The recent death of BEETLE BAILEY and HI & LOIS cartoonist Mort Walker brought back memories of my first job for The Portland Monthly in 2004. The trigger event was The Oregonian‘s controversial decision to drop Hi and Lois from its comics page after 50 years (it was displaced by Berkeley Breathed’s brief revival of Opus; Cathy was dropped at the same time). Think about this for a moment. Imagine that in 2004, Frank Sinatra’s Swing Easy (released in 1954) had just dropped off the charts, The Pajama Game was finishing a 50 year run on Broadway, and a local television affiliate was catching flack for dropping Father Knows Best, which first appeared the same month as Hi And Lois, from its lineup (Cathy, a relative stripling, made its debut in 1976, the same year as Frampton Comes Alive! the musical Annie and Charlie’s Angels.). On the other hand, The Tonight Show and Face The Nation started that same year and are still going strong, so network television is hardly a paragon of dynamic change.
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