The Beetle Bailey Sunday page debuted on September 14, 1952 (see previous post). The unusual episode below, which shows a typical day in the life of Sargeant Orville P. Snorkel, ran in newspapers thirteen months later.
Beetle Bailey Sunday page, color proof, May 10, 1953.
This is the only time that Sarge’s wife ever appeared in the strip. In fact, Sarge has been a confirmed bachelor with no children ever since. The army is his family.
When Beetle Bailey joined the army in 1951 he needed someone to keep him in line. Sarge was the result.
“Sarge is probably my favorite character to draw,” Mort Walker recounted in the 1984 book, The Best of Beetle Bailey. “Not only does he look funny in all positions, but he takes up a lot of space which saves me from drawing a lot of backgrounds. He’s garrulous, profane, ecstatic, rough, sentimental, voracious…he does everything to the extreme.”