(director: Frank R. Strayer; screenwriters: Richard Flournoy/comic strip by Chic Young; cinematographer: Henry Freulich; editor: Gene Havlick; music: Leigh Harline; cast: Penny Singleton (Blondie), Arthur Lake (Dagwood Bumstead), Larry Simms (Baby Dumpling), Gene Lockhart (C. P. Hazlip), Jonathan Hale (Mr. Dithers), Ann Doran (Elsie Hazlip), Gordon Oliver (Chester Franey), Kathleen Lockhart (Blondie’s mother, Mrs. Miller), Dorothy Moore (Dorothy), Danny Mummert (Alvin,next door friend of Baby Dumpling; Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Robert Sparks; King Features/Columbia Pictures; 1938-B/W)

It’s like your average TV sitcom today.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The first Blondie film in a successful long-running franchise that ended in 1950 with 28 episodes, is a good one. It’s like your average TV sitcom today. The comedy is based on the comic strip started in 1930 by Chic Young. Director Frank R. Strayer (“The Vampire Bat”/”Mama Loves Papa”) smoothly handles the gentle domestic comedy, while writer Richard Flournoy does a decent job with the uncomplicated script.

The likable couple, with him getting into jams and the wife getting him out of them, are reminders of small-town America back in the 1930s. The comedy centers around the bumbling Dagwood Bumstead (Arthur Lake) and his ditzy blonde wife played by Penny Singleton, the real family boss, and their fun-loving young son Baby Dumpling (Larry Simms) and their cute pet dog Daisy. The harried Dagwood loses his sales job on the eve of his and Blondie’s fifth anniversary, and when he is in a hotel trying to sign a deal with an ornery businessman, C. P. Hazlip (Gene Lockhart), in order to get back his job from his temperamental boss Mr. Dithers (Jonathan Hale), Blondie doesn’t believe that the businessman’s daughter (Ann Doran) is really his daughter and mistakenly thinks Dagwood is chasing after another woman in the hotel. In the end, Blondie gets corrected and straightens out the mess created by the misunderstanding.

Arthur Lake, Larry Simms, Penny Singleton, and Daisy in Blondie (1938)