Blondie is a popular comic strip created by Murat Bernard "Chic" Young and syndicated by King Features Syndicate. It has been published in newspapers since September 8, 1930. The success of the comic strip led to a long-run Blondie film series (1938-1950) and a popular Blondie radio program (1939-1950).
Chic Young drew Blondie until his death in 1973, when the control of the strip passed to his son Dean Young. Dean Young has collaborated with a number of artists on the strip, including Jim Raymond, Mike Gersher, Stan Drake, Denis Lebrun and most recently, John Marshall. Through these changes, Blondie has remained popular, appearing in more than 2300 newspapers in 55 countries and translated into 35 languages, as of 2005. Blondie celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2005.
focused on the adventures of Blondie Boopadoop, a carefree flapper
girl who spent her days in dance halls
. On February 17
, after much fanfare and build-up, Miss Boopadoop married her boyfriend Dagwood Bumstead
, the son of a wealthy industrialist
. Unfortunately for the Bumsteads, Dagwood was disowned by his upper-crust family for marrying beneath his class. Ever since, he has been slaving away at the office of the J. C. Dithers Construction Company under the direction of tyrannical boss Julius Caesar Dithers, who frequently threatens to fire Dagwood from his workplace when (as frequently happens) Dagwood either botches or does not finish his work, sleeps on the job, comes into work late, or pesters Dithers for a raise or promotion.
Blondie and Dagwood live next door to Herb and Tootsie Woodley. The Bumstead family has grown, with the addition of a son named Alexander (originally "Baby Dumpling") in 1934, a daughter named Cookie in 1941 (both permanently frozen in their late teens as of 2008), and a dog named Daisy. Alexander and Cookie have grown into teenagers who uncannily resemble their parents. Other regular characters include Mr. Beasley the mailman, Elmo Tuttle, a pesky neighborhood kid who often asks Dagwood to play, Cora Dithers, the domineering wife of Julius Dithers, and Lou, owner of Lou's Diner where Dagwood frequently eats on his lunch break.
There are several running gags
in this strip.
- An impossibly tall sandwich Dagwood often fixes for a snack, which came to be known as a Dagwood sandwich.
- Dagwood's propensity to nap on the couch during the day.
- He is repeatedly shown colliding with Mr. Beasley while rushing out the front door, late for work, each morning, or to be interrupted by other characters while he is relaxing in the bathtub.
- Goofing off or sleeping at his desk in the office.
- Mr. Dithers firing him for being incompetent, or physically booting him out of his office.
- Dagwood demanding a raise from Dithers and failing to get it every time.
- Dagwood meeting salesmen at his house door selling impossible looking items.
- The late-for-work gag, with assorted variations, with Dagwood keeping his car pool waiting, running after their car, or stuck in traffic. In earlier decades he had been late for the bus or, even earlier in the strip's run, he had been late for the streetcar.
- Having a midnight snack.
- The Christmas shopping gag, where Dagwood is shown holding up a number of Christmas packages that completely cover up his face and upper body.
In 2005 the strip celebrated its 75th anniversary. In preparation of the anniversary the artists started the longest running serial ever, starting on 10 July, 2005, and running till 4 September, 2005. During this period they only ran preparation for the anniversary daily cartoons . Characters from several other strips, including Garfield
, Beetle Bailey
and Hagar the Horrible
, made appearances . During this time, the strip Pearls Before Swine
made fun of the fact that their cast was not invited, and decided to invite themselves.
While the distinctive look and running gags of Blondie have been carefully preserved through the decades, a number of details have been altered to keep up with changing times. The Bumstead kitchen, which remained essentially unchanged from the 1930s through the 1960s has slowly acquired a more modern look (no more legs on the gas range, for instance, and no more refrigerators shown with the motor on the top).
Blondie herself is no longer a housewife. She and Tootsie Woodley started a catering business in 1991. Dagwood still knocks heads with his boss, Mr. Dithers, but now he does it in a more modern office at J.C. Dithers Construction Company. Their desk computers sport flat panel monitors and Mr Dithers has a laptop on his table. Dagwood now begins each morning racing to meet his carpool rather than chasing after a just-missed streetcar or city bus.
Also, for a time in the late 1990s and around 2000/2001, Blondie's and Dagwood's teenage son Alexander worked part-time outside of high school at the order counter of a fast food restaurant, the Burger Barn. There are still occasional references to Cookie and her babysitting. Daisy, who once had a litter of puppies that lived with the family is now the only dog seen in the Bumstead household. Cookie and Alexander can be seen in modern clothing trends and sometimes use cell phones and talk of attending rock concerts.
On May 11, 2006 Dean Young announced the opening of the first of his Dagwood's Sandwich Shoppes over the coming summer in Clearwater, Florida. Recently in the comics, the characters have all been either jokingly or seriously talking about Dagwood opening his own sandwich shop. A counter service restaurant called Blondie's opened at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure in May 1999, and serves a traditional Dagwood-style sandwich. In fact, Blondie's bills itself as "Home of the Dagwood Sandwich." Lunch meats can be purchased at grocery stores featuring Dagwood and an assortment of meats.
Awards and recognition
Chic Young was awarded a Reuben
in 1948 for his work on the strip. Coincidentally, the award shares the name with a sandwich that makes the strip famous.
In 1995, the strip was one of 20 included in the Comic Strip Classics series of commemorative postage stamps.
Adaptations in other media
was adapted into a series of 28 theatrical films, beginning with Blondie
in 1938 and running through Beware of Blondie
in 1950. Penny Singleton
played the titular character, with Arthur Lake
as Dagwood; the two also starred in a Blondie
radio show that was broadcast on several networks from 1939 to 1950. Two Blondie
television series were also produced, each lasting only one season. The first
ran for fourteen episodes in 1957, and had Lake reprising his film and radio role, but cast Pamela Britton
as Blondie. The second
, broadcast in the 1968-69 season, had Patricia Harty
and Will Hutchins
in the lead roles.Blondie made several cameos in "Garfield Gets Real