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Blondie's Big Deal was the 24th entry in Columbia's popular "Blondie" series. Since the actors were getting a bit too long-in-tooth to be thoroughly convincing in their characterizations, Big Deal is for the most part played on a farcical level. This time around, Dagwood (Arthur Lake) invents a nonflammable paint, much to the delight of his boss Radcliffe (Jerome Cowan), who hopes to snag a lucrative contract. Dishonest competitors plan to sabotage Dag's invention, but Blondie (Penny Singleton) and neighborhood boy-genius Rollo (Alan Dinehart III) do a little detective work and save the day. Director Edward Bernds handles the material in the manner of his "Three Stooges" 2-reelers: At one point, Blondie is decorously tied to a chair by the villains, while at another juncture Dagwood causes an outsized slapstick explosion. Bernds' breezy approach may not have pleased diehard "Blondie" fans, but it turned out to be a much-needed booster shot for this flagging film series.

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TVB25 Blondie's Big Deal VHS (1949/Penny Singleton) $12.99