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The stories in each movie were based on the lives of an all-American family called the Bumsteads: Dagwood the father, Blondie the mother, Alexander the adorable son (Baby Dumpling in the early years), Cookie the younger daughter, and of course Daisy the wonder dog. Daisy was so intelligent she could almost talk. She did the most incredible tricks. On one occasion she even cried with real human-like tears. The interplay between her and Baby Dumpling was priceless.
Blondie (played by Penny Singleton) was the beautiful, neighborly housewife who wore the pants in the household; which was a rarity on film in those days. She was often seen going to Dagwood's office at the JC Dithers Contruction Company to either ask for a raise for her husband, or to get his job back. Dagwood usually got fired about 2 times an episode.
Blondie was extremely jealous. Anytime Dagwood was out with a female client she would become overly suspicious- especially in one segment where he befriends future, movie-star beauty Rita Hayworth.
The main character, however, was not Blondie, but instead her lovable, bumbling idiot husband, Dagwood. Dagwood (played by Arthur Lake) was always getting into trouble with either Blondie or his boss JC Dithers. He was best known for building those double-decker sandwich monstrosities that no human being could possibly get his mouth around. His funniest traits, though, were his mannerisms: the way he always shook his head saying no when Mr. Dithers would blame him for something; or the way he always opened his mouth real wide, lifting his finger to say something of importance only to come out with an "HUH?" when he realized he had no idea what was really going on. Arthur Lake loved his role as Dagwood so much in fact that he once remarked how he wished he could play the role forever.
The funniest segments from each episode were running gags where the poor mailman came to the Bumstead's front yard to bring the mail. Dagwood would always be eating breakfast and then look at his watch, jump up and yell, "I'm late!" He'd quickly gobble down some burnt toast, chug some coffee, and head full throttle towards the front door where Blondie and the kids would be waiting for him with his hat. Daisy and her offspring would be barking madly, while Dagwood kept running out through the door, and then 'POW' right into the mailman. All you could see were hundreds of letters flying through the air, while the dazed carrier was left flattened on the front steps. Over the years, the mailman devised new ways to miss Dagwood in the morning. It didn't make a difference though because he always managed to get creamed. Once he tried to deliver mail at the side window- only to have Dagwood accidentally blow him down with a firecracker. He even got a new route on the other side of town and Dagwood still managed to bowl him over. The odd time Dag would miss the mailman, so instead, Blondie or Alexander would do some ploughing of their own. The best was when Dagwood bought a horse for his boss, and it too sent the mailman flying- to which he replied in a daze, "I could have sworn I just got hit by a horse!" When he bent over to pick up the mail all you could see were the horseshoe marks on the back of his uniform.
The movie series and comic strip were very popular, so when the show moved to CBS radio in 1939, it was also a hit. Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton kept their roles there too. The radio show lasted almost as long as the movie series and ended in 1950. Mr. Lake got to keep the role in another Blondie reprise on CBS TV in 1957 with Blondie played by Pamela Britton. Unfortunately the show only lasted for nine months before being canceled. Arthur's wish to play Dagwood forever had come to an end for him at age 52.
After all these years, Blondie still has a special place in many a heart. Penny Singleton, who became active in the American Guild of Variety Artists, passed away in Nov. 2003 at age 95. Still, the films live on- thanks to King Features, who own the rights, and who also set the Blondie theme song to music in the 1960's.
The Blondie Theme Song and Photos are on Youtube at this link here.
The Blondie Writing Formula:
The Blondie series was heartwarming and unforgettable; so much so that it lasted for 28 installments. This was due, not only to the hilarity in each, and the perfect actor choices (Arthur was born to play Dagwood), but for something that many forget to mention: the writing formula. Although there were about ten different writers over the years, and three separate directors, they had stumbled upon a writing formula that was tailor-made for the entire series.
This often-used formula by the Blondie writers was a style that brought in usually around four separate idea threads (at different times) that would merge together at the end of each for a finale that hit the smile muscles fast and hard. It was as if every Blondie movie was written by the same person. It's a formula, I must admit, that I have never seen used in film at any time in history. I was always blown away with the way they pulled it off- all in the usual span of only 70 minutes. Hats off to Richard Flournoy who wrote the earliest episodes, and to all those who followed in his footsteps: Karen Dewolf, Connie Lee, Edward Bernds, Jack Henley and all the rest. Thank-you for putting a smile on my face and for making me wax with nostalgia for this series!
