September 23rd, 2017

Timeline – 1968 Part 4

by Brian Walker, Greg Walker and Chance Browne

Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, June 16, 1968.

This classic episode features a rare achievement in gag writing – a wordless punch line. The picture in the final panel is not only surprising, it also perfectly depicts Ditto Flagston’s exuberant innocence.

Ditto’s personality continued to develop in the 1960s. In addition to his essential mischievousness, he added many other personality traits. Below are some examples from this period.

Ditto looks up to his older brother Chip and in this strip is eager to hear what the teenagers are talking about.

Hi and Lois daily strip, July 3, 1963.

His love of cookies had become an obsession, so much so that it was difficult for him to comprehend how other people could like eating anything else.

Hi and Lois daily strip, December 17, 1963.

He was also getting clever at diverting attention from his misdeeds.

Hi and Lois daily strip, July 31, 1963.

When it came to stealing cookies, he had invented his own set of rules.

Hi and Lois daily strip, April 11, 1967.

Ditto has gone in many new directions over the years but, like most comic characters, he has also remained the same age.

Next week our Timeline series will be moving to 1969, so be sure to check back here for more great color Sunday pages from our archives.

– Brian Walker

Beetle Bailey Sunday page color proof, June 30, 1968.

In this episode, General Halftrack becomes increasingly exasperated with Zero’s cluelessness. Mort Walker once described Zero as “an innocent young farm boy as sweet, honest and unsophisticated as an ear of corn.”

The ways in which Zero misinterprets orders or misunderstands common phrases are innumerable.

In this strip he follows Sarge’s instructions a little too exactly.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, June 6, 1961.

Here he just can’t find the right answer to Beetle’s riddle, but will never give up trying.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, March 20, 1963.

It’s easy for Sarge to trick him into thinking that getting assigned to K.P. duty is hilarious.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, February 27, 1964.

In this strip, one of my favorites, he attempts to imitate Killer’s seduction line but manages to get a different result.

Beetle Bailey daily strip, January 13, 1966.

There are many, many more examples of Zero’s gaffs in our archives. We will share some of the classic ones in future posts.

– Brian Walker




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