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Bonzo Goes to College (1952)

The educated chimp moves in with a college football coach's family.


(as Frederick de Cordova)


(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Clarence B. Gateson
Wilbur Crane
Frank Nelson ...
Lefty Edwards
Ronald Calkins
Judge George Simpkins
Tom Harmon ...
Tom Harmon


In this fantasy-toned sequel, former lab chimp Bonzo, now literate (!), runs away from a carnival sideshow and hops a banana truck. He lands in college town Pawlton and is adopted by the granddaughter of football coach 'Pop' Drew, who sorely needs good players. Obvious but pleasant slapstick follows. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

September 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bonzo Futbolcu  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Referenced in M*A*S*H: L.I.P. (Local Indigenous Personnel) (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

Don't monkey around with smart simians.
4 May 2015 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Somehow after being taken under the wing of Ronald Reagen, that cute chimp Bonzo has ended up in the carnival as "the chimp who can answer any question", running away after his new trainer has admonished him for missing the answer to a question that con-artists provided doctored documents in an effort to scam him. The run away chimp simply crawls into the window of cute tot Gigi Perreau who is thrilled what she believes is a present from her college football coach grandpa (former "Santa Claus" Edmund Gwenn). Gigi's parents (Maureen O'Sullivan and Charles Drake) are convinced to "adopt" him which creates all sorts of confusion with O'Sullivan's wealthy dad (Gene Lockhart) and eventually brings back the con-artists who decide to kidnap Bonzo when Gwenn makes him a football star. Simple story but amusing execution makes this a lot of fun.

The future granny to Ellie Mae's critters (Irene Ryan) is the maid here who is so amused by a chimp's presence in her household that she goes out of her way to give him mashed bananas for breakfast every day, eventually changing to banana fritters. Who can't resist a chimp riding a tricycle? It's also amusing when Bonzo escapes meeting a court judge and jumps on the witness stand in court when an apparent "other man" is called in a divorce case. Lots of cute moments like this pad out the film where it is predictable that the lame-brain con's from the opening segment will turn up again. While Bonzo does steal every scene he's in, he's also equalled in scene-stealing by the two grandfathers and the adorable little girl. Bonzo's also a bit of a wise-acre too, especially when asked who fiddled when Rome burned. This is the type of film that Walt Disney would steal from in the 1960's and 70's for his college themed movies, but somehow, this one seems fresher and much more thought out.

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