Arthur Lake "Dagwood"

Arthur Lake


Dagwood tips the scales

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Arthur Lake

To many people he was “Dagwood” of the Blondie radio and television series that aired from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. Arthur Lake was in over 120 films and many radio broadcasts throughout his lifetime. He was probably best remembered as the bumbling Dagwood Bumstead in the Blondie series in which he starred as Dagwood. His film acting career started much earlier than this. He grew up in show business. He was born to a family of circus performers and traveled all over the country with the circus. He played Vaudeville before he could walk. He said he literally learned to walk on a Vaudeville stage.

I am extremely proud of his accomplishments as a comedian/actor. He loved to be in the public eye. When his movies were shown on television or they would do a write up in a publication about him he was always so excited. He loved technology, he bought us all digital pens when they first came out and was so amazed at the LCD screen. He drove Datsun 280zs toward the end of his life and loved them. His last new car purchase was a 300zx and it would talk to him. He would have loved to see all the things, pictures and videos of him and some of his friends that are easily accessible on Youtube and such sites.

Until his death he regularly received and returned fan mail. Not in an entitled way but in a cheerful and gracious way. I remember the piles of pictures and letters on his writing desk, he would sit there and read the mail and share it with me. When we would be out and he was recognized and asked for an autograph or complimented he really loved it. My Grandfather was nearly always laughing and he loved to make others laugh as well. His character as Dagwood was very close to his true personality. He was totally goofy and sweet. One big difference is, he never knocked down the mailman, or anyone for that matter. His was always cheerful, kind, and always brightened our household, filling it with laughter.

We all lived together, my grandparents, parents, us kids, and a few others. Thankfully we had a very large home, so we didn’t bump into to each other or have to fight over the bathroom. I owe so much to my grandfather; “DaddyArtie”, was what we called him. He showed me so much joy, love, strength and loyalty that has carried me through so many situations in my life. He was our rock; we just didn’t realize it at the time.

Arthur Lake supported so many people, financially and otherwise, and you would never have known it. He never mentioned it to anyone. If he did something kind for someone, you would never hear him say it. He would buy cars for the people that worked for him and take them on vacations or send them on vacations and pay for everything. He loved my grandmother, Patricia Lake, intensely. He would sing to her out of nowhere, take her places, and he never left her side. He was her protector for sure. They had a song they would sing, a duet, the song was called “Funny That Way”. They definitely taught me love.

Family events

At my birthday parties he would perform for my friends and make us all laugh. A few times a year he would take us to the toy store and we would get a store clerk to walk around with us to pick out a few toys. He didn’t spoil us with as many toys as you might think, although we had our share. He spoiled us with love and attention. When I was a teenager, he put up with my wild teenager behavior. He wouldn’t believe a negative thing about anyone. If any of us got in trouble, like for pool hopping in our neighbor’s pools in the middle of the night, he would say “Awwww, did they really do that?” This would be while we were standing next to the club security, dripping wet at 3 a.m. . We were fortunate enough to have a home in a country club in Palm Spring as our vacation home. My grandparents lived there full time after his retirement, when I was about 12. He did have some limits to what we were allowed. He did not permit cussing or staying up too late. This is something we did quite often, when were at our home in Palm Springs. When we would hear him coming we would scatter like mice. My grandmother would be sitting at the bar, by herself, with 3 cigarettes burning in the ashtray and the bar full of drinks. He would say “ What’s doin Pat?” , she would calmly reply, “not much Artie, just sitting here having a drink”. He would say “hometown Pat” which meant come on to bed, and together they would walk past us, as we giggled hiding under the piano.

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Do you remember watching the Blondie series?

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Your role as a Grandparent

These are a few things that I experienced as “Dagwood’s granddaughter”. He was a loving sweet man. He wouldn’t even kill a spider, if we found one in the house and wanted him to kill it he would say, “He won’t eat much, let him go”. He literally, wouldn’t kill a fly. I have so many fond memories of him.

