape from the Planet of the Apes, twice in fact, as he loved it so much. "I went to Wollongong by myself from Port Kembla to see that film ... my mother let me see it a second time as long as she didn't have to go too," he said. "That led to a pretty full-blown fandom." By the time he progressed to Kanahooka High School he had found others from his tribe: "nerds, absolute nerds". And so was born the DAAS. The Apes franchise had branched out to more movies, a television show, magazines and much merchandise - though some items were hard to come by in Australia. A dress-maker once crafted a "Cornelius" outfit for Moore, while his other DAAS comrades also had costumes. The fascination continued, with Moore reading up on stage makeup and creating moulds of people's faces to produce latex masks. "The first time I did it I didn't do it very well, I used Plaster of Paris, and it nearly suffocated the poor guy," he said. Eventually he worked it out and was able to create a sculpted ape mould from a replica of his own face while also persuading his high school to chip in a third of costs to buy the latex. "We were selling these masks at school and splitting the money with the school as a fundraising venture," Moore said. "So it was making us entrepreneurs." Sadly Moore sculpted his last ape mask at the end of year 9, as his friends became interested in girls or joining bands, but his excitement for science fiction and pop culture didn't end there. The DAAS morphed into a photography club, then into a movie club and then pushed Moore in the direction of becoming a television producer and eventually an academic. As for the 21st Century releases in the Apes franchise, Moore is still a fan. "They have been really high quality and like and and and don't take the audience for fools; most of them are in sign language with some titles," he said. "As with the original Planet of the Apes with ideas of class race and nuclear war, these ones have likewise had the race issue but also meddling science going wrong - they're just fun." The DAAS remains embedded in his heart. Secretly perhaps, Moore hopes publicising his past life may get him a spot in the new movie. We've made it a whole lot easier for you to have your say. Our new comment platform requires only one log-in to access articles and to join the discussion on the Illawarra Mercury website. Find out how to register so you can enjoy civil, friendly and engaging discussions. Sign up for a subscription here.