Arthur Lake "Dagwood"
Dagwood tips the scales
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.
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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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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