Visiting The Inner Sanctum of Beetle Bailey

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

This summer I visited Mort Walker at his studio in Connecticut.

It has very high ceilings, because it used to be the studio of Gutzton Borglum, the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore, and he worked tall. (Check out Guzton’s bio– quite an interesting family life.) Though Mort wouldn’t cop to it, I’m sure he spent the whole morning vacuuming before I arrived.



These are Mort’s notes on his desk, working out the jokes of the strip! I SO wanted to steal this piece of paper.




After Mort’s house, I checked out the more modest studio of his son, Brian Walker.  Instead of investing in tall ceilings, he invests in small figurines.

photo 5

Here are Brian’s notes for Hi and Lois.


At the end of the my visit, Mort gave me an original Beetle Bailey strip.

beetle strip

There are several things I love about this strip. In terms of the drawing, I love love love the fight scene.


But on a deeper level, he captured the messed-up family relationships people have, and that resonated with me.

It was truly a wonderful visit.