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Timeline – 1970 Part 1

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, May 24, 1970.

In the 1984 book The Best of Beetle Bailey, Mort Walker explained one of the major themes in the strip.

Beetle Bailey has been studied by sociologists for the way authority is represented. Americans feel that authority should be questioned, not blindly followed, and people in authority in this country accept this resistance as an inalienable right. In Europe and many Asian countries, the class system and regal sovereignty are so deeply ingrained many citizens never question an order. In Italy there is a soldier comic strip where the private always ends up in jail for things that Beetle does routinely. Beetle and Sarge play the game, Sarge doing his job imposing authority and Beetle doing his resisting it.”
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Timeline – 1964 Part 3

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, April 26, 1964.

Sports have always been a rich source of humor in Beetle Bailey. General Halftrack is an avid golfer. Sarge likes to bowl. Beetle and Sarge get in some lively games of ping pong. Team sports have also been spoofed.

This is my all-time favorite baseball gag. Jerry Dumas was a devoted fan of the game, so it was, presumably, written by him.
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General Amos T. Halftrack

 

HalftrackHead2As a leader General Halftrack couldn’t lead a cub scout to a candy store, but he is one of Mort Walker’s favorite characters.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, May 5, 1955.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, May 5, 1955.

“In the beginning I put a lot of my own feelings and experiences into the Beetle character,” Mort remembered in The Best of Beetle Bailey. “As time wore on I discovered I was relating more to the General and now I’m coming up with a lot more gags about him as a result.”
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