Blondie was created by my father, Chic Young, in 1930. Blondie began her cartoon life in the same flighty, pretty-girl flapper image of my father’s earlier strips (some of which, in his own words, were better not remembered!).
For historical purposes, they were: The Affairs of Jane, Beautiful Bab, and Dumb Dora (appropriately subtitled, She’s Not So Dumb As She Looks). Anyway, Blondie Boopadoop was a gorgeous flapper who had a ton of boyfriends...one of whom was Dagwood Bumstead. Dagwood, in those days, was the bumbling, playboy son of billionaire railroad tycoon J. Bolling Bumstead. In his town, J. Bolling not only owned all of the property on his side of the track, but also all the property on the other side of the track....plus 3,000 more miles of the track!
Dagwood wasn’t exactly a successful playboy. For instance, his polo pony would stop and eat grass in the middle of the field during a chukker. And once, when he became lost in his own mansion, he experienced the humiliation of having to join a sightseeing tour to get back to the living room.
All of a sudden, the Great Depression was upon us. With families facing disaster, farms being foreclosed, tenants being dispossessed, and nothing on the horizon but despair...this comic strip about a flighty blonde and her boyfriend’s millions was not so funny anymore. The Blondie magic began to evaporate as more and more newspapers dropped the comic strip. Blondie was headed for ignominious doom and extinction.
Then, a miracle happened! Blondie and Dagwood fell in love. Really in love. More than any comic characters before them. They made plans to get married which, at the time, was a bold departure in comics.
So, in true storybook fashion, love conquered all obstacles. After a tumultuous engagement that included a 28-day, 7-hour, 8-minute, 22-second hunger strike, these two unlikely misfits tied the matrimonial knot in the memorable comic strip wedding scene of Feb. 17, 1933.
Dagwood, of course, was immediately disinherited by his parents for marrying “that gold digger blonde.” When J. Bolling wrote him out of his will, Dagwood and Blondie had to go out into the world and hack it like the rest of us.
Settling down to a modest lifestyle with children and a dog, they became concerned with real life: making ends meet, raising a family, eating and sleeping. And, these four same topics are still the primary ingredients of the strip to this very day.