To get the best idea of what I am talking about: check out "Blondie in the Dough", which had the most threaded, complex plot of any of the Blondie films. This one was written by Arthur Marx and the screenplay was by Jack Henley.
MY LIST OF THE BEST BLONDIE FILMS: To order them on DVD check the links below
1- Blondie Goes to College (1942- written by Bruckman, Wilson and Breslow)
2- Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939-written by Chapin, Dewolf and Flournoy))
3- Blondie in Society (1941- written by Griffin and Dewolf)
4- Leave it to Blondie (1945- written by Lee)
5- Blondie Meets the Boss (1939- written by Riper and Flournoy)
6- Blondie for Victory (1942- written by Kanin, Dewolf and Lee)
7- Blondie in the Dough (1947- written by Marx and Henley)
8- It's a Great Life (1943- written by Lee and Dewolf)
9- Blondie Plays Cupid (1940- written by Brown, Dewolf and Flournoy)
10- Blondie's Secret (1948- written by Henley)
11- Blondie Knows Best (1946- written by Bernds and Martin)
12- Blondie's Lucky Day (1946- written by Lee)
13- Blondie Takes a Vacation (1939- written by Chapin, Dewolf and Flournoy)
14- Blondie's Blessed Event (1942- written by Flournoy, Dewolf and Lee)
15- Life With Blondie (1945- written by Lee)
16- Blondie's Reward (1948- written by Bernds)
17- Blondie (1938-written by Flournoy)
18- Blondie's Big Moment (1947- written by Lee)
19- Blondie Goes Latin (1941- written by Martin, Dewolf and Flournoy)
20- Blondie's Big Deal (1949- written by Lucille Henley)
21- Blondie on a Budget (1940- written by Brown and Flournoy)
22- Blondie's Hero (1950- written by Henley)
23- Blondie Hits the Jackpot (1949- written by Henley)
24- Blondie's Anniversary (1947- written by Henley)
25- Footlight Glamour (1943- written by Lee and Dewolf)
26- Blondie's Holiday (1947- written by Lee)
27- Blondie Has Servant Trouble (1940- written by Duffy and Flournoy)
28- Beware of Blondie (1950- written by Henley)
For biographies of all the actors who appeared in the films go to the very bottom of this page.
To order any other movies or videos click this link
Blondie (Lunchbox Edition) [DVD] DVD
To order Blondie in VHS format click the Amazon link in the middle below. If you would like to download all the Blondie movies go back to the link at the top of this page.
Packaged in a collectible tin lunchbox, this three-disc set includes "Blondie" (1938), "Blondie Meets the Boss" (1939), "Blondie Takes a Vacation" (1939), "Blondie Brings Up Baby" (1939), "Blondie on a Budget" (1940), "Blondie Has Servant Trouble" (1940), "Blondie Plays Cupid" (1940), "Blondie Goes Latin" (1941), "Blondie in Society" (1941), "Blondie Goes to College" (1942), and the Shirley Temple classic "The Little Princess" (1939).
Blondie (Lunchbox Edition) [DVD] DVD
Blondie, Vol. 1 [DVD] DVD
Blondie, Vols. 1 & 2 [DVD]
Two-disc collector's set includes "Blondie, Vol. 1" and "Blondie, Vol. 2."
The Bowery Boys Scrapbook [VHS] VHS
The best of the Bowery Boys, AKA Dead End Kids, AKA the East Side Kids. Whatever their names, Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey, Gabriel Dell, Bobby Jordan, et al. were comedic champions whose slapstick, streetwise antics will leave you laughing. 60 min.
Bowery Boys Trailers [VHS] VHS
Previews of the Bowery Boys' funniest films, featuring Huntz Hall, Leo Gorcey and the rest of the zany crew. See slapstick wackiness from their greatest previews. 60 min.
The East Side Kids Gift Set (10-DVD Set) [DVD] DVD
Packaged in a hardbound, cloth-covered case, this 10-disc set includes "Boys of the City," "That Gang of Mine," "Spooks Run Wild," "Bowery Blitzkrieg, "'Neath the Brooklyn Bridge," "Mr. Wise Guy," "Smart Alecks," "Clancy Street Boys," "Kid Dynamite," and "Million Dollar Kid." The series became The Bowery Boys in 1946.