This shows how important the role of being a grandparent is. If you are a grandparent, I hope that you are able to have such a positive effect on your family as my grandfather did on our family. Whatever your place in your family, you have an opportunity to teach lasting traditions within your family. I plan to w.rite a few more hubs on my family as time goes by, I hope you have enjoyed this one

Arthur Lake playing the drums

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Comments 19 comments

KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 2 years ago from California Author

RachaelOhalloran Thank you for the comment and for taking the time to read my hub. I love to hear when people remember him. When I was a kid we would go out and he would get recognized and it really tickled him. He loved when he got fan mail etc. This month is his birthday month so I am sure he will be on peoples minds hopefully watching some of his movies. My 9 year old son loves Charlie Chaplins silents and cracks up the whole way through. Visual comedy is the best! I look forward to interacting with you :)

RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

Hi KimberlyLake -I watched Arthur Lake in the Blondie series first and then I discovered him as an actor in other movies. He was a very good actor, I remember him being very limber for pratfalls and stunts and reminds me of Dick Van Dyke that way he can do things with his body like that. How cool was that to grow up with a famous person as your Grandfather! And a very talented man as well. I'm glad to follow you and look forward to reading more of your hubs.

KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 2 years ago from California Author

Your welcome Nellieanna! I had fun writing this hub. I truly miss him he was such a big part of our lives. His birthday is this month so he is on my mind this time of year especially. I am glad you enjoyed this hub.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 2 years ago from TEXAS

Hello, Kimberly! I have totally enjoyed reading your 'inside perspective' of your grandfather, Arthur Lake, whom I loved as Dagwood Bumstead when I was a kid! Like the last commenter here, I'm in the age group who enjoyed his antics first-hand at the old movie theater in those slapstick, funny, charming, endearing old Blondie movies. I followed Blondie in the newspaper 'funnies', too and your grandfather really portrayed Dagwood to a 'T'.

Now, to read about what a sweet person he was in real life is truly a delight. Thank you for sharing these great accounts of your DaddyArtie. I enjoyed the video clips, too. He was certainly a talented drummer! I never knew that!

larry giantomas 3 years ago

I am 80 and I never missed a Blonde movie when IU was growing up. Arthur Lake w sa a favorite of mine and so funny.. he was well loved and respected as was Baby Dumpling. What a guy What an actor I just saw him last night in an old Topper movie..

KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California Author

@ChristyWrites Thank you for your comment. Although my grandfather has been gone many years, I think of him often. He was one of a kind, I am really lucky to have known him. April is his birthday month so he has been on my mind quite a bit. I think I will write some more hubs this month about him in honor of his birthday. I appreciate your input thanks so much.

KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California Author

@dahoglund thank you for comment. I agree that comedy is the most difficult kind of acting. My grandfather was a visual type comedian, he loved to do funny things to make us laugh. Charlie Chaplin is one of my favorite comedians, just after my grandfather of course. Thanks again.

KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California Author

@old albion I am glad you enjoyed my hub. It brought a tear to my eye too. Thanks so much.

ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

What a neat grandfather! I enjoyed the personal perspective you were able to give to the celebrity.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

When I was in high school there were "Blondie" rerun movies on Television during the daytime. This would have been about 1953. I rather enjoyed them during summer vacations, although I don't remember much about them now. You have a right to be proud of your relation to your grandfather.Comedy may well be the hardest kind of acting and takes the most talent.

old albion profile image

old albion 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi KimberlyLake. A warm, lovely, moving and funny story. Excellent presentation and videos. Even a tear to my eye. Voted up.


KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California Author

@etower036 thank you for your comment. My grandfather would have loved all this technology, he would have been on the computer all the time. I am very proud of him, he was an amazing person.

KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California Author

@Skarlet I am so happy that you enjoyed my hub, it is great to hear that you remember him too! He was a great person, I am glad to hear he is remembered fondly. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California Author

@drbj Thanks for your comment. We had a lot of fun growing up in our house and I do have lots of stories. I hope to share some more of them soon.

Skarlet profile image

Skarlet 4 years ago from California

Thank you for this hub. I watched the Blondie series in the 70's. I was addicted to "Movies Til Dawn".

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

I'm happy to learn that your grandpa didn't knock over the mailman in real life. What a joy it must have been to grow up as Dagwood's granddaughter and live in that marvelous extended family household. You must have many stories to tell. Thanks for sharing this one.

etower036 profile image

etower036 4 years ago from Helana

awesome... To have a friend or relative as a celebrity is the biggest thrill. Not so that you can drop names, but to be proud of what they accomplished. Wonderful too know that he did live so long to see modern conveniences that people in his younger days were just dreaming about. Thanks for sharing.

KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California Author

@poetic Fool thank you for the comment. He was a really neat person. I am very proud of him.

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Poetic Fool 4 years ago

How cool! I remember as a kid watching some episodes of the series when they were in re-runs. Your grandfather sounds like a fascinating man. It must have been fun growing up around him. Thanks for sharing this wonderful hub!

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