April 3rd, 2020
There are a number of themes and situations in Beetle Bailey that get recycled many times. Sarge is always falling off a cliff. Lt. Fuzz is constantly annoyed by Sarge’s squeaky chair. Beetle never stops catching a snooze under his favorite tree.
Another familiar scenario is when Cookie gets mad and sits on top of the mess hall. It’s how he escapes from the rest of the men at Camp Swampy. They often try to coax him back down.
Here is a strip from 1971 that shows this classic situation. It combines two recurring gags – Cookie on the roof and Cookie’s meatballs.
The challenge with these recurring set-ups is coming up with new variations.
The Sunday page above from 2007 is another good example. It’s an evocative nightime scene with stars in the sky. Sihouettes of Cookie and Beetle in the lower left-hand panel set up the punchline. The epsiode concludes with Beetle getting thrown from the roof after his critical remark.
For a strip that has been around for seventy years, it is inevitable that there is some repetition. Hopefully, our readers forgive us for recycling gags.
Check back next week for another classic Sunday page from our archives.
– Brian Walker
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