Happy Anniversary, "Blondie!!!!!"

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Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
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Happy Anniversary, "Blondie!!!!!"

Post by Ralph » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:50 am

Here's something we oldtimers can surely agree on!

*****

New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
'Blondie's' 1930s roots
By DAVID HINCKLEY
Monday, August 1st, 2005

You might think Dagwood Bumstead's idea of a 75th-anniversary celebration would be to eat a sandwich that includes four tomatoes, six wedges of cheese, a head of lettuce, two slices of pizza, a bottle of Tabasco sauce and a leg of lamb.

Then lie down on the sofa for a nap.

You might think Blondie Bumstead's idea of an anniversary celebration would be to try on dresses all afternoon at Tudbury's with Tootsie Woodley.

But for their anniversary, they've got bigger plans.

Dean Young, "Blondie's" writer (and son of Chic Young, the strip's creator, who died in 1973) has arranged for the strip's All-American stars to celebrate a 75th-anniversary party on Sept. 4 in the pages of its 2,300 client newspapers. Leading up to that moment will be an unprecedented three-month story line; there'll also be a month-long post-party cruise to Hawaii.

In the comic-strip world, this is the party against which all others will one day be measured. At various points, the Bumsteads will join and be visited by dozens of characters from other strips, including "For Better or for Worse," "Gasoline Alley," "Beetle Bailey," "Hagar the Horrible" and "Curtis."

They'll also get a congratulatory phone call from President Bush and the First Lady, and while Dagwood naturally manages to fumble it, Young says he got a warm letter of thanks from the real-life White House.

"The President was clearly familiar with the strip and my dad," says Young. "I was very honored."

The Bush appearance is notable because, aside from topical strips like "Doonesbury," Presidents don't often drop in on pop media. It can be "an enormous risk," says Tim H. Blessing, associate professor of history at Alvernia College in Reading, Pa., citing the backlash to Gerald Ford's appearance on "Saturday Night Live" in 1976.

In this case, however, Blessing adds, "'Blondie' is so innocuous it's not that great a risk."

"Innocuous" suggests, correctly, that "Blondie" skips politics and controversy. "Blondie" will never be confused with "Doonesbury" or "The Boondocks." But considering the results it has achieved with that policy, an equally applicable word might be "smart." "Blondie" is "the most successful domestic comic strip of the 20th century," says comic historian Ron Goulart, author of "The Funnies" (Adams Publishing). "It's like the Grand Canyon. It's this massive presence."

"It's part of American life," says Mort Walker, creator of "Beetle Bailey." "It's like the Constitution."

In an age where we're more likely to see the Simpson family than "Leave It to Beaver," the Bumsteads are old school: two loving parents, two kids, a dog and a nice, clean home in which they eat dinner together every night.

Young agrees that the fundamental things apply.

"The strip is about four things: eating, sleeping, raising children and making money," he says. "With those subjects, you reach pretty much everyone."

Still, Young wants no one to think "Blondie" is frozen at any past point in time, however idyllic, because in the comics world, that's code for oblivion.

"It stays contemporary," he says. "Blondie works. She uses a laptop. Dagwood's in a carpool. We keep up with the times."

In fact, both Blondie and Dagwood have traveled light-years from their original incarnations.

When we first met the flapper then named Blondie Boopadoop on Sept. 8, 1930, a guy named Babe Ruth was batting third for the Yankees. Chic Young loved flappers, and "Blondie" was his fourth flapper strip, following "The Affairs of Jane," "Beautiful Bab" and "Dumb Dora."

Dagwood Bumstead was the heir to a railroad fortune, a playboy so inept that his horse stopped to munch grass during polo matches. His parents, the story line goes, threatened to disinherit him when he fell for Blondie, but he married her anyway, on Feb. 17, 1933. By the time their son Baby Dumplings was born on April 15, 1934, their makeover was complete. Dagwood was working for J.C. Dithers, and Blondie had shed her spangles to become a sensible housewife, godmother to the likes of June Cleaver, Edith Bunker and Clair Huxtable.

"'Blondie' was a pioneering sitcom," muses Goulart. "Look where most of it takes place: in the kitchen and living room."

"My dad was the genius here," says Young. "He left me these characters and his comic-strip gene, and all I have to do is let them loose. It's like chemistry with these characters. They rub against each other, and things automatically happen."

Dagwood takes a nap. Blondie bakes a pie. The smell wakes Dagwood up. Dagwood eats the pie.

There's something here not to love?
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Werner
CMG's Elder Statesman
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Post by Werner » Mon Aug 01, 2005 11:05 am

Ralph: Blondie and Dagwood have been working on the guest list. I hope you're on it as the CMG representative.
Werner Isler

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:24 pm

Werner wrote:Ralph: Blondie and Dagwood have been working on the guest list. I hope you're on it as the CMG representative.
*****

Can there be any doubt?
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

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