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PUBLICITY — "NANCY DREW — DETECTIVE"
Bonita Granville Heroine of New Adventure Series
Beginning a new Warner Bros. series based upon the exploits of the heroine of the enormously popular Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene, ‘‘Nancy Drew— Detective” opens at the Strand Theatre today with Bonita Granville in the title role and Frankie Thomas as Ted Nickerson, her favorite boy friend.
The plot of the first picture in the new series, devised by Kenneth Gamet, is a typical mixture of the exciting melodrama and adolescent humor that have made the Nancy Drew books so successful.
Nancy’s first exploit as a motion picture heroine is the rescue from the hands of kidnapers of a wealthy old spinster who has disappeared the day after she announced a gift of $250,000 to Nancy’s school. In solving the mysterious disappearance, young Miss Drew has the courageous and clever assistance of Ted.
The youngsters make use of carrier pigeons, an airplane, an old X-ray machine which Ted cleverly converts into a wireless sending set, and Nancy herself even resorts to gunplay when she and Ted are in what looks like a mighty tough spot.
If Nancy’s salvation had depended upon her gunplay, however, the result might have been tragic, for she shuts her eyes before turning the gun in the general direction of the thugs who have captured her and Ted as they were aiding the kidnaped old woman to escape from the kidnapers’ hide-out. The police arrive in response to the signals sent out on the X-Ray machine.
The cast headed by Bonita and Frankie include John Litel, James Stephenson, Frank Orth, Renie Riano, Helena Phillips Evans, Charles Trowbridge and Dick Purcell. William Clemens directed.
Litel Came to See, Stayed, Conquered
It just happened, that at the age of twenty six, John Litel found himself an actor on the stage, playing in a company with Grace George in “Captain Brass Bound Conversion,” by George Bernard Shaw.
He cannot recall how it happened, nor can he recall any youthful ambition or desire to pursue an acting career.
His stage career just happened. Litel has played in almost every important stock company and city in the United States.
His entrance into pictures was brought about through the good offices of the casting director for Warner Bros. First National studios. Litel came to California to John Litel see his Mat 101 — 15¢ mother, stayed and conquered. He accepted a small part in Warner Bros. production, “Fugitive in the Sky.” His excellent performance in “Midnight Court,” and “Marked Woman,” gained him a_ contract with Warner Bros. His greatest roles have been as Charpentjer in “Emile Zola,” and in the Academy Awarding short, “Give Me Liberty,” and latest “The Declaration of Independence.”
GIVING HIM AN EARFUL—“You listen to me”’—or words to that effect seems to be the advice Bonita Granville is giving Frankie Thomas in a scene from “Nancy Drew — Detective” which opens at the Strand on Friday.
Mat 202 — 30c¢
“Nancy Drew--Detective”’ First
Of New Series At Strand Friday
Bonita Granville, John Litel, James Stephenson and Frankie Thomas play leading roles
First picture in what bids fair to be a highly popular series, “Nancy Drew—Detective” comes to the Strand Theatre next Friday with Bonita Granville in the title role and Frankie Thomas, talented youngster from the New York stage, as her boy friend and ‘Watson.’
The new series is based upon the exploits and adventures of the heroine of the Nancy Drew stories by Carolyn Keene, a succession of novels which are probably the favorite reading matter today of both girls and boys of the adolescent age.
In this first picture and in all those to come, every effort has been made and will continue to be made to reflect faithfully the spirit of venturesome youth which is so characteristic of the Nancy Drew books. And in Bonita Granville, the producers feel they have a little actress who will fully realize the ideal of the
central character which the readers of the books have pictured in their imaginations.
“Nancy Drew — Detective,” the screen play of which was prepared by Kenneth Gamet, is concerned with the heroine’s successful solving of the kidnaping of a wealthy old spinster who mysteriously disappeared the day after she announced a gift of $250,000 to the girls’ school which Nancy attends. In _ her quest of and eventual rescue of the old lady, Nancy is given valiant—and smart— assistance by her boy friend, Ted Nickerson.
They discover the hide-out where the old woman is being kept prisoner by going aloft in a plane and finding out where an automobile they know to be the kidnap car has gone.
Nancy disguises herself as an old woman and her boy friend, Ted, attires himself as a nurse,
Visitor’s New Hat Used in Scene
With the anticipation and regard most men have for such things, Director William Clemens carefully planned a scene for “Nancy Drew—Detective’”’ in which the ridiculous little hats of the day are more or less gently kidded.
This scene of the Warner Bros. picture now at the Strand Theatre, is in an exclusive girls school, and in it Bonita Granville, the center of an admiring circle of schoolmates, is trying on one of the tiny, ultra-fashionable creations. Vera Lewis, as the school principal, enters and halts in shocked amazement at sight of the hat.
