After Penny Singleton was cast in the title role of the feature film Blondie (1938), co-starring with Arthur Lake as Dagwood (the first in a series of 28 produced by Columbia Pictures); she and Lake repeated their roles December 20, 1938, on The Pepsodent Show starring Bob Hope. The appearance with Hope led to their own show, beginning July 3, 1939, on CBS as a summer replacement for The Eddie Cantor Show. However, Cantor did not return in the fall, so the sponsor, R.J. Reynolds' Camel Cigarettes chose to keep Blondie on the air Mondays at 7:30pm. Camel remained the sponsor through the early World War II years until June 26, 1944.
In 1944, Blondie was on the NBC Blue Network, sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive's Super Suds, airing Fridays at 7pm from July 21 to September 1. The final three weeks of that run overlapped with Blondie's return to CBS on Sundays at 8pm from August 13, 1944, to September 26, 1948, still sponsored by Super Suds. Beginning in mid-1945, the 30-minute program was heard Mondays at 7:30pm. Super Suds continued as the sponsor when the show moved to NBC on Wednesdays at 8pm from October 6, 1948, to June 29, 1949.
When Penny Singleton left the radio series in the mid-1940s, Patricia Lake, the former Patricia Van Cleeve, replaced her as the voice of Blondie for the remaining five years of the show, opposite her real-life husband Arthur Lake. Ann Rutherford and Alice White were also heard as radio's Blondie. In 1954, Lake also co-starred with her husband in an early television sitcom he created called Meet the Family.
In its final season, the series was on ABC as a Sustaining Program from October 6, 1949, to July 6, 1950, first airing Thursdays at 8pm and then (from May) 8:30pm. The radio show ended the same year as the Blondie film series (1938–50).
Others in the cast: Leone Ledoux (Alexander and Cookie Bumstead), Tommy Cook (Alexander as of May 1943), Larry Sims (Alexander as of Summer 1946), Jeffrey Silver (Alexander by 1949), Marlene Aames (Cookie by 1946), Norma Jean Nilsson (Cookie in 1947), Joan Rae (Cookie after 1947), Hanley Stafford (J.C. Dithers), Elvia Allman (Mrs. Dithers), Frank Nelson and Harold Peary (Herb Woodley), Arthur Q. Bryan and Harry Lang (Mr. Fuddle), Dix Davis (Alvin Fuddle), Mary Jane Croft (Harriet), Veola Vonn and Lurene Tuttle (Dimples Wilson). Harry Lubin, Billy Artz and Lou Kosloff supplied the music.
Columbia theatrical seriesEdit
Blondie was successfully adapted into a long-running series of 28 low-budget theatrical B-features, produced by Columbia Pictures, also starring Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake. Beginning with Blondie in 1938, the series lasted 12 years, through Beware of Blondie (1950). Faithfulness to the comic strip was a major concern of the creators of the movie series. Little touches were added that were iconic to the strip, like the appearance of Dagwood's famous sandwiches - and the running gag of Dagwood colliding with the mailman amid a flurry of letters, (which preceded the title sequence in almost every film). The films were typical of family-fare situational comedies of the period, and are endearingly funny in a low-key way. As the series progressed, the Bumstead children grew from toddlers to young adults onscreen. Larry Simms as Baby Dumpling (later known as Alexander) reprised his role in all the films. Daughter Cookie was played by three different child actresses, beginning in 1942 with her first appearance (as an infant) in Blondie's Blessed Event, the eleventh entry in the series. Daisy had pups in the twelfth episode, Blondie For Victory (1942). Rounding out the regular supporting cast, character actor Jonathan Hale played Dagwood's irascible boss, J.C. Dithers. The Bumsteads' neighbors, the Woodleys, were oddly missing from the series.
- 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)
- Blondie's Blessed Event (1942)
- Blondie for Victory (1942)
- It's a Great Life (1943)
- Footlight Glamour (1943)
- Leave It to Blondie (1945)
- Life With Blondie (1946)
- Blondie's Lucky Day (1946
- Blondie Knows Best (1946)
- Blondie's Big Moment (1947)
- Blondie's Holiday (1947)
- Blondie in the Dough (1947)
- Blondie's Anniversary (1947)
- Blondie's Reward (1948)
- Blondie's Secret (1948)
- Blondie's Big Deal (1949)
- Blondie Hits the Jackpot (1940)
- Blondie's Hero (1950)
- Beware of Blondie (1950)
- Lamparski, Richard (1968). Whatever became of ... ?: Second series. Crown Publishers. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
- Dunning, John (1998). On the air: the encyclopedia of old-time radio. Oxford University Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780195076783. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
- Dunning, John (1976). Tune in yesterday: the ultimate encyclopedia of old-time radio, 1925-1976. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 9780139326080. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
- Gertner, Richard (1992). International Television Almanac. Quigley Publishing Company, Incorporated. ISBN 9780900610271. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
- Erikson, Hal. "Arthur Lake biography". All Movie Guide. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- Liebman, Roy (1998). From silents to sound: a biographical encyclopedia of performers who made the transition to talking pictures (illustrated ed.). McFarland. ISBN 9780786403820. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
- "'Dagwood' of Movies, Arthur Lake, Is Dead". The New York Times. January 11, 1987. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- "Several New TV Series Ready To Roll". Billboard. September 25, 1954. Retrieved 2009-07-31.