The Adventures Of Ma And Pa Kettle, Vol. 1 [DVD]
First, the hillbilly husband and wife played by Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride are introduced in the all-time favorite barnyard comedy "The Egg and I" (1947), with Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. Then, the Kettle clan is about to be run out of their home until Pa wins "the home of the future" in a slogan-writing contest in "Ma and Pa Kettle" (1949). AKA: "The Further Adventures of Ma and Pa Kettle." The Kettles find themselves in New York where they unwittingly help a crook on the lam in "Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town" (1950). Finally, Ma and Pa head back to the homestead when they think there's uranium on the premises in "Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm" (1951).
The Little Rascals Collection [DVD]
Five-disc boxed set includes the silent shorts "Dogs of War" (1923), "Derby Day" (1923), "Stage Fright" (1923), "The Sundown Limited" (1924), "The Pirates (1923), "Mary, Queen of Tots" (1925), and "The Fourth Alarm" (1926); the sound comedies "School's Out" (1930), "Bear Shooters" (1930), "Our Gang Follies of 1938" (1937), and "Waldo's Last Stand" (1940); the gang's '50s TV reunion on "You Asked for It"; and the documentary "Kid Stuff: Inside Hollywood's Child Stars."
The Abbott And Costello Show: 100th Anniversary Collection: Season One [DVD](1952)
All 26 episodes from the first season--including "The Drug Store," "Lou's Birthday Party," "Hungry," "Bingo the Chimp," and "Safari"--are featured in this five-disc set (1948).
The Marx Brothers Collection [DVD]
First, Groucho, Harpo, and Chico spend "A Night at the Opera" (1935) where they try to help two young singers get their start. Then, it's "A Day at the Races" (1937) for quick-witted horse doc Groucho; and the brothers find laughs and intrigue in "A Night in Casablanca" (1946). Also included in this laugh-packed collection are four exclusive titles. In "Room Service" (1938), the brothers play producers who team with Lucille Ball to put on a show; Groucho sings "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" while trying to save a big-top from bankruptcy in "At the Circus" (1939); the boys run afoul of some Indians and land-grabbing outlaws when they decide to "Go West" (1940); and, they run roughshod over an ultra-modern retail outlet in "The Big Store" (1941),
The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection [DVD]
It's political satire that was way ahead of its time in "Duck Soup" (1933), the pinnacle of Marxian madness; the lesson is laughter when Groucho becomes president of a college in "Horse Feathers" (1932); it's anything but smooth sailing for the Four Marx Brothers when they stow away on an ocean liner in "Monkey Business" (1931), their first comedy written expressly for the screen; "Animal Crackers" (1930) is a zany tale involving high society, young lovers, a stolen painting, and Groucho as "Captain Spaulding, the African explorer"; and their feature film debut, "Cocoanuts" (1929), finds the quartet in a run-down Florida hotel, where owner Groucho insults guests and courts Margaret Dumont.
The Three Stooges: 3-Pack [DVD]
Three-disc set includes "The Three Stooges: Curly Classics," "The Three Stooges: All the World's a Stooge," and "The Three Stooges: Spook Louder."
Leave It To Beaver: The Complete First Season (Limited Edition Lunchbox) [DVD](1957)
All 39 episodes from the premiere season--including "Captain Jack," "The Haircut," "Beaver's Crush," "Wally's Girl Trouble," and "The State vs. Beaver"--are presented in a three-disc set with the unaired pilot. Special edition comes in collectible lunchbox packaging, and includes a "Cleaver Family Album."
Little House On The Prairie: Season 1 [DVD](1974)
All 23 episodes from the debut season--including "Harvest of Friends," "The Lord Is My Shepherd," "Christmas at Plum Creek," "The Circus" and "Founder's Day"--are featured in a six-disc set.
Star Trek: The Complete Original Series [DVD]
Special collection includes the boxed sets of seasons one through three of the original "Star Trek."
The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series Pack [DVD]
Every episode from your friends in Mayberry.