“Miss Drew,” she says sternly, “T expect the young ladies of Brinwood to wear proper hats on their heads and not party favors.”
“So far so good, but the hat isn’t funny enough,” said Director Clemens, halting the rehearsal. He looked around, saw an even funnier looking hat on a set chair and put it on Bonita. That hat belonged to Mrs. Clemens, who was visiting the set.
“TOUGH TO BE 16" —BONITA GRANVILLE
Mat 103 — 15¢
Bonita Granville, whose latest Warner Bros. picture, “Nancy Drew—Detective,” is playing at the Strand Theatre, confesses that it’s difficult to be sixteen.
So many decisions must be made when one is only half grown up. Among the major problems are how much lipstick a girl should use, how late she should stay out, and what kind of boys to go with.
and, having meanwhile found out the secret password, they get into the supposed sanitarium which is really the kidnapers’ hide-out.
They are escaping with the kidnaped woman when they are discovered by the kidnapers and thrown into a basement storeroom, for the kidnapers decide to hold them also for ransom. In the storeroom the kids find an old X-Ray machine, which Ted rigs up as a wireless set. With it he causes interference with radios for miles around and manages to send out an appeal for help which is picked up by the police, who rush to the sanitarium.
In the cast, besides Bonita and Frankie, are John Litel, James Stephenson, Frank Orth, Renie Riano, Helena Phillips Evans, Charles Trowbridge, Dick Purcell and Tommy Bupp. The production was directed by William Clemens.
“Set Still” Was Order-So She Did
Helena Phillips Evans has picked up a thing or two about the stage during a lifetime as a star and writer.
One day the noted character actress posed for a still photograph with Bonita Granville and Frankie Thomas on the set of “Nancy Drew — Detective,” the Warner Bros. picture which is now showing at the Strand.
The prop man asked the still photographer to make a set still, and Bonita and Frankie immediately left the set. Mrs. Evans calmly remained in her chair. A set still is a photograph of a set without actors and is made to show the exact location of set properties so the prop man may refer to it in dressing the set for future scenes.
“Set still!” shouted the still man and the prop man repeatedly but still Mrs. Evans remained in her chair.
“Let’s get it over with,” she finally said with petulant patience, “I am sitting still!”
She bought soft drinks for the company when the misunderstanding was explained to her.
Frankie Thomas Is ‘deal’ Boy Friend For American Girls
It should be easy to find a boy friend for Bonita Granville. Anybody who knows her would think that all she’d have to do would be to crook her pretty little finger and the boys would come flocking.
In real life, the boys do come flocking when Bonita beckons. But the Warner Brothers casting department searched for a solid month for a young man to be Bonita’s boy friend in the Nancy Drew series of pictures, the first of which, “Nancy Drew—Detective,” comes to the Strand Theatre next Friday. Bonita plays Nancy Drew, a typical sixteen year old girl, who drives a car, uses lipstick and rouge, has her own spending money, and a boy friend.
Mrs. Granville could not be more careful in superintending her daughter’s choice of friends than was Steve Trilling, head of Warners’ casting department. Some of the specifications for Bonita’s screen boy friend were that he must be only three or four inches taller than she, his voice must have attained its mature timbre, he must be a “big appler” of no mean terpsichorean ability, and he must have stopped growing.
This last was for the movie fan’s benefit, rather than Bonita’s. Nancy Drew will be the leading character of a series of pictures, Her boy friend, consequently, will be seen on the screen over a year’s period, at the very least, and it would be confusing to the film public if he were to spring up into a 6 foot giant between pictures.
Finally chosen for the part was Frankie Thomas, new in Hollywood but a veteran of the New York stage. He is only four inches taller than Bonita. His voice has an adult alto quality. He can “big apple” with the best of them. Whether or not he has stopped growing is still a question. The studio hopes he has.
Detective Favors Youthful Sleuths
Children are the world’s best detectives.
Authority for that statement is Blayney Matthews, former chief investigator for the Los Angeles district attorney’s office and now head of the police department at. the Warner Bros. Studio.
As an extra-curricular duty he served as technical advisor on “Nancy Drew—Detective,” first of a Warner Bros. series of picturizations of the popular books by Carolyn Keene, with Bonita Granville in the title role, which opens next Friday at the Strand Theatre.
“Children are keener observers than adults,” Matthews says. “They have almost photographic minds, observing the most minute details of events they witness. Most children have exceptionally retentive memories, remembering clearly things that interest them, even though exasperated parents sometimes think they are rattlebrained and forgetful.
“Adults have many problems and worries burdening their mental processes to hinder their powers of observation, but children are not burdened in this manner. As a consequence, the evidence and testimony of children often has been invaluable in the apprehension and conviction of criminals.
“T am heartily in accord with the filming of the ‘Nancy Drew’ stories because they ring true and represent a typical American girl in a true-to-life role.”
JOG TTT a BEE