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Best Movie Dog Ever: Daisy in the Blondie Series

Lassie, Rin Tin Tin

Almost everybody knows the name Lassie. A good portion of those people are also familiar with Benji. And there is still a sizable chunk of those people who know Rin-Tin-Tin. But guess what? None of those illustrious canine stars are deserving of the title of Best Movie Dog Ever.

The movie dog with the greatest personality of all time is a completely unknown to most people. In fact, the movies themselves are hardly known to most. Long before Linda Hunt won an Oscar for playing a man, Spooks the dog should have won a doggie Oscar for playing Daisy the dog in the series of Blondie movies made in the 40s.

The Blondie film series was about as perfectly cast as any movie based on recognizable characters could ever hope to be. It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Penny Singleton playing Blondie and as for Arthur Lake, well, it’s as if he channeled Dagwood Bumstead. In addition, Larry Simms as Baby Dumpling, later named Alexander as he grew older, is probably the least cloying and annoying child actor of his time, maybe of all time. And then there’s Daisy.

Daisy, the Bumsteads’ dog, appeared in all the movies and was a vital component in all of them. This dog was truly amazing, able to express more range than Keanu Reeves and Bruce Willis combined. Well, okay, that’s not really all that amazing. Daisy was able to portray excitement, fear, and joy more expressively than Reeves, Willis and every actor who is even tenuously related to the Brat Pack. Then toss in the cast of Friends as well. What I’m saying is that Daisy could act rings around not only every other movie canine, but 95% of the actors making movies today.

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Daisy was, bar one, the funniest dog in film history. She was up against some real characters in this series of movies and more than held her own. Whether she was giving a guilty look as she walked to stand in the corner for punishment, or saving Dagwood from disaster, she was more than capable of stealing of any scene in which she appeared.

Perhaps her greatest performance was in the haunted house entry, Blonde Has Servant Trouble. Have you ever seen a dog actually shivering from fright? Daisy gives a tour de force performance here that make Lassie look like a member of the cast of Friends and makes Rin-Tin-Tin look like he plays dead people as often as Bruce Willis. The slow motion scene is especially hysterical.

Is it just a coincidence that the big movie dog star of the 70s, Benji, resembles Daisy more than just a little bit? I think not. I think the makers of the Benji movies were trying to subconsciously tap into the memory of Daisy that the parents and grandparents of kids going to see Benji still held.

Don’t be fooled by the fame of Lassie and all the other wannabes. Daisy Bumstead regularly turned in the kind of performances that most human actors wish they could replicate.