You might be surprised to learn that originally Dagwood Bumstead was a playboy from a wealthy family and Blondie Boopadoop was a slightly slutty flapper who liked to hang around dance halls.
Dagwood’s family threatened to disinherit him if he married her. But Dagwood was Dagwood and they were married.
This was during the Great Depression and the head of the syndicate that carried the strip suggested to the artist, Chic Young, that the disinherited newlyweds should live a simple life, reflecting ordinary people of the day.
So Dagwood got a job, they bought the two story house in the suburbs where they still live today and they got a dog of indeterminate breed that they named Daisy. A companion dog from the beginning, Daisy was involved in all the family activities as she appears in most of the panels set in their home.
Their son Alexander, called Baby Dumpling for a long time, was born in 1934. Not to be outdone, Daisy soon had five puppies, four girls and a bratty boy called Elmer. Daisy’s puppies appeared in strips for years without changing, but either Daisy got tired of them or the artist got tired of drawing them and they disappeared.
Daisy, however, has remained unchanged through the years. Like most of our dogs, she likes to be part of her owner’s lives, napping on the floor while Dagwood sleeps on the couch or helping Blondie in the kitchen. Daisy is always aware of and reacts to what is going on in her family.
I like to read the strip and then go back and look at what Daisy is doing in each panel. In last Sunday's strip she totally gets the joke they are playing.
There have been a few changes to the strip through the years. Chic Young passed the strip on to his son, Dean. Dagwood rides in a carpool instead of rushing for the trolley. Blondie is running her own catering business. The furniture has been simple without many changes through the years, a couch, two easy chairs, a bed, a night stand and a kitchen table. The kitchen has been updated, however. The phone chest is the same. The phone has been updated though it still hasn’t gone cordless.
But a lot remains unchanged, Dagwood’s cowlicks (inherited by Alexander), Blondie’s flapper hairdo and tiny waistline, Mr. Dithers and his bossy wife Cora, Herb and Tootsie next door, the morning rush to get to work and the run-ins with the postman, Mr. Beasley, the humongous sandwiches, the bathtub, the naps, little Elmo, and…Daisy.
Most of all Daisy.