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The Bumsteads: Time Out of Mind
lugonian24 April 2007
BLONDIE'S ANNIVERSARY (Columbia, 1947), directed by Abby Berlin, the 22nd theatrical release in the series based on Chic Young's popular comic strip characters ranks one of the few "Blondie" titles to actually be relevant to the story. For the first time since its initial entry, BLONDIE (1938), the subject matter of a wedding anniversary is mentioned. Unlike most series films that have been around for nearly a decade, the writers would naturally fall into a rut by remaking earlier material. As much as situations and gags have been reworked and revised, the "Blondie" series actually didn't fall into the category of redoing itself, although on a couple of occasions it re-invented itself, notably BLONDIE'S HERO (1950) which broke away from domestic situations by placing Dagwood in the Army Reserves.

The Blondie character was first introduced to the "funnies" in 1930. In 1933, Blondie married millionaire Dagwood Bumstead, who was disinherited by his family, thus, having to earn his own living like anybody else. In 1938, Columbia introduced Blondie and Dagwood to the screen in what developed into a very long series. Nearly ten years later comes BLONDIE'S ANNIVERSARY where Blondie (Penny Singleton) and Dagwood (Arthur Lake) are approaching their 15th wedding anniversary. Blondie is in her kitchen baking a cake for the big event, even humming to herself "The Anniversary Waltz." In the meantime, Dagwood accompanies his boss, George M. Radcliffe (Jerome Cowan) in landing a new business deal with Samuel A. Breckenridge (Grant Mitchell, reprising his role from 1947s BLONDIE'S HOLIDAY), the bank president who wants to contract Radcliffe in building a new hospital after having done such a splendid job constructing him a new bank. Radcliffe has taken a fancy to the bank president's attractive secretary, Gloria Stafford (Adele Jergens). After Dagwood accidentally breaks her watch and failing to undo his error, Radcliffe, hoping to get in good graces with Gloria, goes out and buys her a brand new $300 watch. He gives it to Dagwood to deliver it to Gloria the following morning. After returning home, Dagwood discovers that Blondie has found the watch, mistaking it for her anniversary gift. Unable to level with her, Ollie Merton (Jack Rice), Dagwood's co-worker, recommends borrowing money from "Sharkey" a loan-shark (William Frawley) and buying a new watch. With the loan, Dagwood purchases a second hand watch and substitutes that for Gloria. After putting it on her wrist, the watch falls apart, and because of it, Gloria angrily tells Radcliffe via telephone what she thinks of the gift. Due to the mishap, Dagwood loses his job and Radcliffe obtains the real watch from Blondie after telling her the situation. While Blondie is disappointed in Dagwood for forgetting their anniversary, Gloria is now happy with her new watch, and continues to play up to Radcliffe, but for reasons of her own, who turns out to be working undercover for Radcliffe's competitors, Burley (Edmund MacDonald) and Dalton (Fred Sears), with the intention of stealing Radcliffe's blueprints and a contract deal from Breckenridge. Because Dagwood is an expert blueprint designer, he is offered employment with Burley, thanks to Gloria. Dagwood works overtime for them until he overhears their scheme of using defective material on the hospital building. He later informs Burley that he wants out of their company, and tells him why (big mistake!). In order to keep Dagwood from informing to Radcliffe or Breckenridge, the crooks decide to put Dagwood out of circulation until the deal with Breckenridge is signed. Further developments occur as Sharkey looks for Bumstead in order to collect his loan as well as his very high interest rates, and Blondie's concern of Dagwood's disappearance.

