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Blondie Film Series:
Dithers vs. Radcliffe
A look at the battle of the bosses from Blondie!

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    Of 28 Blondie films made, Dagwood had a boss in 24 of them.  He actually had two different bosses at the construction firm where he worked throughout the series.  The first was J.C. Dithers, who also appeared in the comic strip.  The second was George M. Radcliffe, who did not appear in the comic strip and was created just for the movie series.

    Jonathan Hale played "J.C. Dithers" in 16 of the 28 Blondie films made.  Jerome Cowan played "George M. Radcliffe" in 8 of the Blondie films.  Jerome Cowan also appeared in another Blondie film, but as a different character.  Right before playing Mr. Radcliffe for the first time in "Blondie's Big Moment" (1947), he played a character named Charles Peabody in Jonathan Hale's last Blondie film, "Blondie Knows Best" (1946). 

    After Radcliffe's last appearance, we do see Dithers in another Blondie movie...briefly.  Edward Earle is the actor who played Mr. Dithers in the very last Blondie film, "Beware of Blondie" (1950).  Here, we only see Dithers from the back and for a short time.  In fact, Edward Earle is not even credited in this film.

    Jonathan Hale was wonderful as Dithers.  Of course, he did not look the part.  The Dithers from the comics is short and fat.  The movie version of Dithers is tall and lean.  Mr. Dithers is the boss most Blondie fans prefer.  Some like Radcliffe better.  Dithers was tough, but likeable.   He always blew his top and fired Dagwood, but once he saw the light, he always gave Dagwood his job back.  The Bumsteads could reason with Mr. Dithers.  He was like a friend of the family.

    Jerome Cowan also delivers as Radcliffe.  He was meaner than Dithers.  He fired Dagwood just as easily as Dithers had, but was harder to reason with.  Hence, it was always more difficult for Dagwood to get his job back where Mr. Radcliffe was concerned.  Plotwise, this made for funnier situations as Dagwood and the rest of the Bumstead clan went over the top to prove Dag's competence.  He's not as close of friend to the Bumstead family as Mr. Dithers, but he's still kind of a friend to the family (but the Bumsteads are always on very thin ice with him).

    Some Blondie fans do not like Radcliffe because he is so mean.  Others do not like him because he's not Dithers, and once audiences get used to such a familiar character, it's hard to turn them on to another.  Arthur "Dagwood Bumstead" Lake himself had said that changing the boss from Dithers to Radcliffe was the worst mistake ever made in the series.  For some unexplained reason, Mr. Dithers became Dagwood's boss once again, but only in the last film of the series, "Beware of Blondie" from 1950. 

    Who is your favorite boss:  Dithers or Radcliffe?

Jonathan Hale as "J.C. Dithers"

1. Blondie (1938)
2. Blondie Meets the Boss (1939)
4. Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)
6. Blondie has Servant Trouble (1940)
7. Blondie Plays Cupid (1940)
8. Blondie Goes Latin (1941)
9. Blondie in Society (1941)
10. Blondie Goes to College (1942)
11. Blondie's Blessed Event (1942)
12. Blondie for Victory (1942)
13. It's a Great Life (1943)
14. Footlight Glamour (1943)
15. Leave it to Blondie (1945)
16. Life with Blondie (1946)
17. Blondie's Lucky Day (1946)
18. Blondie Knows Best (1946)

Jerome Cowan as "George M. Radcliffe"
19. Blondie's Big Moment (1947)
20. Blondie's Holiday (1947)
21. Blondie in the Dough (1947)
22. Blondie's Anniversary (1947)
23. Blondie's Reward (1948)
24. Blondie's Secret (1948)
25. Blondie's Big Deal (1949)
26. Blondie Hits the Jackpot (1949)

Edward Earle as "J.C. Dithers"
28. Beware of Blondie (1950)