Timeline – 1963 Part 3

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, August 11, 1963.

A situation that has recurred in the strip over the years is when Beetle writes letters home to his parents. In the Sunday page above, he works hard to make his situation at Camp Swampy sound more important than it actually is. Beetle is the quintessential low-man on the totem pole, so these descriptions of his daily duties do not correspond to reality. Although he does not do it in this episode, Beetle often asks his folks for money.

Beetle Bailey Sales – 1961

1961 sales brochure outside

The circulation of Beetle Bailey had rocketed past 800 newspapers by 1961, when the brochure above was produced. King Features Syndicate claimed that only Chic Young’s Blondie had more clients.

The biographical profile on the left recounted how Mort Walker had his first cartoon published when he was 11 years old, began selling cartoons nationally by the age of 14, had his own comic strip in the Kansas City Journal at 15, and became a designer for Hallmark Greeting Card Company when he was 18. After serving in the army during World War II, Mort attended the University of Missouri. He then came to New York City and was a top-selling magazine gag cartoonist before creating Beetle Bailey for King Features in 1950.

Beetle Bailey Sales – March 1956

In March 1956, The American Legion Magazine did an in-depth profile of Mort Walker. King Features Syndicate reprinted the entire article and sent it to all of its newspaper clients (brochure shown above).

At this time Mort was earning an estimated $100,000 for Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois. Beetle was distributed to 400 clients with an estimated daily readership of 20 million. Hi and Lois, which began in 1954, was in 100 newspapers.