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I Just Bought Bedtime for Bonzo!


sewhite2000
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I've been purchasing some older movies on DVD at Half Price Books that I'm going to give to my dad for Fathers Day or maybe for his birthday a couple of months later, which would give me extra time to assemble a bigger collection. Anyway, I saw Bedtime for Bonzo for $6 and couldn't resist picking it up. It's a Universal film, and I'm pretty sure it's never aired on TCM. I was in sixth grade when Ronald Reagan became president. I knew he'd been an actor, but there was no Internet then, no easy place to learn about his filmography. The only movies of his anyone ever talked about in those days were Bonzo and Knute Rockne, All-American (maybe once in a blue moon Kings Row would get mentioned). I never had any idea what other films he made until I started watching TCM some 20-plus years later. 

Has anybody seen it? Is it worth watching myself, or should I just pass it along to Dad unopened?

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Take a look.  It's fairly entertaining.  And y'know, although I never had ANY use for Reagan as president, unlike his other political detractors, I never thought he was all that bad of an actor.  As a kid, I liked many of his movies. And BTW---

My advice is given as objectively as possible, as I'd also advise that YOU decide and discover if YOU like a movie or not, and don't listen too much to other people's opinions and take it as a direction to follow.  ;)

Sepiatone

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Yeah, BEDTIME FOR BONZO is a fun romp of a movie if you like that sort of thing (I do!). I'd put it in a category with Hope/Crosby type movies, that silly sort of entertainment.

Do you know Bonzo died while traveling in a circus near Erie PA? (S)he is buried there in an animal cemetery. When you see a chimpanzee small enough to pick up, they're still a juvenile-a full grown chimpanzee is as big as a human, like 200 lbs. The tip off is a pinky flesh face. Adult chimp faces turn black as they mature. (I used to work in a zoo)

Chimpanzee_Family.jpg

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1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

My advice is given as objectively as possible, as I'd also advise that YOU decide and discover if YOU like a movie or not, and don't listen too much to other people's opinions and take it as a direction to follow.  ;)

I do! Mainly, I was just trying to generate some conversation among my fellow posters.

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For those who are not of a certain age, I will explain that my earliest recollection of Bedtime for Bonzo was as a running joke on The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson invoking the title whenever he wanted to poke fun at his producer Fred de Cordova (who was also the director of the film).  That just seems way too long ago now.

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3 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

For those who are not of a certain age, I will explain that my earliest recollection of Bedtime for Bonzo was as a running joke on The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson invoking the title whenever he wanted to poke fun at his producer Fred de Cordova (who was also the director of the film).  That just seems way too long ago now.

Son of a gun. Your post sent me scurrying to the DVD box, and yep, there's de Cordova's name. Well, the Tonight Show is probably almost certainly where I first heard Bonzo mentioned, as well. And Johnny probably really went into overdrive in mentioning once Reagan became president.

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3 hours ago, TopBilled said:

There's a sequel called BONZO GOES TO COLLEGE which doesn't have Reagan in it, but it's also just as amusing. So if you and your dad enjoy the first one, you might want to hunt down a copy of the second one.

Thanks. I thought I'd heard of that title, but I didn't see it in Reagan's imdb resume, so I wasn't sure if it was a real movie or just my imagination. I didn't realize he wasn't in it.

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6 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Yeah, BEDTIME FOR BONZO is a fun romp of a movie if you like that sort of thing (I do!). I'd put it in a category with Hope/Crosby type movies, that silly sort of entertainment.

Do you know Bonzo died while traveling in a circus near Erie PA? (S)he is buried there in an animal cemetery. When you see a chimpanzee small enough to pick up, they're still a juvenile-a full grown chimpanzee is as big as a human, like 200 lbs. The tip off is a pinky flesh face. Adult chimp faces turn black as they mature. (I used to work in a zoo)

Chimpanzee_Family.jpg

How sad. Circus life is no fun for an animal.

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18 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Has anybody seen it? Is it worth watching myself, or should I just pass it along to Dad unopened?

It's....okay.  It was a lot FUNNIER back in the 80's, when the idea that a president once had funny movies (or reality-TV shows) was rollicking political satire in itself, and every political cartoon showed Pres. Ronnie with a chimp--But young B-actor Reagan had a personable charm, he's game enough, and you could do worse for B-comedy.

For the first four years, everywhere you went on local stations, it was either Bonzo, or "The Killers", until the FCC had to step in and classify it as "presidential" viewing requiring equal time, and that shut up most of the 80's snickering.

If it's worth watching for anything, it's for Walter Slezak filling in a role clearly written for S.Z. Sakall.

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