BLONDIE MEETS THE BOSS, #2 in the series, arrived in 1939, the Bumstead domestic and professional issues again directed by Frank R. Strayer and written by Richard Flournoy.
When his vacation is suddenly cancelled, ‘Dagwood’ (Arthur Lake) rashly resigns. ‘Blondie’ (Penny Singleton) sees a roundabout way to get his job back, by stepping in to manage his office while ‘Mr. Dithers’ (Jonathan Hale) is away trying to lock in a deal. Dagwood goes fishing and ends up in a compromising (though innocent), photo-captured situation with a nightclub singer. Meanwhile, ‘Baby Dumpling’ (Larry Simms) is being watched by Blondie’s sister ‘Dot’.
In this entry, highlights include neighbor boy ‘Alvin Fuddle’ (Danny Mummert) showing how smart he is (little Mummert, 5, is pretty sharp), and Dagwood & Dot’s wild jitterbug moves. Lest we forget, a number of yocks stem from ‘Daisy’ the most intelligent member of the Bumstead household. A cocker spaniel/poodle/terrier mix, she was one of those ultra-smart (and humor-oriented) pooches favored at the time, like ‘Asta’ from the concurrent ‘Thin Man’ series. *
Besides a canine connection, like Nick & Nora Charles, Dagwood & Blondie had one of the movies unusual ‘happy marriage’ comedy couples. and though the urbane detectives and their alter egos William Powell and Myrna Loy were up the attention ladder by several rungs, overdue credit is due the Bumstead’s and Mr. & Miss Lake-Singleton.
Can’t overlook Singleton’s delightfully determined way of walking-with-intent. It’s daintiness mixed with a march, a proto-femme movement mode that meant business, especially when she was interrupted at some task, which was all the time: exasperation rarely looked so endearing.
This bit of fun grossed $300,000 (almost six million bucks in 2022), and was followed by two more Blondie features that year. With Don Beddoe, Dorothy Moore (‘Dot’), Linda Winters/Dorothy Comingore, Eddie Acuff, Irving Bacon, George Chandler, Robert Sterling (debut), Grady Sutton. 75 minutes.
* Daisy is more fun than Asta, frankly. Daisy (played by Spooks) was a kennel rescue animal, bought by trainer Rennie Renfro for a whopping $3.00 He (the dog, not Mr. Renfro) later learned some moves from Rudd Weatherwax of Lassie fame. Spooks/Daisy lived from 1937 to 1960. B.I.P.
As to the downside of being kept as a pet: featured player Linda Winters (the girl Blondie thinks Dagwood is cheating with) was getting some notice in 1939, with parts in 13 movies, including Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. She changed her name to Dorothy Comingore, and in 1941 carved a slice of movie fame as the 2nd wife of Citizen Kane. Later, she was blacklisted, her liberal (and patriotic) activities deemed ‘Red’ by the witch-hunt droogs, helped by having news magnate William Randolph Hearst smear the actress, never forgiving her for her thinly disguised portrait of Marion Davies in Citizen Kane. Walter Winchell and Hedda Hopper piled on, helping make the rest of her trouble-plagued life miserable. Irony playing its tricks, Arthur Lake married Marion Davies daughter.