Another occasionally amusing entry that leaves a lot to be desired. Arthur Lake can be frequently funny whenever a good script allows, even though his comic strip based character seldom emerges into a real person. However, his portrayal comes off as honest, yet gullible whenever confronting bad guys who attempt to convince him that he's mistaken about them. So trusting, he finds himself in a predicament locked inside their office standing with his feet encased in a block of cement, hands tied behind his back and mouth covered to keep him from calling out for help. At one point he loses balance, keels forward and lands on his head. Ouch! Unlike other long running film series, the "Blondie" comedies keep the same leading players throughout, with the exception of a few like Mr. Dithers replaced by Mr. Radcliffe, for example. In keeping the same players in their roles, loyal viewers get to notice physical changes occurring: Dagwood becoming slightly heavier in both face and body; Blondie already abandoning her traditional "Blondie" hairstyle in favor of more contemporary 1940s look; Alexander (Larry Simms), formerly Baby Dumpling, nearly the size of his screen parents, now speaking in deeper tone voice, as with his adolescent friend, Alvin Fuddow (Danny Mummert); Cookie (Marjorie Kent) still a child yet slightly taller; and Daisy, their dog, still looking relatively the same. What makes this particular series one of a kind is the fact that none of its lead actors were ever substituted by other actors enacting their roles in favor of fresh young faces. Also taking part of BLONDIE'S ANNIVERSARY are Alyn Lockwood (Mary, the switchboard girl); Eddie Acuff (Mr. Beasley, the postman); and Frank Wilcox (Mr. Carter).

BLONDIE'S ANNIVERSARY, along with 27 others in the series, formerly distributed on video cassette in the 1990s, aired on American Movie Classics from 1996 to 2002. Next in the series: BLONDIE'S REWARD (1948). Happy 15th Anniversary, Blondie and Dagwood.(**)
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7/10
Has its moments!
JohnHowardReid11 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Penny Singleton (Mrs. Blondie Bumstead), Arthur Lake (Dagwood Bumstead), Larry Simms (Alexander Bumstead), Marjorie Kent (Cookie Bumstead), Adele Jergens (Gloria Stafford), Jerome Cowan (George Radcliffe), Grant Mitchell (Samuel Breckenbridge), William Frawley (Sharkey), Edmund MacDonald (Burley), Fred F. Sears (Dalton), Jack Rice (Ollie Merton), Eddie Acuff (mailman), Alyn Lockwood (Mary), Larry Steers (Parker), Frank Wilcox (Carter), Paul E. Burns (tramp), Al Zeidman (bit), and "Daisy".

Director: ABBY BERLIN. Original screenplay: Jack Henley. Based on the characters created by Chic Young. Photography: Vincent Farrar. Film editor: Al Clark. Art director: George Brooks. Set decorator: William R. Kiernan. Music director: Mischa Bakaleinikoff. Producer: Burt Kelly.

Copyright 18 December 1947 by Columbia Pictures Corp. No recorded New York opening. U.S. release: 18 December 1947. U.K. release: 15 November 1948. Australian release: 26 August 1948. 7 reels. 5,977 feet. 66 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Dagwood's boss, hoping to obtain a large building contract from the local bank president, asks Dagwood to deliver a watch as a gift to the president's secretary. Complications arise when Blondie mistakes the watch for her own anniversary present.

NOTES: Number 22 of the 28-picture series.

COMMENT: Blondie's Anniversary continues the tradition established by "Blondie in the Dough" in that its title too is relevant to the plot. And it's nice to see our old sycophantic friend Jack Rice back in his accustomed role as Oliver Merton. It's also nice to see Fred F. Sears again, this time forsaking the role of the detective he played in "Blondie in the Dough" for a quite substantial part as one of a pair of get-rich-quick jerry builders (his partner Burley is the chief spokesman for the firm, well played by MacDonald).

Adele Jergens also has a meaty role and is photographed more attractively than Miss Singleton (a fact that Miss S. doubtless overlooked because Miss J.'s part is not a sympathetic one). And Grant Mitchell is back playing the same part he had in "Blondie's Holiday" — there is a slight reference to the fact in the dialogue, though Mitchell's attitude to Dagwood is not nearly as cordial as it should be.

Larry Simms has little to do and Miss Kent even less. But there are some further amusing variations on Eddie Acuff's mailman routine. William Frawley is also rather delightful as a loan shark. Cowan, however, tends to overact and thus over-emphasizes his slight material.

