The characters in the films are the familiar ones from the comic strip. The main characters were of course Dogwood and and his wife Blondie. Their neigbors are Herb and Tootsie Woodley. Soon a baby arrives, named "Baby Dumpling" who eventually becomes Alexander. He has a friend that appeared in some of the films. Baby Dumpling in the films tends to be wise beyond his years. Next their daughter named Cookie. The family is complete with thei dog--Daisy. Other important characters are Mr. Beasley (the mailman), Elmo Tuttle (a neighborhood kid who likes Dagwood), Cora Dithers (who dominates her husband ), and Lou (who owns the diner where Dagwood eats lunch). HBC is of course primarily interested in the children.
Alvin Fuddle was Baby Dumpling's friend and pesky neighbor boy. Alvin looks older than Baby Dumpling, but they were actually about the same age. Alvin was played by Danny Mummert who was only about a year older than Larry Simms. Alvin in the comix strip was a comic foil for Dagwood. He actually appeared in the Blondie films before Baby Dumpling. Atfirst both boys wore short pants, although Bavy Dumpling wore more juvenile shorts as can be seenhere (figure 1). Actuallay the boys were very close in age. Danny was a bout a year older. For a while Baby Dumpling who began called by his oroper nne (Alexander) continued to wear shorts wjile Danny wore long pants. Behvior and not just age may have been a fctor here. Baby Dumoling/Alexander was always betterhaved thanlvin who was a kind if smart akeck ommedy foil to the befullded Dagwood,
Baby Dupling (Larry Simms) plays his role with a dead-pan maturity. He also was given Dagwood's trademark center hair part from the beginning. His dead-pan approach of course comes from the comic strip where the pkatfalls all from his father--Dagwood. Baby Dumpling is often dressed very stylishly in the films. I'm not sure that comes from the comic strip. A German reader writes, "'Baby Dumpling' sounds not very nice. Do you know why he is called like this?" Well actually it is very nice--a sweet littke baby name. Of course it is inappropriate for a boy pass the toddler years, even some toddlers would not have liked it. I am not really sure why it was used in the films. Perhaps because it was still used in the comic strip. "Dumpling" of course is a rouded mass of dough cooked up in stews--very tasty and fattening. It seems to have appeared in the English language in the late 16th century. It came to mean a short, stout person and eventually a term of endearment. At the time the comuic strip and movie came out, a fat, plump baby was considered a healthy baby. Thus a baby might be called a "little dunpling". Men also used the term for girl friends and wives. Thus the term made sence when Alexander was a baby and they just continued usung the term. Blondie" is a very old comic strip, dating from 1930. She began as a flapper, but morphed into a basic American housewife by the late-1930s. We suspect it was a name given to him as an infant and to be cute, the cartoonist continued to use it and the film just picked it up. After he began school, they began using Alexander.
Cookie appears after Baby Dumpling in 'Blondie's Blessed Event' (1942). She was played by Marjorie Ann Mutchie. Like Baby Dumpling, she grew up in the Blondie series. And like her older brother has become a perpetual teenager in the comic strip. Of course in the films the children actually age.
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