Timeline – 2005 Part 3

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Beetle Bailey Sunday page digital proof, June 19, 2005.

There are certain situations in comic strips that are worth repeating.  Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown at the last minute in Peanuts.  The dotted lines of Billy’s wanderings around the neighborhood in The Family Circus.  Dagwood running into the mailman in Blondie.

Beetle Bailey also has recurring scenes.  Cookie sulking on the roof of the mess hall. Sarge annoying Lt. Fuzz with his squeaky chair.  Beetle getting beaten up into little pieces by Sarge.

One of the most frequently repeated gags is when Sarge falls off a cliff.  He always ends up hanging on a branch waiting to be rescued.

Here is a very early example of this scenario from the first Beetle Bailey book collection, published in 1958.

These gags often involve the clueless Zero, as in these two examples from the 1960s.

In this one, Sarge’s dog Otto is the one who is in peril.

Although some readers complain about the use of recycled themes, many others love to see the same situation repeated over and over.

Mort used to say, “no more meatball gags.” But we keep coming up with them. Some ideas never die.

Next week we will continue the Timeline series with another classic episode from 2005.

– Brian Walker

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