January 17th, 2016

Two Survivors

by Mort Walker

In addition to characters in Beetle Bailey that were dropped after they failed to generate consistent gag ideas (see previous post), there have been other cast members that survived but only appear rarely in the strip today.

Cosmo

COSMO

Beetle Bailey daily strip, September 28, 1956. Beetle Bailey daily strip, September 28, 1956.

COSMO (above). This character was inspired by the role that actor William Holden played in the 1953 movie Stalag 17. He was such an operator he could get his hands on anything, even in a prison camp. Cosmo is also similar to the World War II profiteer Milo Minderbender in Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel Catch-22. Cosmo continues to set up shop in the barracks and beat his buddies at poker.

Julius

JULIUS

Beetle Bailey daily strip, March 3, 1966. Beetle Bailey daily strip, March 3, 1966.

JULIUS (above). Mort Walker claimed that this character was patterned after a fussy roommate he once had. “He was always telling me what to do,” Mort remembered. “Open the window, close the window, pick up your clothes and so on. I started calling him ‘mother.’ I thought people might relate to a character like that but they thought he was gay, which was not my intention.” In more recent years, Julius’ sole function in the strip is to serve as General Halftrack’s driver.

In the next post we will show early examples of another early character that is now an important member of the cast, so stay tooned.

– Brian Walker

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