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"Dennis the Menace" San Diego Safari (1962)

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good start, then got rather silly

4/10
Author: FlushingCaps from United States
7 February 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Mitchells and Wilsons are about to take a trip to San Diego, said to be a two day drive there, and two days back. The mission is to pick up a chimp from the San Diego Zoo. The unnamed town they live in has assigned Wilson to carry out this mission.

They stop at a motel before getting to the zoo and the sensitive innkeeper is greatly put off by Dennis' gerbil because animals with fur all make him sneeze. He is fine with them leaving it in the car overnight.

The next day the group tours the zoo, with lots of real shots of them walking around in the actual San Diego Zoo. I was surprised to see the entrance look somewhat like I remember from my trip there in 2005. The best laughs here are with John Wilson showing off his knowledge of animals, with the tour guide having to correct him on almost every fact.

Then they return to the motel with the chimp. They plan to keep him in the trailer in his cage, but he goes ape--sorry-he makes lots of noise whenever left alone. So, despite the innkeeper eagerly keeping an eye on everything, they try to smuggle him into Wilson's room.

This motel manager spends far too much time trying to check up on everything, knocking on doors repeatedly, insisting on looking around the room, even rushing into the bathroom when he thought the chimp might be in there--there could have been a person. Every time someone goes from one room to another, the manager is coming back to find out what is going on--as if travelers never visit the motel rooms of their traveling companions. He was alarmed without reason for much of the episode.

The chimp escapes out the bathroom door and goes into the motel office, where, surprisingly, the manager discovers he's not allergic to this animal at all. So all is right and the show is over.

I enjoyed the first part, but the endless going in and out of the two motel rooms, with the manager never far away just lost me. I was thinking, if his only objection was that the pets make him sneeze, why is it a problem for them to be in the room? Surely he has housekeepers to clean the rooms. Even small motels in the 60s did not normally see the desk clerk cleaning the rooms. I thought the handling of the chimp to move him into the rooms was clumsy.

The biggest turnoff was when they had placed him in Dennis' old clothes and Alice came out of the bathroom and saw the chimp. She screamed--attracting the attention of the motel manager. She wasn't afraid of the chimp and I don't think it realistic that seeing him in the room would make her scream. Later, Eloise also screamed on seeing the chimp in her room.

The last half of this episode just seemed really dumb to me and not really funny at all. This is one of few episodes so far--I'm almost done going through the whole series--that I think I might skip the next time I go through the series, provided I remember.

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