Gilligan's Island: The Complete First Season [DVD](1964)
All 36 episodes from season one--including "Two on a Raft," "Good Night, Sweet Skipper," "Wrongway Feldman," "Gilligan Meets Jungle Boy," and "Voodoo Something to Me," as well as the original unaired pilot--are featured in a three-disc set.
M*A*S*H: Season One [DVD](1972)
All 24 episodes from the debut season--including the pilot, "Chief Surgeon Who?," "Yankee Doodle Doctor," "Dear Dad," and "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet"--are featured in a three-disc set.
The Dukes Of Hazzard: The Complete Seasons 1-7 [DVD]
Follow the Dukes and the General Lee in everybody's secret favourite tv show.
The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-Ton Megaset [DVD]
All 45 episodes of the series--including the sketches "Flying Sheep," "The Dead Parrot sketch," "The Ministry of Silly Walks," "Poofy Judges," "The Golden Age of Ballooning," and more, plus "Monty Python Live!"--are collected in a 16-disc set. Monty karaoke.
Keeping Up Appearances: The Full Bouquet [DVD]
All 40 episodes and four specials are featured in this eight-disc boxed set that includes the volumes "My Way or the Hyacinth Way," "Hints from Hyacinth," "Home Is Where the Hyacinth Is," "Deck the Halls with Hyacinth," "Everything's Coming Up Hyacinth," "Some Like It Hyacinth," "Living the Hyacinth Life," and "Hats Off to Hyacinth."
This Is Coronation Street [DVD]
Since December of 1960, British TV viewers have tuned in to the indefatigable serial drama, faithfully following the day-to-day travails of the working-class residents of Coronation Street in the fictitious Northwest English town of Weatherfield. This primer for stateside fans includes the 2000 special "40 Years on Coronation Street," filled with archival clips and interviews with past and present cast members, plus the series' first five episodes.
The Wizard Of Oz (Three-Disc Collector's Edition) [DVD](1939)
Follow Dorothy over the rainbow and down the Yellow Brick Road, along with the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, Cowardly Lion and Toto, too, for fun and adventure in the Emerald City. Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Margaret Hamilton and Frank Morgan star in one of the most beloved films of all time. 103 min. Standard; Soundtracks: English Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital mono, French Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; audio commentary; "making of" documentary; featurettes; deleted scenes; biographies; photo gallery; bonus feature "The Wizard of Oz" (1925); bonus shorts "The Wizard of Oz" (1910), "The Magic Cloak of Oz" (1914), "His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz" (1914), "The Wizard of Oz" (1933).
Star Wars Trilogy (Special Edition--Widescreen) (Four-Disc Set) [DVD]
Four-disc set includes the 2004 video release versions of "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back," and "Return of the Jedi," and a disc of documentaries, featurettes, theatrical trailers, and more.
The Beatles Anthology [DVD](1995)
The long-awaited definitive Fab Four retrospective (five hours of which are exclusive to video) of pop music's most beloved and influential band traces The Beatles' evolution from their earliest efforts to their bitter break-up in 1970. Recent interviews with Paul, George and Ringo are woven through live concert footage, rare studio clips, home movies, press conferences and backstage footage to tell the definitive story of the four lads from Liverpool.
Lord Stanley's Cup: Hockey's Ultimate Prize [DVD]
Hockey fans won't want to miss this scintillating salute to the fabled championship trophy. Follow its history in a highlight-filled program that features a look at the amazing players who sought to drink from the cup, astonishing plays that electrified sports fans, and intensity-packed playoff games that led to great victories. Denis Leary hosts.
World Cup Soccer Highlights 1978-2002 [DVD]
An incredible compendium of the greatest players and most exciting moments in every World Cup competition from 1978 to 2002, this collection includes commentary by top announcers and is officially licensed by the governing body of world soccer. Every soccer fan will want this series on the shelf!
Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures Of Spin & Marty [DVD]
Originally airing in 1955 as a serial during the first season of "The Mickey Mouse Club," "Spin and Marty" was set on a dude ranch summer camp and followed the unlikely friendship of country boy Spin Evans and rich city kid Marty Markham. Tim Considine and David Stollery starred. This two-disc set features the entire serial, plus the full episode of "The Mickey Mouse Club" where it made its debut.
