Many moons prior to his holding office as 40th President of the United States, being elected as Governor of California or establishing the classic phrase “I don’t recall” into the national lexicon, Ronald Wilson Reagan was an actor. Granted, he wasn’t a very good actor (see: Death Valley Days) — not by today’s standards, at least (and some feel the same way about his status as Head of Government, as well) — but, as the quintessential b-movie leading man of the ‘30s and ‘40s, ol’ Ronnie turned the heads of many a lass and inspired American men and boys of all ages to proudly support their country.
Wait, what? Actors stirring some sort of patriotic enthusiasm out of their audiences? Yeah, we really don’t see that sort of thing anymore like we did with the Silver Screen stars of from the Greatest or Silent Generations, do we? Well, we do every once in a while, but they’re usually sitting with people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Alas, we are not here to mete out any feelings some of us may hold towards maniacal conservative talk-show shock-jocks with verbal diarrhea and incurable folly; we’re here to take a gander at a couple of old Ronald Reagan movies from World War II — long before the words “patriotism” and “extremism” became so confounded with each other.
And, honestly folks, I’m not trying to make fun of Ronnie here. Really.
Now then, during the ‘30s and ‘40s, Hollywood concocted many a strewn franchise about cowboys, detectives, and even secret agents. A few of such now-legendary characters have gone down in the Annals of Cinematic History, while many others were simply swept under the Red Carpet over the years for being nothing more than cheapo b-movies. Which brings us to a guy known as “Brass Bancroft of the Secret Service.” While this character isn’t as noteworthy in the Chronicles of Moving Pictures as someone like, say, "Hopalong Cassidy" (or even "Holt of the Secret Service," for that matter), he isn’t quite as easily forgotten as Bill Elliott’s legacy as “Wild Bill Saunders.”
And, to make sure we don’t forget about Brass and his celluloid exploits, Warner Bros has put together a Manufactured-On-Demand DVD(-R) release of Brass Bancroft Of The Secret Service Mysteries Collection, a series of four quickie movies that were based on several real life accounts accumulated by former Secret Service Chief W.H. Moran, and which played on the bottom end of a Saturday Matinee double feature. All four films were made by Warner Brothers, starred the great Ronald Reagan as our dashing hero, and served as starring vehicles for the actor.