Timeline – 1973 Part 3

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, July 15, 1973.

Beetle Bailey has one of the largest casts of any syndicated comic strip, with the possible exception of Doonesbury. The conflicts that are generated by these distinctive characters are a great source for gag material.

Two characters that don’t often butt heads are Rocky and Plato.

Timeline – 1973 Part 2

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, April 29, 1973.

In his 1975 autobiography, Backstage at the Strips, Mort Walker shared some insights about the different methods he used for generating Beetle Bailey gags. Here are some quotes from the book on this subject.

“Over the years I’ve devised many ways of developing gags. The most obvious way is simply sketching funny pictures and putting words around them.”

Timeline – 1973 Part 1

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, April 8, 1973.

The Sunday page above is one of my all-time favorites.

Sergeant Orville P. Snorkel was inspired by Sergeant Octavian Savou (below), a tough-as-nails authoritarian Mort Walker encountered in basic training after he enlisted in the Army in 1942. Savou would yell and scream at his men without mercy. One night Mort and all his buddies had the night off and went into town. When they returned to the barracks, they found notes with poems written on them pinned to their pillows. They were all addressed to “my boys” from Sgt. Savou.