Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Columbia "Blondie" film series

Recently, Turner Classic Movies aired the first six Blondie movies. Starring Arthur Lake as Dagwood, Penny Singleton as Blondie, Larry Simms as Baby Dumpling and Jonathan Hale as Mr. Dithers, these high quality films are a cornerstone of the family sitcom genre, and hold up very well, with classic comedy that is as funny today as it was in the 1930s and 40s.   It was great to see them on television again, but I'm disappointed TCM aired the edited TV prints. When AMC aired the Blondie film series about 15 years ago (back when AMC was an alternative to TCM and likewise didn't air commercials), many of the films were restored with the original Columbia titles and a couple minutes of footage edited out of the TV prints.


I hope Sony Pictures (Columbia's parent company) and King Features (or its parent company Hearst) will team up to restore all 28 Blondie movies to their original state, with the Columbia titles and missing footage restored, and release it in HD in a Blu-ray box set.

Icing on the cake would be to include bonus discs of all the episodes of the two short lived Blondie TV series from 1957 and 1968. The former with Arthur Lake reprising his role as Dagwood and Pamela Britton taking over the role of Blondie, included 27 episodes plus a pilot filmed in 1954 with Hal Leroy as Dagwood.
The latter was in color, and starred Will Hutchins as Dagwood, Patricia Hardy as Blondie, Jim Backus as Mr. Dithers, Pamelyn Ferdin as daughter Cookie, and had Bruce Lee as a guest star in one episode.  Only 14 episodes were produced.

 
And perhaps some extra bonus features could be Meet The Family, Arthur Lake's own 1954 Blondie-inspired pilot co-starring his real life wife and kids, and may be a few of Lake's silent two-reel shorts from the 1920s.

You can voice support for such a project by emailing Hearst/King Features at
kfs-public-relations@hearst.com
and Sony/Columbia at
consumer@SPHECustomerSupport.sony.com
and
SPE_Feedback@spe.sony.com

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