Early Sarge – Part 2

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

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. 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.

This can happen with long-running features. Cartoonists are always experimenting and abandoning ideas that don’t work. In this case, Mort Walker must have decided that it was cruel for Sarge to have a nagging wife at home after all the abuse he puts up with every day at Camp Swampy. When I came across this proof in the archives, I showed it to Mort. He was as surprised as I was that Sarge once had a wife.

If we find any more interesting anomalies like these, we will be sure to share them with you.

– Brian Walker