Monday, May 24, 2010

Blondie Has Servant Trouble - 1940

Here’s an ad for “Blondie Has Servant Trouble” (1940), the sixth of a whopping 28 movies in the “Blondie” series. They don’t crank them out like that anymore.

Penny Singleton made her name and fame playing the newspaper cartoon character come to life, (she later went on to voice the animated cartoon character Jane Jetson). Arthur Lake was her bumbling husband Dagwood of the mighty sandwich and unmanageable cowlick. We are reminded in these B-movies that their son was called Baby Dumpling long before he was re-christened Alexander in the comic strip.

Penny Singleton was one of those workhorse actresses who began in vaudeville and plied her trade in whatever medium she could for every decade. She was also a noted performers’ union leader back in the day, and also holds the dubious distinction of being one of those Non-Entities whose names were left off the memorial tribute during the Oscar telecast, in this case it was in 2004 for the deaths of the previous year. You could probably make a parlor game of compiling the names of all the Nobodies Oscar has sent to oblivion.

Banished from official recognition perhaps, but not forgotten by us.


Raquelle said...

I love Penny Singleton when she was Dorothy McNulty and I'm so glad that the Blondie films are now available on DVD. Im excited to see them. And you are so right, they don't crank em out like they used to.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Banished from official recognition perhaps, but not forgotten by us.

Amen to that. We hold Ms. Singleton in extremely high regard over at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear as the time of her passing, I was getting quite a few hits because I was one of the few individuals who honored her with an obit.

Three non-Blondie movies stand out on Penny's resume: After the Thin Man (1936), Hard to Get (1938; she's hysterical as a family maid who impersonates daughter Olivia de Havilland) and Go West, Young Lady (1941), a comedy-western romp directed by Blondie auteur Frank Strayer.

Caftan Woman said...

I have seen Penny often in "After the Thin Man", and also in "Boy Meets Girl" and "The Mad Miss Manton". I have never in all my life seen any of the fabled "Blondie" movies. Through ill-fortune our paths have never crossed. I feel like a great gap in my movie viewing has yet to be filled.

When we get around to the parlour game, in both Charles Lane and Bruce Bennett passed in 2007. Movie legends who reached the century mark in age somehow forgotten by the Academy devoted to their profession.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Hey, gang, I'm so pleased see all these Penny Singleton fans. Ivan, that was a lovely tribute, thanks so much for the link. (Gotta see "Hard to Get".)

My gosh, Caftan Woman, you're right! They forgot Charles Lane! THE Charles Lane! That went right by me at the time, and I revere him as a god. Sort of. Maybe it's just a crush. Jeez. Charles Lane, my hero, banished to Oscar oblivion. I need chocolate.

Raquelle, they're on DVD? Hooray. So much for "Blondie" being banished to oblivion. As Yosemite Sam used to say, "That'll learn 'em."

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