60th Anniversary of Blondie

Today marks the 60th anniversary of NBC sitcom Blondie, which debuted January 4th, 1957. It was the first of two television adaptations of Chic Young’s long-running comic strip. I should say the first successful TV adaptation because two unsold pilots came before it, the first in 1952 (with Jeff Donnell as Blondie and Glenn Vernon as Dagwood) and the second in 1954 (with Pamela Britton as Blondie and Hal LeRoy as Dagwood).

Black and white image from the 1957 TV version of Blondie, featuring Pamela Britton as Blondie
Pamela Britton as Blondie

The third version brought back Britton as Blondie. Arthur Lake, who portrayed Dagwood in a long-running film series from 1938 to 1950, returned to his famous role. Stuffy Singer and Ann Barnes played the Bumstead children, Alexander and Cookie. Rounding out the cast were Florenz Ames as J. C. Dithers, Elvia Allman as Cora Dithers, Hal Peary as Herb Woodley, and Hollis Irving as Harriet Woodley.

NBC aired a total of 26 episodes of Blondie between January and June 1957. To be honest, I’ve only watched a handful. Like so many sitcoms, it can perhaps be best described as harmless.

Black and white image from the 1957 TV version of Blondie featuring Arthur Lake as Dagwood
Arthur Lake as Dagwood

As far as I know, the series isn’t in the public domain but there have been a few questionable VHS and DVD releases. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can find many of the episodes on YouTube. The video quality isn’t great but that’s typical for YouTube.

Read more about the 1957 version of Blondie in my Blondie on TV article.

Do you remember watching Blondie on NBC in 1957 or in syndication in the years following its network run? Hit the comments with your memories.

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4 Replies to “60th Anniversary of Blondie”

  1. I am glad you mentioned the two pilots. A few years ago I saw online in an old copy of Variety from about 1952 a mention about a new Blondie series. However, I only knew of this one and the 1968 version, so I was puzzled. However, this article explains that only a pilot was filmed, and it never made it to a series. I remember watching some episodes of the 1957 version back in the 1980’s. It aired at midnight or 1:00 AM or so on CBN, I believe. I think your description of it as “harmless” is accurate. It is too bad this comic strip was never able to achieve the success on TV that it did in the movies.

  2. Shows like this & LIFE OF RILEY proved to me that the Golden Age of TV wasn’t always so golden. I saw RILEY a few times on CBN & tired of it after just seeing a few episodes, how stupid he was, etc, and how it typified the type of family sitcom which Bob Newhart refused to do. (“Daddy’s the dummy but we love him!”)
    BLONDIE was another story entirely. I came across it on CBN around the same time & changed the channel as soon as I heard Dagwood’s voice! It looked like another sitcom in the RILEY mold though.

  3. There was also a special done in 1987 in an apparent attempt to do the show animated, much the same way Peanuts and Garfield were adapted.

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