Blondie! (1938)

68 or 70 mins | Comedy | 30 November 1938

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HISTORY

According to HR , Aurania Rouverol was signed to adapt the comic strip, with Gloria Blondell set to star and Sam Marx set to produce. Another news item in HR notes that Stuart Erwin and Una Merkel were to star in the film. Modern sources note that Shirley Deane was originally cast as Blondie, but when she became ill, Penny Singleton replaced her, dying her hair blonde for the role. The film's animated credits anticipate a style that would become popular a decade later and establishes the film as a kind of domestic situation comedy (reflected in the series' titles) that would become the mainstay of television series in the 1950s. Singleton and Arthur Lake starred in all twenty-eight films in the Blondie series. According to modern sources, the studio lost interest in the series after the first fourteen pictures. After releasing two titles without Blondie's name, they stopped producing the series in 1943. However, audience response encouraged the studio to re-establish production through 1950. Between 1931 and 1951, Blondie was also heard on radio, starring Lake as "Dagwood" with Singleton, Alice White, Patricia Van Cleve and Ann Rutherford portraying "Blondie" at various times. This was followed by three short-lived television series in 1954, 1958, and again in the 1968-69 season. Lake was married to Patricia Van Cleve, who played opposite him as the radio "Blondie" for the last five years of the program. The Blondie series contained more films than any other series to date. Subsequent Blondie titles are: Blondie Meets the Boss and Blondie Brings Up Baby , both in 1939; Blondie Has Servant ... More Less

According to HR , Aurania Rouverol was signed to adapt the comic strip, with Gloria Blondell set to star and Sam Marx set to produce. Another news item in HR notes that Stuart Erwin and Una Merkel were to star in the film. Modern sources note that Shirley Deane was originally cast as Blondie, but when she became ill, Penny Singleton replaced her, dying her hair blonde for the role. The film's animated credits anticipate a style that would become popular a decade later and establishes the film as a kind of domestic situation comedy (reflected in the series' titles) that would become the mainstay of television series in the 1950s. Singleton and Arthur Lake starred in all twenty-eight films in the Blondie series. According to modern sources, the studio lost interest in the series after the first fourteen pictures. After releasing two titles without Blondie's name, they stopped producing the series in 1943. However, audience response encouraged the studio to re-establish production through 1950. Between 1931 and 1951, Blondie was also heard on radio, starring Lake as "Dagwood" with Singleton, Alice White, Patricia Van Cleve and Ann Rutherford portraying "Blondie" at various times. This was followed by three short-lived television series in 1954, 1958, and again in the 1968-69 season. Lake was married to Patricia Van Cleve, who played opposite him as the radio "Blondie" for the last five years of the program. The Blondie series contained more films than any other series to date. Subsequent Blondie titles are: Blondie Meets the Boss and Blondie Brings Up Baby , both in 1939; Blondie Has Servant Trouble and Blondie Plays Cupid , both in 1940 (see below). In 1941 the studio produced Blondie Goes Latin and Blondie in Society . Other titles are: Blondie Goes to College (1942), Blondie's Blessed Event (1942), Blondie for Victory (1942), Footlight Glamour (1943), It's a Great Life (1943), Leave It to Blondie (1945), Life with Blondie (1946), Blondie's Lucky Day (1946), Blondie Knows Best (1946), Blondie's Holiday (1947), Blondie's Big Moment (1947), Blondie in the Dough (1947), Blondie's Anniversary (1947), Blondie's Reward (1948), Blondie's Secret (1948), Blondie Hits the Jackpot (1949), Blondie's Big Deal (1949), Blondie's Hero (1950) and Beware of Blondie (1950). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 Oct 38
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Nov 38
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 38
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 38
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Oct 38
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
5 Nov 38
p. 38.
New York Times
22 Dec 38
p. 25.
Variety
2 Nov 38
p. 10.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the comic strip "Blondie" created by Chic Young, owned and copyrighted by King Features Syndicate, Inc. (1930--).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
30 November 1938
Production Date:
12 September--7 October 1938
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures of California, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
7 November 1938
Copyright Number:
LP8405
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
68 or 70
Country:
United States
PCA No:
4632
SYNOPSIS

On the eve of their fifth wedding anniversary, Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead, and their child Baby Dumpling, are in financial trouble. Blondie presses Dagwood to ask his boss Mr. Dithers for a raise because she has purchased a new set of living room furniture on credit as a surprise. Unfortunately, when Dagwood arrives at the construction company where he works, he discovers that he is being held responsible for repayment of a loan note he approved for Mr. Dither's former secretary, Elsie. Anxious to cover the loan, Dagwood begs Mr. Dithers for a raise. Hardhearted Dithers refuses, but agrees that if Dagwood can make a sale to salesmen-phobic C. P. Hazlip, he will give him the raise and a bonus to cover the note. At the hotel, a smug desk clerk tells Dagwood that Hazlip is out, so he sits down to wait. Actually Hazlip is in the hotel, sitting right next to Dagwood. The two men are drawn together by a mutual love of tinkering, and together they work all afternoon trying unsuccessfully to fix a vacuum cleaner. Finally, Hazlip's daughter Elsie arrives and Dagwood finds out that his tinkering buddy is actually his sales target. Just as it seems everything will work out, Blondie erroneously thinks that Dagwood is having an affair with someone named Elsie, Dithers fires Dagwood because he hasn't made the sale, the loan company repossesses the new furniture, and Dagwood is accused of stealing his mother-in-law's car when he borrows it to beg Hazlip to explain the situation to Blondie. Hazlip and Dagwood spend the night in jail, and the next day in court, Blondie ... +


On the eve of their fifth wedding anniversary, Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead, and their child Baby Dumpling, are in financial trouble. Blondie presses Dagwood to ask his boss Mr. Dithers for a raise because she has purchased a new set of living room furniture on credit as a surprise. Unfortunately, when Dagwood arrives at the construction company where he works, he discovers that he is being held responsible for repayment of a loan note he approved for Mr. Dither's former secretary, Elsie. Anxious to cover the loan, Dagwood begs Mr. Dithers for a raise. Hardhearted Dithers refuses, but agrees that if Dagwood can make a sale to salesmen-phobic C. P. Hazlip, he will give him the raise and a bonus to cover the note. At the hotel, a smug desk clerk tells Dagwood that Hazlip is out, so he sits down to wait. Actually Hazlip is in the hotel, sitting right next to Dagwood. The two men are drawn together by a mutual love of tinkering, and together they work all afternoon trying unsuccessfully to fix a vacuum cleaner. Finally, Hazlip's daughter Elsie arrives and Dagwood finds out that his tinkering buddy is actually his sales target. Just as it seems everything will work out, Blondie erroneously thinks that Dagwood is having an affair with someone named Elsie, Dithers fires Dagwood because he hasn't made the sale, the loan company repossesses the new furniture, and Dagwood is accused of stealing his mother-in-law's car when he borrows it to beg Hazlip to explain the situation to Blondie. Hazlip and Dagwood spend the night in jail, and the next day in court, Blondie straightens out the whole mess. When Hazlip gladly offers his business to Dagwood, Blondie uses this lever to negotiate a new and substantially better work deal for Dagwood. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.