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"Blondie" was the first of two television series based on the comic
strip of the same title created by Chic Young. The first of these aired
on NBC-TV on January 4,1957 and was produced by Hal Roach Studios in
association with King Features Syndicate. Although actress Penny
Singleton had starred in most of the "Blondie" movies,the series
starred Pamela Britton in the title role while Arthur Lake played
Britton's husband Dagwood. The series produced 26 episodes until it was
canceled on July 5,1957.
Fast forward eleven years later...after the first "Blondie" series was canceled.
CBS attempted to revive a new version of the classic Chic Young comic strip character that was also short-lived as well,but with a different cast. This new version titled "The New Blondie" ran for 14 episodes, in color and was produced by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher along with Norman Abbott,the same producers who produced "Leave It To Beaver",and "The Munsters",were behind this series which was produced for King Features Syndicate in collaboration with Kayro Productions, MCA-TV/Universal Television for CBS-TV that ran from September 26,1968 until January 9, 1969. The executive producer for this series was Al Brodax.
The new version of "Blondie" starred Patricia Harty in the title role. Actor Will Hutchins(originally from the 1950's western series Sugarfoot)was cast as Blondie's husband Dagwood Bumstead,while actor Jim Backus played Mr. Dithers(Dagwood's boss at work)alongside at the time his real-wife Henny Backus,who played Cora Dithers. The series is also known for its opening scene,which featured the comic strip characters in animated form before transforming into the actors playing the characters, Like the 1957 version,this one would be short-lived due to some competition when the network put the show onto its tough Thursday night schedule opposite "Daniel Boone" and "The Flying Nun". Furthermore,television audiences were more into "Daniel Boone" than they were into "Blondie",and the show was canceled on January 9, 1969 after 14 episodes. The show that was brought in as a midseason replacement included repeated episodes of "Family Affair" the week of January 16, 1969.
QUITE SHORT LIVED at only 13 Episodes, this 1968-69 flash in the pan
was indeed the second BLONDIE TV Series. The first series fared not
much better racking up a whole 26 Episodes; but even so, it had Arthur
Lake; who had originated the role of Dagwood in the Series of BLONDIE
"B" Movies in the late '30s and the '40s. Pamela Britton replaced Penny
Singleton as Blondie.
POSSIBLY THE LACK of ratings was due to scheduling, as things were highly competitive then and getting even more so. We can't recall what was the opposition, though; but it was most likely a superior product.
WE DID WATCH a few installments, hoping for a great Comic page to TV adaptation and it probably would have fared better at an earliest time slot or perhaps as part of the Saturday Morning Kiddie's Cartoon Cavalcade. We can only offer conjecture in this area of "what might have been."
AS FAR AS the casting is concerned, Will Hutchins as Dagwood and the former Mrs. Wilbur from MISTER ED, Patricia Harty, were fine as the Bumsteads. As far as the kids, well kids are kids and they were at least adequate; as was "Daisy."
WE DID HAVE serious questions about installing the multi-talented and very personable Mr. Jim Backus as J.C. Dithers. As Mr. Magoo's voice-yes, as Millionaire Thurston Howell-yes, but he just did not look at all the part of Mr. Dithers; as did former essayers of the part, Jonathon Hale (Columbia Movies) and Florenz Ames (1957 TV Series).
WHATEVER THE CASE, this BLONDIE came and went without nary a notice. Why we bet that an awful lot of baby boomers have no recollection of this at all.
MAYBE WE JUST dreamed it all up!
NOTE: OMISSIONS & CORRECTIONS Dept. We were recently corrected for stating that this series' BLONDIE, Patricia Harty, also had portrayed Alan Young's Wife on the MISTER ED Series; when, in actuality, Mrs. Wilbur Post was in real life, Connie Hines.
FOR THIS, WE are heartily sorry. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa!
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