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June 23, 1985|KEVIN THOMAS

In Going Ape (NBC Sunday at 9 p.m.) the humans act more like a bunch of baboons than the simians. In this numskull 1981 comedy, Tony Danza inherits $5 million from his circus-owner father with the provision that he keep three prized orangutans for at least five years and that no harm come to them. Not surprisingly, there are numerous people who would profit from Danza's failure; you can take it from there--or better yet, leave it.

There is no hint that The Concorde: Airport '79 (ABC Sunday at 8 p.m.) is meant to be a spoof, but this silly movie certainly is funny. Alain Delon and George Kennedy pilot the supersonic airplane, and Robert Wagner is the deranged scientist who menaces the jet in flight.

The Sunday 6 p.m. offerings are more promising. Sam Peckinpah's lively, amoral The Getaway with Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw airs on Channel 5, while the stagy though pleasurable Conduct Unbecoming, a highly theatrical mystery set in British India, 1878, airs on Channel 9. Michael York and Richard Attenborough head a starry cast.

In the amiable (though overly long and overly complicated) Chisum (Channel 7 Monday at 9 p.m.) John Wayne scores a victory for law and order for the umpteenth time. Wayne here was cast as real-life pioneering cattleman John Simpson Chisum, "The King of the Pecos," who takes on crafty bad guy Forrest Tucker. Also involved in this 1970 Western is Pat Garrett (Glenn Corbett, who makes the famed lawman likably quaint). Earlier Monday, at 8 p.m. on Channel 5, James Stewart and Henry Fonda star in the downbeat Firecreek, which launches a week of Westerns on Channel 5.

Linda Gray stars in the 1982 TV movie Not in Front of the Children (CBS Tuesday at 9 p.m.), playing a divorced mother who must fight for the right to keep her children after she decides to live with a younger man (John Getz). Her disapproving ex-husband is played by John Lithgow.

The 1982 TV movie Marian Rose White repeats Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBS. Nancy Cartwright (who is better than the script) has the title role as a normal teen-ager who was dumped at age 9 by her mother in a home for the feebleminded.

The TV movie Midas Valley (ABC Thursday at 8 p.m.), which apparently refers to Silicon Valley, tells about a microelectronic revolution and those involved in bringing it about. Linda Purl, Jean Simmons and Robert Stack are among its many stars.

Take Your Best Shot, a 1982 TV movie written by William Link and Richard Levinson and repeating Friday on CBS at 9 p.m., may have a few contrived moments but offers a quite darkly realistic look at a good actor (well played by Robert Urich) caught up in the soul-withering routine of trying to make it in Hollywood.

The Valachi Papers (Channel 9 Saturday at 10 p.m.) reduces Peter Maas' engrossing best seller about the famous Mafia stool pigeon into two hours of relentless tedium, interrupted occasionally by savage violence. Charles Bronson is highly creditable as Joseph Valachi, even though he's as sinewy as the actual gangster was paunchy. But long before Bronson's exceptionally powerful final moments, this large-scale but shoddy 1972 production has been done in by Stephen Geller's flat, murky script with its thick slices of undigested exposition and by Terence Young's pedestrian direction.

Selected pay/cable evening fare: Beat Street (Cinemax at 8 Sunday and Saturday, Z at 7 Saturday); Five Graves to Cairo (WGN Sunday at 9:30); The Party (Movie Channel Monday at 6); Splendor in the Grass (WTBS Monday at 6); Mon Oncle (Z Monday at 7); The Lady in Red (Cinemax Monday at 8); Real Life (Movie Channel Monday at 8); All Fall Down (Cinemax Tuesday at 6); Americana (Movie Channel Tuesday at 6:30); Angelo My Love (SelecTV Tuesday at 7:30); Viva Zapata! (WGN Tuesday at 9:30); D.C. Cab (Cinemax Wednesday at 8); The Natural (HBO Wednesday at 8); Never Say Never Again (ON and SelecTV Wednesday at 9:30); You Can't Take It With You (ON and SelecTV Thursday at 7); The James Dean Story (Z Thursday at 7:30); Q (HBO Thursday at 8); One Trick Pony (Movie Channel Thursday at 8); Cluny Brown (Movie Channel Saturday at 7); Jackson County Jail (WGN Saturday at 8:30); 8 1/2 (A&E Saturday at 5 and 9).

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