July 9th, 2016
by Mort Walker
Beetle Bailey passed an important milestone in 1965 – the strip now appeared in 1000 newspapers. Only Blondie had more clients.
The image above is from the mailing envelope for the King Features 1965 sales brochure. We no longer have a copy of the complete kit in our archives.
“It was the heyday of Beetle,” Mort Walker’s assistant Jerry Dumas remembered in a 2010 interview. “Everything looked good – the gags were solid and funny, the strip was growing and was extremely popular all over the world.”
At that time, Beetle was produced solely by Mort and Jerry. It was a regular routine. They would each bring in ten gags on Monday mornings for both Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois and the fourteen best ideas were selected to draw up. The Hi and Lois gags were mailed to Dik Browne, who did the illustrations for that strip. Mort would pencil six Beetle dailies and one Sunday in a single day and then ink the characters. Jerry would ink the backgrounds and do the lettering. They would finish on Thursday and send the completed strips to King Features, fifteen weeks ahead of publication.
In 2010, Titan Books published the complete year of 1965 Beetle Bailey daily strips and Sunday pages. To order a copy, go to: https://www.amazon.com/Beetle-Bailey-Daily-Sunday-Strips/dp/1848567065/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467915416&sr=1-2&keywords=beetle+bailey
– Brian Walker
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