Bedtime for Bonzo is a 1951 comedy film directed by Fred de Cordova, starring Ronald Reagan, Diana Lynn, and Peggy as Bonzo. It revolves around the attempts of the central character, psychology professor Peter Boyd (Ronald Reagan), to teach human morals to a chimpanzee, hoping to solve the “nature versus nurture” question. He hires a woman, Jane Linden (Diana Lynn), to pose as the chimp’s mother while he plays father to it, and uses 1950s-era child rearing techniques.
This movie is one of the most remembered of Reagan’s acting career and renewed his popularity as a movie star for a while. Reagan, however, never even saw the film until 1984.
A sequel was released entitled Bonzo Goes to College (1952), but featured none of the three lead performers from the original. Peggy died in a zoo fire two weeks after the premier of Bedtime for Bonzo; another chimp was hired for the second film whose name really was “Bonzo”. Reagan did not want to work on the second film; he thought the premise was silly.