Blondie on a Budget

Larry Simms, Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake and Rita

A Columbia Picture (1940)

Producer: Robert Sparks
Director: Frank R. Strayer

Screenplay: Richard Flourney,
based on story by Charles Molyneaux Brown
and the Chic Young comic strip characters

Penny Singleton as Blondie Bumstead
Arthur Lake as Dagwood Bumstead
Rita Hayworth as Joan Forrester
Larry Simms as Baby Dumpling
Danny Mummert as Alvin Fuddle
Don Beddoe as Marvin Williams

Gowns by Kalloch

Black and White, 72 mins. running time

Blondie on a Budget was the fifth installment of Columbia's successful Blondie series, which was based on the comic strip by Chic Young. This entertaining series ran for over twenty years and featured in guest starring roles future stars like Larry Parks (Blondie Goes to College) and Glenn Ford (Blondie Plays Cupid), two of Rita's later co-stars.

This cute story begins in the Bumstead residence with Blondie (Penny Singleton) figuring out the family budget while Dagwood (Arthur Lake) figures a way to get $200 out of her, in order to join a trout club. When he finally voices this request, Blondie shows him an ad for a fur jacket she's been wanting but that they can't afford. Shortly after this exchange, Joan Forrester (Rita Hayworth), an old flame of Dagwood's, arrives at the Bumstead's doorstep. Blondie's jealousy is immediately aroused. To get Dagwood out of the house, away from Joan, she sends him off to the trout club. But she can't keep Joan in the house once Dagwood leaves. Joan volunteers to drive him to the club.

Now that she has Dagwood to herself, instead of dropping him off to meet his fishing pals, she takes him to Lover's Lane for a "heart to heart" talk. Later, the two are finally on their way to the club when her car breaks down and has to be towed. Joan talks Dagwood into going to see a movie while the car is being fixed. The theater is holding a raffle with a prize of $200 and Dagwood enters his name in the drawing. Back at home, he tells a suspicious Blondie that his afternoon was spent fishing. Later that night, Dagwood receives a call from the theater manager informing him he has won the prize. Dagwood feels guilty about having lied to Blondie earlier, so he decides to use his winnings to buy her the coat she has wanted, rather to join the trout club.

Dagwood wants the coat to be a surprise, so he doesn't tell Blondie. She goes to the store to admire the coat once again and finds Dagwood and Joan there together. Joan had accompanied him to the department store so he would be sure to get the right size for Blondie. Seeing Joan trying her coat on and Dagwood pulling out money, Blondie gets the wrong idea and decides to leave Dagwood. Later he arrives at the house with his surprise and finds a note from Blondie saying she is leaving him, and going to Reno. Meanwhile at the bus depot, Blondie decides she's not going to let any woman steal her man away. She returns home, finds Dagwood alone and soon realizes she had no reason to mistrust Dagwood. Blondie has her dream coat and the Bumstead's are a happy couple again.

Blondie on a Budget is an entertaining tale and one of the most memorable of the Blondie series. Rita was a rising starlet when she played the glamorous Joan Forrester. She was one of Columbia Pictures' most promising contract players, and an appearance in this popular series was a ideal way to bring her to the public's attention.

Arthur Lake and Rita Hayworth in Blondie on a Budget
Rita and Arthur, as Joan and Dagwood, arrive at "Lover's Lane".

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