It all ends up much the same way as the previous film — no climax to speak of and Blondie seeing to it that Dagwood is re-instated. Still screenwriter Jack Henley has contrived a few samples of amusing dialogue with a sotto voce twist in the tail — "Only ten cents a day... on the dollar", "I told my wife everything... that's why she left me 20 years ago", and director Abby Berlin has given us (for him) a remarkably inventive montage sequence of Dagwood drafting plans — all tilted angles.

Otherwise the direction is as routinely competent as before (Fred F. Sears certainly didn't learn much about directing from working in Berlin's pictures), with the exception of a long tracking shot following Dagwood down the studio street. Other credits, and production values generally, rate okay.
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7/10
Dagwood ends up wearing concrete galoshes!
MartinHafer13 August 2017
This aptly named installment of the Blondie and Dagwood series finds Dagood in trouble because he's incredibly stupid. In other words, it's pretty typical of the films!! In this case, his boss, Mr. Radcliffe, is trying to kiss up to a potential client's secretary (Adele Jurgens) and he buys her a very expensive watch and asks Dagwood to deliver it. However, it happens to be Dagwood's anniversary and Blondie thinks the watch is for her. So, Dagwood does something rather dishonest...he buys a cheap imitation for the secretary. When the watch falls apart, Radcliffe is naturally angry and fires him.

Soon, the competition for a construction job hires Dagwood to do some drafting work. However, in the process Dagwood overhears them and their plans to build a shoddy and unsafe hospital and he cannot allow this and confronts the men...and ends up in concrete! What's next? See the film to discover if Dagwood goes for a swim.

In addition to femme fatale Adele Jurgens, another guest star is William Frawley, as Dagwood ALSO ends up working with this loan shark! Overall, an enjoyable outing...and pretty typical for the series.
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5/10
Oh, how we danced
bkoganbing23 December 2015
Poor Dagwood, in the past he's committed one flub after another and in the Bumstead tradition always manages to somehow come out on top because someone upstairs likes him. But in Blondie's Anniversary the ball starts rolling when his bachelor boss Jerome Cowan starts with his male member at the sight of Adele Jergens who is the secretary of Grant Mitchell who wants to hire Cowan's firm to build a hospital. What Cowan doesn't know is she's in league with a pair of unscrupulous contractors, Edmund MacDonald and Fred Sears, who will way underbid Cowan with the use of inferior materials.

It all starts to come apart when Cowan gives Arthur Lake money to buy an expensive watch for Jergens to get in good with her and with Mitchell. Lake buys the watch, but Penny Singleton thinks the watch is her anniversary present. That leads to all kinds of complications including Dagwood going to a loan shark played by William Frawley. Now that was Dagwood's decision and one of the worst he ever made in the history of the Blondie series.

Once again the Bumsteads prove they're the special interest in a merciful providence.
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5/10
Blondie's Anniveraary was a partly enjoyable entry in the series
tavm27 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is the twenty-second in the Blondie movie series. As the title implies, Blondie's been married to Dagwood for 15 years and is looking forward for her hubby to get her a gift. When Mr. Radcliffe-a bachelor-meets the secretary (Adele Jergens), he's instantly smitten and offers to buy her a new watch to replace her old one which is worthless to her. Dag is supposed to give it to her before coming to work the next day, but when Blondie sees it when he takes it home, well, you know...To tell the truth, I was a little underwhelmed by this one though there's some pretty funny scenes to look forward to. And it's not only a treat to see someone from a previous film in the series reprise a character but also someone else from another of the series' entries play another role as William Frawley-from Blondie in Society-plays a loan shark who threatens Dagwood! Notably missing from this entry is Danny Mummert as Alvin Fuddle with other characters replacing him this time. Oh, and Eddie Acuff's mailman initially doesn't get knocked down by Dag since he's fired early on in this one but when he gets another job, watch out!
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