Dagwood Bumstead quits his job when his long-awaited vacation is postponed. Blondie asks J.C. Dithers to give Dagwood his job back, and Dithers agrees but on the condition that Blondie take charge of the office while he is in Washington closing a deal. Dagwood, left to tend the house while Blondie goes to work, succumbs to a neighbor's suggestion to go fishing and leaves Baby Dumpling in care of Blondie's sister, Dot, in town for a jitterbug contest. While fishing, Dagwood meets two entertainers from the Garden Cafe and when one of them, Francine, almost overturns the boat, Dagwood grabs to save her, and the "glutch" is photographed. Blondie has the film from Dagwood's camera developed, and Dithers wires her to buy some land owned by the Garden Club proprietor before he learns that it has been approved as the site of the new airport. Enroute, she picks up the developed film. Dagwood has wandered off to play pool, and Dot and her boy friend, Freddie, take Baby Dumpling with them to the... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
BLONDIE MEETS THE BOSS (Columbia, 1939), directed by Frank R. Strayer, the second installment to the long running domestic comedy series based on Chic Young's ever popular comic strip, is a misleading title, giving the indication that this is the first time the title character, Blondie, has never come across Dagwood's boss, Mr. Dithers, which in fact, they've already known each other as indicated in its debut film, BLONDIE (1938). Alternate titles such as "Blondie Meets With the Boss" or "Office Wife Blondie," might have served its purpose, however, it's not the title that matters really, but the comedic situations the Bumsteads get themselves into, in this case what happens when husband and wife switch jobs (Dagwood the house husband and Blondie the office wife) for a few days.
The story opens typically at the breakfast table as the Bumsteads, Dagwood (Arthur Lake), Blondie (Penny Singleton) and Baby Dumpling (Larry Simms) prepare themselves and looking forward to their upcoming vacation away from home, followed by Dagwood rushing out the front door to catch his bus to the office and bumping into the neighborhood postman (Irving Bacon). While at the office, everything seems to be going well on his last day before vacation time until Dagwood is told by Mr. Dithers (Jonathan Hale) that he is needed at the office and vacation plans are to be postponed until he settles an important construction deal while in Washington. Because he hasn't had a vacation in two years, Dagwood refuses and resigns. After returning home with the news, Blondie, the helpful wife as she is, leaves Dagwood in apron, broom and the household chores while she goes to the office to speak to Dithers. Dithers agrees to take Bumstead back under the condition that, wanting to teach Dagwood a lesson, has Blondie take her husband's place during his absence. After Dithers informs Dagwood of his plan, the humiliated Dagwood decides to teach Blondie a lesson by leaving the household chores and babysitting under the care of Blondie's visiting sister, "Dot" (Dorothy Moore) and her boyfriend Freddie (Joel Dean), who have arrived in town to stay at the house and practice for the upcoming jitterbug dance contest, and go fishing with his neighbor, Marvin Williams (Don Beddoe). Guilt sets in for Dagwood when Marvin invites Francine Rogers (Linda Winters) and Betty Lou Walters (Inez Courtney), singers of the Garden Club, to accompany them. More complications follow leading to Blondie's accusing Dagwood of infidelity after finding a photograph of him on a boat with Francine, while Dagwood, trying to retrieve Baby Dumpling at the Garden Club from Dot and Freddie, meets up with Francine and spotted there by Blondie, who happens to be there to settle a business deal for Dithers. The highlight of the evening occurs with Dagwood, in a confusing state of mind after getting hit on the head with a purse by Blondie, to accidentally step onto the dance floor of the jitterbug contest, filling in for Freddie, who walked out on Dot, whose unusual style of dancing makes it possible for Dot to win the dance contest. More fun and confusion continue before Mr. Dithers returns with surprising news.
Familiar faces appearing in smaller roles include Eddie Acuff as the peddler; William B. Davidson as the night club patron; Wallis Clark as Henry W. Philpont; George Chandler as the laundry man; Edward Gargan as the Night Club Bouncer; Grady Sutton as the film processor; and Stanley Brown as Dagwood's co-worker, Ollie Shaw, who takes an interest in Blondie more ways than one. "You Had It Coming to You" by Sam Lerner and Ben Oakland is introduced during the night club sequence by Skinney Ennis and his Band performing.
Slow going and predictable at times, mostly during its first half, BLONDIE MEETS THE BOSS is a satisfactory entry with several funny bits to go around, especially by Daisy, the Bumstead pooch, raising her ears at times of astonishment. Aside from the "running gag" involving the poor postman's attempt to deliver the morning mail only to meet up with Bumstead as he rushes out of the house, there's a neat twist of delight for him as Blondie does the exact same thing, only leaving lipstick print on his cheek. He says to Dagwood, "You know, Mr. Bumstead. I like it better this way." Then there's little Alvin Fuddle (Danny Mummert), Baby Dumpling's best friend who lives next door, showing off his intelligence by spelling Mississippi forwards and backwards. He's around during the early portion of the story and is not seen or heard from again, until the next installments, anyway.
Distributed on commercial television in the 1970s with new opening and closing credits from King Features, the original theatrical opening credits has been restored and presented that way when aired on American Movie Classics from 1996 to 2001. Its availability on video and DVD doesn't include the original opening, but is sure to be purchased regardless by fans of the series. Next installment: "Blondie Takes a Vacation." Finally. (**1/2)
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