After 58 years at home, Blondie is getting a job

August 22, 1991|By Chicago Tribune

This bulletin just in.

Next month Blondie Bumstead, wife of Dagwood Bumstead and mother of Alexander and Cookie Bumstead, will take a job outside the home.

In the World of Comics, this is big news.

King Features Syndicate Group, which distributes the strip to more than 2,000 newspapers -- including The Sunday Sun and The Evening Sun -- describes Blondie's decision to enter the workplace as "the biggest thing to happen to an American icon since Superman got married."

It's certainly a profound change in her lifestyle. Mrs. Bumstead has been a full-time homemaker for all 58 years of her marriage.

Her employment won't be used to examine women's-movement issues such as gender bias, sexual harassment and equal-pay-for-equal-work or to make statements about the economic pressures that have forced so many women to work. That's not Blondie's style.

And, you may be curious about the nature of Blondie's new career. Sorry, but we're not supposed to say.

Nonetheless, be prepared for all manner of media mentions, maybe even a loud blast now and then: The word is that Working Woman magazine is putting Blondie on the cover and that the network morning shows are eager to schedule a segment on the subject.

"I've been thinking about doing this for a couple of years," said "Blondie" cartoonist Dean Young, in a phone interview from his home in Clearwater, Fla.

"I wanted something that opens a whole area for new material. I agonized about what the perfect business for her to go into would be. I wanted something that would be helpful to me and would give her the credibility she deserves to have."

The strip made its debut Sept. 8, 1930; the creator was Murat B. Young, Dean's father, who went by the nickname Chic.

In the interview, Mr. Young explained: "I'm not a sociologist, I'm a cartoonist. I do what will help me and what will be fun for my readers.

"It may not be controversial, but I think Blondie mirrors contemporary society. For example, Dagwood doesn't go to work on the bus anymore. He takes a car pool with two other guys and a female attorney.

"I'm having great fun with the car pool. Maybe that's what made me put Blondie to work."

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