Adventures of Rusty, The (1945): First in Eight-Film Series about German Shepherd Dog

Paul Burnford directed The Adventures of Rusty, the first in the eight “Rusty” series of children’s adventure films.

The series was made in the 1940s by Columbia with various stories about Rusty, a German shepherd dog.

The film features the famous Ace the Wonder Dog as Rusty in his only appearance in the series.  The dog portraying Rusty changed over the course of the series–Flame was the most frequent character.   Danny’s parents were also portrayed by different actors.

Danny Mitchell (Ted Donaldson), a young boy in Lawtonville, grieves over the loss of his dog. He is also struggling to adjust to his new stepmother, Ann (Margaret Lindsay), and has difficult relationship with his father (Conrad Nagel), who calls on Dr. Banning, a psychiatrist (Addison Richards) for help.

Meanwhile, Danny befriends Rusty, a German shepherd brought to the US from Germany during World War II. Having worked a police dog for the Gestapo, however, Rusty is ill-tempered and Danny struggles to train him.

A subplot involves two Nazi saboteurs (Arno Frey and Eddie Parker) who arrive in Lawtonville, evading the Coast Guard, aiming to blow up an installation, and trying to take Rusty by speaking to him in German.


Ted Donaldson as Danny Mitchell
Margaret Lindsay as Ann Mitchell
Conrad Nagel as Hugh Mitchell
Gloria Holden as Louise Hover
Robert Williams as Will Nelson
Addison Richards as Dr. Banning, Psychiatrist
Arno Frey as Tausig
Eddie Parker as Ehrlich
Ace the Wonder Dog as Rusty


I am grateful to TCM for showing the film on December 4, 2019.