by Mort Walker
Beetle Bailey Sunday page digital proof, November 3, 1996. Between 1964 and 1974, a series of seventeen Sunday pages featured Sarge’s fantastic dreams.  Most of these episodes involved Sarge falling asleep after eating too much pizza and having fantasies about being a superhero, playing professional sports, traveling back in time or other such hilarious scenarios. Here is a panel from a 1967 story in which he dreams he is British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Over the course of the last five decades, Sarge has continued to have nighttime fantasies, often induced by overeating, but these episodes became less regular. Mort Walker felt that he had milked this formula for every idea he could think of. With a strip that has been around as long as Beetle Bailey– 67 years and counting – there is always the opportunity to revisit classic themes. In the episode above, Sarge imagines himself as Richard Nixon, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt.  Although he doesn’t look like any of these American presidents, the misquotes help to establish his identity. I’m not sure how jogging would stimulate dreams like this but, after all, it’s a comic strip. – Brian Walker

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