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Spider

Mort Walker drew a college student with a hat in some of the cartoons that he sold to the Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s.

Mumford1b

Saturday Evening Post cartoon by Mort Walker, circa 1948

The SAP editor, John Bailey, liked the character and suggested to Mort that he develop a regular feature for the kid. These are Mort’s first design sketches of “Spider” from 1949. The one at the top center was the one he chose to use.
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Beetle in Bronze

“The University of Missouri, approached me to do a sculpture of Beetle Bailey for the campus, since I was a graduate,” Mort Walker explained in his autobiography.

“I had seen a sculpture by Gutzon Borglum (the Mount Rushmore creator) of Lincoln seated on a bench with space beside him. I had watched kids climb up to sit with Lincoln and get their pictures taken. So I adapted the idea and designed Beetle sitting in a booth at the Shack with room beside him.”
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On Campus

The early Beetle Bailey strips were set at Rockview University, which closely resembled Mort Walker’s alma mater, the University of Missouri. Here is an aerial view of the quad at Rockview from a strip dated November 7, 1950.
Rockview
The University of Missouri campus looks like this today.
Missouri-Campus
The Columns at Francis Quadrangle are all that remain from a fire that destroyed the original Academic Hall on Jan. 9, 1892.

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