The Bumstead family is all set to take a long-awaited vacation, but office trickery, counterfeiters, a petty thief, the loss of their suitcases and other complications, including Daisy getting impounded, keep delaying them. But Blondie takes charge and they wind up with an extra week of vacation time. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
BLONDIE'S SECRET (Columbia, 1948), directed by Edward Bernds, reunites the Chic Young comic strip family on screen for the 24th time in another one of their madcap adventures. The title might indicate something interesting about Blondie's past, namely being married before and having a long lost husband appearing at their front door, which this is not the case, although might have made a good story. So, what is Blondie's secret anyway? First off, let's examine the situations involved this time around.
Blondie (Penny Singleton) and Dagwood (Arthur Lake) have been planning their long-awaited vacation to Lake Hokapola with their children, Alexander (Larry Simms) and Cookie (Marjorie Kent) all summer, but thanks to Dagwood's boss, Mr. Radcliffe (Jerome Cowan), responsible for having it postponed three times already, is about to do it to them a fourth time. It's now September and summer nearly over. Radcliffe talks Dagwood into correcting the blueprints for Mr. Whiteside (Thurston Hall), a prominent client, but how to tell Blondie. With much persuasion, Blondie agrees to put off their vacation for one more day, and no more. The plans are then completed, but after Whiteside examines them, he finds more errors that puts Radcliffe in a tough situation. Would he dare cancel the Bumstead's vacation again? Fellow employee Ollie Merton (Jack Rice) agrees to help Radcliffe by breaking into the Bumstead home during the night and stealing their luggage, which would prevent them from going anyway. While carrying out his plan, a sudden noise awakens Daisy, the Bumstead dog, causing her to run over to the living room and bite the seat of Ollie's pants as he's climbing out the window. Ollie's plan has succeeded now that the Bumsteads are homebound and Dagwood has no other choice but to come to the office and perfect the blueprints for Mr. Whiteside. Things start to really get complex when Alvin Fuddow (Danny Mummert), the Bumstead's next door neighbor, suggests to Mrs. Bumstead the only way to capture the burglar is to make it known through a radio broadcast that Daisy is rabid, causing the culprit to seek a physician once he hears the news. The plan backfires as Daisy is picked up and sent to the pound for examination. Blondie is told the only way to get Daisy back is for the culprit to come forward, or else the pooch will have to be put to sleep. Will the Bumsteads ever get to go on their vacation? Not without their Daisy. And if that's not enough. While at the butcher shop, Blondie and another customer, Mona (Greta Grandstadt) unwittingly switch purses, with Blondie picking up the one containing counterfeit money. In order to retrieve her purse, Mona and her mobster friends (Murray Alper and William "Bill" Phillips) attempt to break into the Bumstead home while the Bumsteads are asleep to make the switch, the very same night Ollie is to sneak in and return the luggage, leading to enough disturbance to wake up the entire neighborhood. By this time Blondie discovers something that's to become her secret from Dagwood.
While gags and all else concerned appear to be overly familiar, since the "Blondie" series has reached its tenth year on screen, BLONDIE'S SECRET is actually not a bad entry, reminiscent to a good comedy short, thanks to Edward Bernds, in his debut as the series director, in keeping the pace moving and story interesting, even when situations become too complex with enough situations squeezed into 69 minutes of screen time. As usual, Arthur Lake as Dagwood provides the most laughs, especially when awaken due to the commotion downstairs, going downstairs to investigate with his pants put on backwards. Even when Dagwood breaks into tears at the office after learning Daisy may have to be put to sleep is done with humor and a touch of sentiment, especially when crying like a squeaking mouse.
Also seen in the supporting cast are Frank Orth as Mr. Philpont; Alyn Lockwood as Mary, the switchboard operator; Eddie Acuff as Mr. Beasley, the postman; Edward Gargan as the butcher; and Grandon Rhodes as Ken Marcy, among others.
Formerly available on video cassette through King Features, BLONDOE'S SECRET, along with 27 others in the series, had a successful run (1996-2000) on American Movie Classics cable television. How did this series get to last this long? Well, that's Blondie's Secret. Next installment: BLONDIE'S BIG DEAL (1949) (**1/2)
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