Forget what you've been led to believe: Bedtime for Bonzo is a most enjoyable film, and Ronald Reagan is not outacted by the chimpanzee. Reagan is cast as psychology professor whose reputation is sullied by the fact that his father was a convict. To prove that environment rather than heredity dictates a man's personality, Reagan uses Bonzo the chimp to test out his theories. The hairy little guy seems to be responding to the kindnesses lavished upon him--and then he is accused of robbery. Reagan nearly goes to jail in Bonzo's stead, but everything turns out all right in the end (we're not giving anything away; after all, everybody knows that there was a Bonzo Goes to College in 1952). While it's an uphill climb, Ronald Reagan and his able costars Diana Lynn and Walter Slezak manage to keep Bonzo from running away with the picture. And yes, director Fred DeCordova is the same guy who produced Johnny Carson's late-night show in the 1980s and 1990s.
by Hal Erickson synopsis