Thursday, February 2, 2012

From Comics to Toons: Beetle Bailey (1962)

King Features Syndicate decided to expand upon its line of first-run syndicated cartoons to give Popeye some company. The result was a trio of popular strips making a transition to television, and the most famous of this group was, arguably, Beetle Bailey.

Mort Walker's long running comic strip made its TV debut in 1962, with Howard Morris (The Andy Griffith Show) voicing Beetle, Zero, General Halftrack, and others. If you listen close, Morris would later recycle Beetle & Zero's voices for Jughead & Moose on The Archie Show 6 years later. Allan Melvin (ex-You'll Never Get Rich, aka, Sgt. Bilko) voiced Sgt. Snorkle, Beetle's gruff, often bullying, commanding officer. After the series ran its course, Beetle and friends would return in a 1-shot on Sesame Street. Not sure who animated that piece, but Paramount and an Australian studio shared the workload on the King series.

Here's the episode, "We Love You, Sergeant Snorkle":



It's a pity no one's taken a chance on giving Beetle another shot, with the characters added in the 50 years since the TV cartoons began.

Rating: A.

2 comments:

magicdog said...

I didn't see much of this show, but the theme song does ring a bell.

What I thought was better was the fact that Beetle was a spinoff of the "Hi & Lois" comic strip. Beetle was Lois' little brother.

hobbyfan said...

Shame, too, that Hi & Lois was never made into a series, though I believe a 1-shot special was in the works back in the 80's. I didn't really get the connection until I read the Wikipedia backstory on Beetle.

Who'd have ever thought that he'd dump Bunny, his girlfriend in the old days, for Ms. Buxley, whom he's dating today?