Me and the Chimp

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Me and the Chimp
Ted Bessell and Buttons
Created byGarry Marshall
Thomas L. Miller
StarringTed Bessell
Anita Gillette
Scott Kolden
Kami Cotler
ComposerCharles Fox
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Executive producerGarry Marshall
ProducerAlan Rafkin
Running time30 minutes per episode
Production companyParamount Television
Original release
ReleaseJanuary 13 (1972-01-13) –
April 27, 1972 (1972-04-27)

Me and the Chimp is an American sitcom which aired for one season during 1972 on CBS. It was created by Garry Marshall and Thomas L. Miller and produced by Alan Rafkin for Paramount Television.[1]


Mike Reynolds (Ted Bessell) is a dentist who lives with his wife (Anita Gillette), two children (Scott Kolden and Kami Cotler), and a chimpanzee named Buttons, who is a washout from the space program (a fact unknown to Mike and his family until an old army sergeant visits).

Episodes revolve around Buttons' doings or undoings, such as extending the line Mike drew on a map (to mark their driving route) onward to a ghost town, and stealing an alarm clock which gets Mike arrested for public indecency (in his pajamas).



The series was created by Garry Marshall and Thomas L. Miller, both of whom are better known for their later work on Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. Bessell originally refused to participate when the title was first given as the "grammatically incorrect" (sic) "The Chimp and I".[3]

The chimpanzee who portrayed Buttons was owned by veteran animal expert Lou Schumacher and was trained by Bob Rydell who was responsible for teaching the chimpanzee to perform its "acting" tasks on cue by responding to various hand and voice signals.[4]


No.TitleWritten byOriginal air date
1"Mike's Day With Buttons"Garry MarshallJanuary 13, 1972 (1972-01-13)
Mike's life as a dentist becomes more complicated when his daughter brings home a chimpanzee named Buttons.
2"My Pet, The Thief"Garry Marshall & Thomas L. MillerJanuary 20, 1972 (1972-01-20)
Mike fights a losing battle trying to convince his wife and children that they cannot keep Buttons.
3"Mike's Burglar Alarm"Garry Marshall & Thomas L. MillerJanuary 27, 1972 (1972-01-27)
The effort of Mike to train Buttons to ring a bell when a stranger enters the house backfires when a burglar offers Buttons candy.
4"Mike the Matchmaker"Garry Marshall & Thomas MillerFebruary 3, 1972 (1972-02-03)
Buttons meets a female chimpanzee named Mildred that he's attracted to, but when Mike attempts to discuss the situation with the other chimpanzee's owner, he's distracted by the chimpanzee's baby sitter, a beautiful Swedish blonde.
5"Mike's Big Act"Mickey RoseFebruary 17, 1972 (1972-02-17)
Mike reluctantly agrees to use Buttons during his magic act before the PTA, which results in him trying to teach Buttons some entertaining tricks.
6"The Lost Flashlight"Garry Marshall & Thomas L. MillerFebruary 24, 1972 (1972-02-24)
After Buttons loses his flashlight at a drive-in movie theater, the chimpanzee keeps the neighborhood in turmoil while the item is missing.
7"One Romantic Evening"Garry Marshall & Thomas L. MillerMarch 2, 1972 (1972-03-02)
Mike and Liz are all set to celebrate their wedding anniversary along, but Buttons ends up causing havoc while Liz's mother watches the children.
8"Tennis Anyone?"Garry Marshall & Thomas L. MillerMarch 16, 1972 (1972-03-16)
Buttons helps Mike cure a small case of bigotry at the local country club.
9"The Paint Job"Garry Marshall & Thomas L. MillerMarch 23, 1972 (1972-03-23)
The Reynolds are chosen by a paint manufacturer as the ideal family to demonstrate their product on television, but Buttons ends up causing chaos.
10"The Ghost Town"Garry Marshall & Thomas L. MillerMarch 30, 1972 (1972-03-30)
A planned weekend trip to the snow country ends up in a deserted ghost town.
11"Mike's Night-In"Garry Marshall & Thomas MillerApril 6, 1972 (1972-04-06)
The Reynolds family learn that Buttons was once part of the US space program and the government retains ownership. Mike is determined to fight to keep their beloved chimpanzee.
12"Hoop-Lah Gary Nelson"Ron FriedmanApril 13, 1972 (1972-04-13)
After Mike squabbles with his son's basketball coach, he takes over the coaching of the team, which eventually involves Buttons.
13"Liz's Allergy"Garry Marshall & Thomas L. MillerApril 27, 1972 (1972-04-27)
While Mike is out of town at a dentists' convention, Liz develops an allergy that appears to be connected to the presence of Buttons.


TV Guide listed the show at #46 on its 2002 list "The 50 Worst Shows of All Time".[5]


  1. ^ "Me and the Chimp". The Montreal Gazette. January 15, 1972.
  2. ^ "Chimp Tells Of Stardom". Schenectady Gazette. June 10, 1972.
  3. ^ TV Guide. July 20 - 26, 2002. pg. 26.
  4. ^ "Adjusting to life with chimpanzee". The Calgary Herald. January 28, 1972.
  5. ^ TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 180. ISBN 978-0-7624-3007-9.

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