When Chic Young’s Blondie comic strip debuted in 1930, it gave Depression-era audiences a chance to laugh and forget about their troubles, even if just for a moment. The characters featured in these stories became so popular that they made an easy translation to the radio and movies. In fact, from 1938 through to 1950, there were 28 Blondie theatrical features starring Penny Singleton as Blondie and Arthur Lake as her sandwich-loving husband, Dagwood. (And you thought the Marvel Cinematic Universe had a lot of feature films).
Following the release of the last Blondie picture, Beware of Blondie, the character was once again relegated to the funny pages. Then something interesting happened: Thanks to nostalgia and the perennial demand for quality family entertainment, the old films found another life at revival movie houses. With television exploding in popularity and fans still wanting to see more of the Bumsteads’ mirthful misadventures, the decision was made to bring Blondie to the small screen. NBC did just that on January 4, 1957, when Blondie debuted.
Lake reprised his role from the theatrical films, but Pamela Britton was cast in the titular role. Over the course of 26 episodes, the Bumsteads got into one wacky situation after another. But there was one issue that was bigger than them: Cancellation. The last episode of Blondie — “The Feud” — aired in the summer of 1957.
While another, less successful Blondie series with a different cast aired in the late 1960s (and featured a post-Gilligan’s Island Jim Backus), it is the original version that is most remembered today.
Blondie: The Complete 1957 Television Series has just been released on DVD for audiences to rediscover. Though be warned, you should probably watch it with a big sandwich by your side.