Dagwood is tricked into buying some swamp-land for Mr. Radcliffe, his boss, and, as a result, is demoted to office boy. However when Radcliffe discovers the lands real value he rushes to the Bumstead home to prevent Dagwood from re-selling the land back to the crooks. Blondie is way ahead of both men on getting this handled. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
BLONDIE'S REWARD (Columbia, 1948), directed by Abby Berlin, the 23rd installment to the popular series based on Chic Young's "Blondie" comic strip, ranks one of the least memorable, but overlooking its familiarity, a satisfactory merry-mix-up scenario taken from what's supposed to be Dagwood's time off from work.
The story opens with Blondie (Penny Singleton) and Dagwood (Arthur Lake), along with their teenage son, Alexander (Larry Simms) and daughter, Cookie (Marjorie Kent) having their morning breakfast together. Unlike other mornings, Dagwood does not have to rush out of the house to catch his bus off to work for that Blondie has arranged for his boss, George M. Radcliffe (Jerome Cowan) in giving him the day off. Instead of spending time loafing around, Blondie provides Dagwood's day of rest with a handful of chores to do. He starts off the day shellacking the living room floor. After completing that, Dagwood finds himself cornered on the wrong side, but thanks to Alvin Fuddow (Danny Mummert), the "boy genius" from next door, Dagwood takes his advice by opening the window behind him and climbing out, resulting from a passing policeman (Frank Sully) mistaking him for a burglar. After that's settled, Dagwood later plays football with Alexander and the neighborhood boys, coached by a college football star named Ted Scott (Ross Ford) who happens to be Alvin's cousin. As he is to make a forward pass, Dagwood knocks down both the postman (Eddie Acuff) and Mr. Radcliffe (Jerome Cowan), who happened to stop by, and Dagwood's day of rest by asking him to become his "dummy" in a big real estate deal. Naturally Dagwood obliges and naturally, and unwittingly, purchases worthless property from a couple of crooks, Ed Vance (Frank Jenks) and Bill Cooper (Chick Chandler). When Radcliffe learns of the blunder, instead of traditionally firing him, he has him demoted to office boy, thus, giving Dagwood's job and office to the overjoyed Ollie (Jack Rice). When Dagwood is unable to obtain real estate plans from Radcliffe's client, John Dixon (Paul Harvey), as a favor to Dagwood, Ted offers to get them. In doing so, Ted, mistaken for Dagwood Bumstead, meets Dixon's attractive daughter, Alice (Gay Nelson). When he finds Alice's jealous fiancé speaking harshly to her, Ted losing his temper and socks him into the swimming pool. Feeling he's cost Bumstead his job, Ted makes a hasty departure. Pleased from what has occurred, Dixon agrees in doing business with Radcliffe only after offering Bumstead his congratulations. Complications arise with Ted believed to be Dagwood; Mr. Dixon wanting Dagwood to show him his boxing technique; and the two crooks, discovering the property isn't worthless after all, wanting to get back the deed before Dagwood's discovers its worth. And what is Blondie's reward? Stay tuned to find out.
Others in the cast include Alyn Lockwood as Mary, the switchboard girl; Daisy, the Bumstead dog, and Chester Clute as LeRoy J. Blodget. While not as memorable as some of the better entries, it's easy to confuse BLONDIE'S REWARD with some of the other ones, especially its use of familiar faces as Paul Harvey, Frank Jenks and Chick Chandler, all having appeared in earlier segments, assuming different character roles this time around. Eddie Acuff resumes his portrayal as the doomed mailman who avoids getting run over by Dagwood during delivery time, a role he's acquired since LEAVE IT TO BLONDIE (1945). This time he's addressed as Mr. Johnson instead of Mr. Beasley. It appears that Edward Bernds, the screen writer, wasn't very consistent with his characters from one film to the next. He would assume the task as director for the duration of the series, with this, being the ninth and final under Abby Berlin.
Weak entry redeemed somewhat by its leading players familiar with both their characters and material, and Alvin's amusing finish involving barbells.
Formerly distributed on video cassette through Barr Entertainment (King Features), BLONDIE'S REWARD, along with 27 other films in the series, aired on American Movie Classics from 1996 to 2001. Next installment: BLONDIE'S BIG DEAL(1949) (**)
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