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Nancy Drew... Trouble Shooter (1939)

Approved | | Comedy, Mystery | 17 June 1939 (USA)
When a close friend of the Drew family is accused of murder in a rural community, Nancy, aided by boyfriend Ted, helps her lawyer father expose the real killers.


William Clemens


Kenneth Gamet (original screenplay), Mildred Wirt Benson (based on the Nancy Drew stories by) (as Carolyn Keene)


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Complete credited cast:
Bonita Granville ... Nancy Drew
Frankie Thomas ... Ted Nickerson
John Litel ... Carson Drew
Aldrich Bowker ... Matt Brandon
Charlotte Wynters ... Edna Gregory
Edgar Edwards ... 'Chuck' Marley
Renie Riano ... Effie Schneider
Roger Imhof Roger Imhof ... Sheriff Barney Riggs
Erville Alderson ... Clint Griffith
Willie Best ... Apollo Johnson
John Harron ... Greenhouse Clerk
Cliff Saum Cliff Saum ... First Deputy Sheriff
Tom Wilson ... Milt - Second Deputy Sheriff


Nancy Drew clears her Uncle Matt of murder charges when she exposes the real murderers. She and Ted find themselves in many dangerous positions such as trying to fly an airplane after the pilot parachuted out and being face-to-face with the murderer. Written by SM <smortens@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 June 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los apuros de Nancy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The crop-duster airplane used in the film is a Stearman C-3B, registration NC6491. 136 of this variant were built from 1927-29. MSRP was $8,970 (about $130,000 in 2018). See more »


When Nancy and her father get to the house in the country, from the outside the blind on the door covers only part of the top panes of glass. But, in the next shot from inside, it's below the top two panes. Also, from outside the panes are rectangular and from the inside they are square. See more »


Nancy Drew: Oh, Apollo, everybody knows there aren't any ghosts.
Apollo Johnson: Uh-uh. Not everybody.
See more »


Follows Nancy Drew: Detective (1938) See more »


I'm Happy About the Whole Thing
Music by Harry Warren
Played during the ice cream party
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User Reviews

A Great Series
21 March 2007 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

Nancy Drew... Trouble Shooter (1939) was the third in the series of four films about the teenage heroine. All starred Bonita Granville as the title character. But Granville's "Nancy" owes more to the heroines of 1930's screwball comedies than to her literary counterpart. This Nancy alternates between master of deductive reasoning and teenage airhead, causing as many problems as she solves; with nice guy neighbor Ted Nickerson (Frankie Thomas) her comic foil. Granville was extremely expressive and did not seem to mind being shown in unflattering situations (much like Zasu Pitts back then and Miley Cyrus today).

In "Trouble Shooter", Nancy and her attorney father head to the country with their housekeeper to defend old family friend Matt Brandon (Nancy calls him Uncle Matt) from a murder charge. Their escapades include poison ivy, an enraged bull, crop-dusting, a rare flower, Ted's new boat, and a rival for Mr. Drew's affections. Nancy is still crushing on poor Ted-who wanders around with a dazed expression on his face for most of the film.

Willie Best appears as his standard stereotype character, this time named Apollo Johnson. Also known as "Sleep 'n' Eat", in almost all of his films this early black actor encounters a ghost and gives the audience a wide-eyed look of terror. I don't know why people found this repeated gag so funny back then, maybe Hollywood just thought they did and kept using it. At least in "Trouble Shooter" Nancy has the good grace to exhibit the same exaggerated reaction when the ghost appears.

All four films in the Nancy Drew series are surprisingly entertaining and have a lot of charm. "Trouble Shooter" has Nancy at her daffiest. There is more silliness than characterization so I suggest watching at least one of the others first.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

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