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Hero in the Family 

A teenage son of an astronaut tries to help his father after he and a chimpanzee switch brains as the result of a space flight mis-hap in which the boy must protect the "chimp" in which his... See full summary »


Mel Damski
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Collet ... Benjamin Reed
Cliff De Young ... Digger Reed
Annabeth Gish ... Jessie
Darleen Carr ... Lisa Reed
Keith Dorman ... Ralph
David Wohl ... Loudon
M. Emmet Walsh ... General Presser
Jay Brazeau ... Zoo Guard
Bernard Cuffling ... Galleria Manager
Don S. Davis ... Capcom
Bill Dow ... NASA Technician
Deryl Hayes ... Security Man
Max Martini ... Student Council Pres (as Max Margolin)
Alicia Michelle Alicia Michelle ... Buffy
Stephen E. Miller ... Security Man


A teenage son of an astronaut tries to help his father after he and a chimpanzee switch brains as the result of a space flight mis-hap in which the boy must protect the "chimp" in which his father and is unable to communicate with anyone vocally, plus his father with the chimp's mind from the military personnel and anyone else. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

28 September 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A mi házi hősünk See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Zoo Guard: [Ben and Jessie have broke into the zoo to free Digger, whose mind is trapped in Orville the monkey's body. The Zoo guard has heard noises from the monkey pens and come to investigate] Awwww, what's the matter? We have a little bad dweam? You scared of wild animals? Tough luck! Go to sleep!
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User Reviews

Original Fun !
27 April 2009 | by elshikh4See all my reviews

I think I'm indebted for this movie since I was a kid. It got me so wonderful time to the extent that I don't ever forget its loveliness even after 20 years of the first watching (strange that not many channels air it).

First of all it's an early, so smart, example for a Body Swap movie. I'm quite fond of this kind of imaginary comedies that filled the 1980s. Actually (Freaky Friday - 1976) sort of began it. Then this movie came out – as I knew lately – on precisely 28 September 1986. Even before "Magic Saturday", an episode of "Amazing Stories" with a Body Swap story, that was aired on 6 October of the same year. As after that, and right in the next year, the explosion started with (Like Father Like Son - 1987), (Big - 1988), (Vice Versa - 1988), (18 Again! - 1988), and (Dream a Little Dream - 1989). Simply (Hero in the Family) is way better than a lot of these movies.

This time, and this time only, we have a man (an astronaut) who unintentionally swaps his body with a chimpanzee's brain, and the chimpanzee.. well you must figure it out! There are movies where the human lead finds himself in a body of a dog (Oh! Heavenly Dog - 1980), old man (Heaven Can Wait - 1978), a dumb guy (Innerspace - 1987), or a woman (Switch - 1991)! But never with a chimpanzee before.

Moreover, I believe this condition of double interchange between man and animal was unprecedented in movies till this time. As all what we've got before was works like (The Shaggy Dog - 1959) where a boy changes into a sheepdog and back again; which's nothing but funny take on (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) basically.

So it's original, and when it comes to making comic action it's fantastic. The pace was thrilling; you'll never forget the last 10 minutes I can promise you that. I love this script; it enjoyed us with several situations and mastered an unforgettable climatic sequence. I only hated when the boy didn't tell his friend about the chimp's fact unless very late.

All the cast was so good and jovial; (Cliff De Young), (Annabeth Gish), or even (Emmet Walsh) as General "Presser", and of course the talented chimp (This one can drive motorcycles pretty well !). (Mel Damski)'s direction was flawless; he was nominated for an Emmy more than once, nominated for an Academy Award for a best documentary in 1998, let alone that he directed countless TV shows suffice to say that 2 of them are ones of my favorites : (Dolphin Cove) and (Early Edition).

Overall, this movie is so cinematic TV one, it has a spree childish spirit all over it. There is a certain, nearly anonymous, magic about the 1980s' movies; where the fantasy meets the comedy meets the action so innocently and cleverly (maybe it's E.T's effect).

Anyway, I thank god that our national second channel used to air (HITF) at the afternoon of the Fridays - our weekly vacation - to be one of the most perfect movies ever aired in this timing or maybe was made for it !. It's a shame that it has been nominated for Primetime Emmy and didn't win, and it's even more shame to find, after 23 years of its production, just couple of reviews about it here on the IMDb, obviously it's a precursor and a Hero among the Body Swap flicks, however sorrowfully few who perceive that !

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