Ronald Reagan Appears as Lieutenant 'Brass' Bancroft in "Secret Service of the Air"

At the end of the 1930s, Ronald Reagan's career was typical of any second-string studio contract actor––playing supporting roles and bits in top productions, occasionally getting a shot at a more substantial part in a throwaway B movie, dutifully posing for publicity shots and escorting studio-assigned starlets to premieres and night clubs. Just a year after making his first picture at Warner Brothers, he was cast in Brother Rat (1938), a comedy (featuring future first wife Jane Wyman) about the romantic misadventures of three military school cadets.

In this, the premiere entry in the "Brass" Bancroft series (starring the man who would-be President, Ronald Reagan), Brass is seen as an ex-Army pilot who works as a commercial airline pilot. One day he quits his well-paying, safe job to become an agent for the Secret Service. His first assignment is to look into a gang of smugglers who are suspected of sneaking illegal aliens into the US via airplanes. This gang is really bad, and whenever they fear that they will be caught, they simply open their hatches and drop the hapless aliens like so many bombs.