Ronald Reagan's Hollywood film career stretched from 1937 to 1964. Popular Reagan movie posters and memorabilia include such titles as Kings Row, The Hasty Heart, Storm Warning, Bedtime for Bonzo and Hellcats of the Navy.
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) made 61 feature/short films during his days as a Hollywood actor. His first movie was Love Is on the Air (1937) and his last The Killers (1964). Reagan later served as the 33rd Governor of California from 1967-75 and the 40th President of the United States from 1981-89.
Ronald Reagan movie memorabilia is very collectible and oftentimes quite affordable. Here are ten popular Ronald Reagan films and an auction report on the posters, lobby cards and other artifacts that promoted these pictures. "Dutch" Reagan returns to Hollywood!
Secret Service of the Air (Warner Bros., 1939)
Ronald Reagan has the starring role of Lieutenant "Brass" Bancroft, an airline pilot recruited by the Secret Service to battle a criminal enterprise who is trafficking in illegal aliens. Filmed from September to October 1938, Secret Service of the Air is strictly a "B" movie thriller, with John Litel, Ila Rhodes, James Stephenson and Eddie Foy Jr. in support. Warner Bros. followed with two sequels, Smashing the Money Ring (1939) and Murder in the Air (1940), with Ronald Reagan reprising his role as the daring "Brass" Bancroft.
Auction results: Two lobby cards (11x14-inches), one of which features Reagan, sold at auction for $345. A movie herald (6x9-inches) fetched a reasonable $21.
Kings Row (Warner Bros., 1942)
In what may be his finest performance, the future prez plays Drake McHugh, the town playboy whose legs are sadistically amputated by the mentally unbalanced Dr. Henry Gordon (Charles Coburn). "Where's the rest of me?" Reagan famously queries, waking up from the anesthesia and spying his missing limbs beneath the covers. Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Betty Field, Claude Rains and Judith Anderson round out the all-star cast.
Auction results: An insert movie poster (14x36-inches) brought $334.60 at auction. A complete set of eight lobby cards, five of which picture Reagan, brought a top bid of $836.50.
Kings Row (1942) lobby card set $836.50
The Hasty Heart (Warner Bros., 1949)
Ronald Reagan appears as Yank, an American soldier recuperating at a British hospital in Burma in 1945. One of his fellow patients is a feisty Scottish corporal named Lachlan "Lachie" MacLachlan (Richard Todd), whose condition is terminal. Patricia Neal plays the compassionate nurse Sister Margaret Parker, with Anthony Nicholls, Howard Crawford, Ralph Michael and John Sherman in solid support.
Auction results: A one sheet poster (27x41-inches) sold at auction for a reasonable $15. A 1950 Belgian poster (14x21.5-inches) brought $35.
The Hasty Heart (1949) one sheet poster $15
Storm Warning (Warner Bros., 1951)
Ronald Reagan stars as Burt Rainey, a courageous district attorney who attempts to prosecute local Klansmen for the murder of an ex-con. Ginger Rogers, Doris Day, Hugh Sanders and Steve Cochran lend able support in this movie in which the Ku Klux Klan is portrayed in a less virulent, watered-down version.
Auction results: A one sheet poster (27x41-inches) brought $22 at auction. A pressbook, containing the film's entire promotional campaign, sold for $20. A complete set of eight lobby cards fetched $45.
Bedtime for Bonzo (Universal, 1951)
In one of his more infamous roles, Ronald Reagan plays second banana to a chimpanzee as college professor Peter Boyd. Bonzo may be the real star in this offbeat comedy in which Professor Reagan tries to prove that environment trumps genealogy in a child's/chimp's development. Diana Lynn, Walter Slezak, Lucille Barkley and Jesse White contribute to the cinematic chaos.
Auction results: A one sheet poster (27x41-inches) and an insert poster (14x36-inches) sold at auction for $334.60 and $262.90, respectively. A lobby card picturing Reagan and Diana Lynn brought $42.
Bedtime for Bonzo (1951) insert movie poster $262.90
The Winning Team (Warner Bros., 1952)
Ronald Reagan portrays Grover Cleveland Alexander, the big league baseball pitcher who overcame his medical problems to become a Hall of Famer. Doris Day plays wife Aimee Alexander, with Frank Lovejoy, Eve Miller, Hugh Sanders and Russ Tamblyn also in the game.
Auction results: A beautiful theater standee brought a top bid of $107.55. A collection of four 8×10 b/w promotional stills sold for $119.50. The actual vintage leather baseball glove used by Ronald Reagan in the movie fetched an astounding $5,078.55 at auction.
Tropic Zone (Paramount, 1953)
Ronald Reagan stars as Dan McCloud, an American adventurer who attempts to save an island banana plantation run by pretty Flanders White (Rhonda Fleming). Estelita Rodriguez, Noah Beery Jr., Grant Winters and John Wengraf appear in "si, senor" support.
Auction results: A one sheet poster (27×41-inches) and an insert poster (14×36-inches) brought $65.73 and $45, respectively, at auction.
Law and Order (Universal, 1953)
Dutch Reagan straps on a six-shooter as Deputy Marshal Frame Johnson, a tough, dedicated Old West lawman who tangles with gunslingers the Durango Kid (Wally Cassell) and Kurt Durling (Preston Foster). Dorothy Malone plays Reagan’s fiancee Jeannie, with Alex Nicol, Ruth Hampton, Russell Johnson, Jack Kelly and Dennis Weaver also on the dusty trail.
Auction results: A half sheet poster (22×28-inches) style B sold at auction for $70. A complete set of eight lobby cards brought a top bid of $119.50.
Hellcats of the Navy (Columbia, 1957)
Ronald Reagan stars as Navy Commander Casey Abbott, who skippers the submarine USS Starfish during World War II. In between missions a romantic triangle develops, with Reagan squaring off with his executive officer Don Landon (Arthur Franz) for the affections of pretty Navy nurse Lt. Helen Blair (Nancy Davis Reagan). Hellcats of the Navy marks the only film in which Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy (they were married in 1952) appeared together.
Auction results: A one sheet poster (27×41-inches) sold for $16 while a complete set of eight lobby cards brought $45 at auction.
Hellcats of the Navy (1957) one sheet poster $16
The Killers (Universal, 1964)
In his Hollywood feature film swan song, Ronald Reagan plays mob boss Jack Browning, who engineers an intricate armored car heist in California. Lee Marvin and Clu Gulager play a pair of sadistic hitmen in this extremely violent crime caper, with John Cassavetes, Angie Dickinson (called "Baby" several times by Reagan), Claude Akins and Norman Fell also on board.
Auction results: A one sheet poster (27×41-inches) hit a top bid of $35 at auction. A complete set of eight lobby cards brought $36 while a beautiful French Grande poster (47×63-inches) fetched $262.90.
Auction Results and Images Source
Heritage Auction Galleries