The Lord Of The Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Widescreen Version) [DVD]
Special six-disc boxed set includes widescreen versions of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
Dagwood Bumstead- Arthur Lake (1905-1987) born Arthur Silverlake in Corbin, KY.
Blondie Bumstead- Penny Singleton (google her wonderful web site for lots of photos and info.) (1908- 2003) born Mariana McNulty in Philadelphia, PA.-voice of Jane Jetson.
Dagwood Alexander Bumstead (Baby Dumpling)- Larry Simms (Oct. 1, 1934- July 17, 2009) born in Los Angeles, CA - became an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Lab, and ran his own boat repair business in the L.A. harbour. He retired to Thailand where he lives with his young wife Mali. To see photos of them both in 2000 click here and here. Larry also had a part in "It's a Wonderful Life".
Cookie Bumstead- Marjorie Kent (1939- ) aka Marjorie Ann Mutchie, born in L.A., CA.- where are you Marjorie?
Daisy Bumstead the dog- Spooks (?-?) and his offspring- trained by Rudd Weatherwax and Frank Inn.
JC (Julius Caesar) Dithers- Jonathan Hale (1891-1966) born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - he committed suicide after suffering depression which may have been caused by other health concerns.
George M. Radcliffe- Jerome Cowan (1897-1972) born in New York, NY.
Alvin Fuddle (Dag's young nemesis)- Danny Mummert (1934-1974) born in Dallas, TX. Danny's career, as well as his personal life after his movie career ended was varied and tragic. He was, at times, a Film Producer in TV, a Writer in Motion Pictures and TV, and in Commercial Advertising. He married at least 4 times: To Joan H. Hummel, to Helene L Harnett (they had 2 children, Mark E (B. 1959) and Janna H (B 1961), to Mae Louise Horwitz Helms (Md. Feb. 28, 1967) and Linda Louise Earl Moreno (Md. Sept. 8 1972 in Monterey, CA.). Linda was in the process of divorcing Danny (Now known as Dan, or Don, Easton). He did not appear at various divorce proceedings, but was mailed the proceedings c/o his mother Winnifred Mummert, at 2710 1/2 N.W. 12th St., Oklahoma City, OK. On Saturday August 10, 1974 (The day before his divorce would become final), Danny, after having heard some upsetting news about Winnifred's latest boyfriend, borrowed/took her car, and a double barrel shotgun, drove outside the town of Kingfisher, Oklahoma, placed the shotgun in his mouth, and using a pencil to span the two triggers,took his own life. His body was cremated under the auspices of Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper Funeral Home, of Oklahoma City, OK. The remains were buried in Noble IOOF Cemetery plot E-4-R38-9 in Cleveland County, Oklahoma.
1st Mailman Mr. Crumb- Irving Bacon (1892-1965) born in St. Joseph, MO.
2nd Mailman Mr. Beasley- Eddie Acuff (1903-1956) born in Caruthersville, MO.
3rd Mailman- Dick Wessel (1913-1965) born in Wisconsin.
Ollie Shaw Merton- Jack Rice (1893-1968) born in Woodland Hills, CA.
Tommy Cooper- Bobby Larson (1930-2002) born in L.A., CA. He became a teacher in L.A.
Marvin Williams- Don Beddoe (1903-1991) born in Pittsburgh, PA.
Mary the Secretary- Mary Jane Carey, Anna Loos and Alyn Lockwood- Alyn was born in Los Angeles, CA Jan. 15, 1914, and died July 16, 2007 in Tarzana, CA. She was married to Marlin Resinger in 1964. He, and one child, survive.
Mrs. Fuddle- Fay Helm (1913-2003) born in Bakersfield, CA.
Directors: Frank Strayer- from 1938-1943, Abby Berlin- from 1944-1948, Edward Bernds- from 1949-1950.
Produced by Robert Sparks (who was also married to Penny Singleton).
Writers include (in order by date)- Richard Flournoy, Karen Dewolf, Connie Lee, Edward Bernds, and Jack Henley.
* Columbia Pictures produced a "Blondie" episode every 5 months over a span of 12 years.
* Guest Stars included Lloyd Bridges, Glenn Ford, Tito Guizar, William Frawley, Shemp Howard and Rita Hayworth.
To order Blondie in VHS format click the Amazon link in the middle below. If you would like to download all the Blondie movies go back to the link at the top of this page.