BLONDIE'S LUCKY DAY (Columbia, 1946), directed by Abby Berlin, the 17th installment on the trials and tribulations of the Bumstead family, may have a "good luck" sounding title to it, however, this being another theatrical episode based on Chic Young's comic strip, is easily an agreeable and amusing chapter. No, the plot doesn't have Blondie reading her horoscope in the newspaper and finding out it's her lucky day, nor one where she has a winning streak at the gambling table. The screenplay centers upon the common trend of the post war era, something borrowed from the likes of Samuel Goldwyn's THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), as to how the Bumsteads can do their part helping a returning veteran coping with civilian life and a new job to get started again. Unlike carbon copies, BLONDIE'S LUCKY DAY handles itself well in its straight comedy situations.
This time around, Mr. Dithers (Jonathan Hale) leaves his trusted employee, Dagwood Bumstead (Arthur Lake) in charge of the office during his three week absence, thus, finding certain fellow employees, namely Ollie Merlin (Jack Rice), Dagwood's office rival, to take advantage of the situation. As Mayor Richard Denby (Charles Arnt) invites all local businessmen to attend a special seminar, in conclusion asking them to assist returning war veterans by putting them on their payroll and an invitation to dinner. Dagwood, blending in nicely seated between executive-types while attempting to smoke a cigar, is the third in line to hire a vet. Unlike the previous two, Dagwood's soldier turns out to be Sergeant McDervitt, a WAC answering to the name of Betty Jane (Angelyn Orr). Hiring her to work at the Dithers Construction Company is one thing, but taking her home for dinner is another, considering his wife, Blondie's (Penny Singleton) jealous nature. Things work out rather differently as Blondie welcomes her, considering how easily Mary Jane bonds with her children, Alexander (Larry Simms) and Cookie (Marjorie Kent), but once Mr. Dithers returns prematurely from his business trip, and unable to have additional employees on the payroll after losing an account, stirs up an argument between him and Blondie, leading him to dismiss both Dagwood and Mary Jane from the firm. Out of work (again!), Blondie persuades Dagwood to go into business for himself, which he does. Hoping to acquire new clients, he finds one with Jonathan Butler (Robert Stanton), actually mistaking him with the man he should be seeing, his business-minded father, Jonathan Butler Sr. (Paul Harvey). Because Old Man Butler put a stop to his son's allowance due to his carefree extravagances, young Butler masquerades as his father, taking full advantage of Dagwood's hospitality by letting him pay for all the meals at expensive restaurants, and being in good company with the attractive Miss McDervitt. Now being worse off financially that before, especially after Dagwood learns that Butler, who finds his blueprint work to be excellent, is unable to offer him the contract and support needed to succeed. However, Butler advises Dagwood to show his work to his father, but finds he's got stiff competition, Mr. Dithers. "Bloooondie!!!" Aside from the usual antics, BLONDIE'S LUCKY DAY sees the absence of two series regulars: Alvin Fuddow (Danny Mummert), and Mr. Beasley, the postman (Eddie Acuff). Bobby Larson fills in for Alvin in the role of Tommy Cooper, Alexander's new friend on the block for the second time around, while Frank Jenks takes the route as the new postman. Others in the cast include Frank Orth (The Salesman); and John Hamilton (Mr. Emery). At least Daisy is around for moral support and the lifting of her ears as an element of surprise. Robert Stanton and newcomer Angelyn Orr (in her only screen role) make a nice secondary couple without getting in the way of things with the Bumsteads.
In spite of so much yelling this time around, especially between Dithers and Blondie, Dithers does reveal how much respect he has for Blondie (meaning that he's tolerated Dagwood all these years because of her), but due to her interfering, he finds he must stand his ground and do what he feels is right, even firing her husband. This episode does show, for once, Dagwood taking the stand by preventing his wife's interference as he places his hand over her mouth, thus stifling her, before things get any worse. (Hooray for Dagwood!).
What is Blondie's Lucky Day? Probably the day she married Dagwood or possibly the day she was contracted by Columbia to appear in her own film series. BLONDIE'S LUCKY DAY, formerly a Sunday highlight on American Movie Classics from 1996 to 2000, was formerly available on video cassette through King Feature. Next in the series: BLONDIE KNOWS BEST (1946) (***)
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