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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Blondie and Dagwood

Hello, everyone!  We're almost through with another weekend!  I hope you all had a great one!

And, we're right smack dab in the middle of "YOU NEVER NOVEMBER WHAT YOU'RE GONNA GET" month!  How cool is that?

So, I was thinking to myself...what topic would I talk about today?

And you know what?  I have an answer.

Now, if you're new to this blog, you probably don't know this, but I began this blog almost three and a half years ago, and it definitely was presented a lot differently than it is now.  The layout was simplistic, the colour scheme was kind of like the same as a 1980s style living room, and this was my logo.  Hand drawn.

Baby, have we come a long way, or what?

Even the original theme days were completely different.  Here was the first week of topics that I had in place during the first week of this blog.


You notice that I have highlighted the Sunday Funnies portion of this list, right?  Well, believe it or not, I will be making today's blog entry a Sunday Funnies entry. 

You probably wonder why I gave that theme day up.  Well, for one, the day ended up being a flop.  After only two weeks, I decided to drop it.  And secondly, I came to the realization that I had forgotten to add a music category to the mix, and I thought that since I could always talk about comic strip characters on Saturdays, having a Sunday Funnies section in the blog seemed a little redundant.  This, of course, lead to the creation of the Sunday Jukebox entry.

So, since this week, we will be having a Sunday Funnies entry, I suppose I should feature a comic strip that many people have heard of.  In fact, I think I may just choose a comic strip that will be celebrating a milestone birthday next year. 

Yes, today's post is about a comic strip that is considered to be one of the oldest comic strips still in print as of 2014.  It is older than Garfield (1978), Dennis the Menace (1951), Peanuts (1950), Beetle Bailey (1950), and Archie (1947).  And would you believe that the star of this comic strip was a blonde haired girl who defied the stereotype that most blonde women have had to endure?

I mean, let's face it.  Blonde women have not exactly been portrayed in pop culture in a positive light.  In fact, many people have used the expression "dumb blonde" to describe them.  I mean, with people like Chrissy Snow from "Three's Company", the original "Tool Time" girl from "Home Improvement", or the fact that any blonde extra on "Saved by the Bell" happened to be a bleached blonde, is it any wonder that blondes have gotten a really bad rap?

Well, when this comic strip debuted in September 1930 (that makes it 85 years old next year), this woman certainly proved that blondes certainly were anything but dumb.  Well, okay, granted she didn't start that way.  Marriage certainly had a great effect on her.

This is the story of Blondie Boopadoop Bumstead...but you probably know her best as Blondie.

Boy, does Blondie look good as an 84 year old, or what?

Now, of course, you probably have figured out that for a comic strip to last eight and a half decades that not all the comic strips were drawn by the same person.  Created by Chic Young (who passed away in 1973), the cartoon is now headed by Young's son Dean, and a variety of different artists which included Jim Raymond, Mike Gersher, Stan Drake, Denis Lebrun, and John Marshall.

Anyway, getting back to Blondie, if you have ever read a Blondie comic strip in your lifetime, then you know that Blondie Bumstead is the woman who keeps the Bumstead family glued together.  She is the most responsible of the household, and one of her full-time jobs seems to be supervising her sweet, but inept husband, Dagwood.  She also has to take care of her children Alex and Cookie, and the family dog, Daisy.

But she didn't exactly start out that way.

During the first three years of the comic strip's existence, Blondie was actually a bit of a wild child.  Think Paris Hilton in the early 1930s, if you will. She was an unapologetic flapper who spent her free time in dance clubs and her personality certainly seemed to match her activities.  Young, carefree, and lacking in responsibility.

It really wasn't until 1933 that Blondie became more responsible.  Of course, this was the year that Blondie and Dagwood tied the knot (which apparently was a major media event for its time), and initially it appeared as though Blondie was going to be set for the rest of her life, as Dagwood came from an extremely wealthy family.  But fate stepped in when Dagwood's extremely snooty family denounced Blondie - saying that she wasn't good enough to marry into the Bumstead family, and they cut Dagwood out of the family - effectively blocking him from his inheritance.

And so marked the transformation of Blondie and Dagwood.  In fact, one could call it a personality switch.  Blondie became the responsible, level-headed one, while Dagwood became the tower sandwich eating, mailman bulldozing clown of a husband.

And really, in the case of Blondie and Dagwood, opposites truly did attract.

Now, in addition to the comic strip, Blondie certainly made her mark in other forms of media.  There was a highly successful radio program based on the comic strip that lasted for eleven years.  A series of films were also made between 1938 and 1950. 

And, believe it or not, there were even a couple of cartoon specials airing between 1987 and 1989 that featured Frank Welker as Dagwood and Loni Anderson as Blondie.  Don't believe me?  Well, watch a small clip of one as we conclude this blog on Blondie!  If anything, the theme song is kind of catchy.

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