Well, Jest died soon thereafter, but when I was sifting through the archives this morning (because I'm too lazy to write something new) I found this fourth, previously unpublished piece. It's honestly not that great, but for any Jest completists out there-- and I know they don't exist-- it's gold!
From: Dan McCoy
RE: Beetle Bailey: The Movie
The enormous success of Garfield: The Movie illustrates that newspaper comic properties can mean big bucks, even if said comics were only really popular twenty years ago (or more). With that in mind, I've acquired the rights to Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey, the lighthearted tale of a congenitally lazy army private, and his criminally abusive superior officer.
I believe that a Beetle Bailey movie could provide even better returns than Garfield, for two reasons:
- In light of the current conflict in Iraq, more and more Americans are asking themselves, “Hey. What’s Beetle Bailey doing these days?”
- As all of the major characters are human, there is no need for the sort of expensive CGI used to bring Garfield to life. Maybe for Miss Buxley’s breasts.
Our story: As we open, the gang is mourning the death of Lt. Flap, Camp Swampy’s only black soldier, who was first to be sent to Iraq. But their grief is cut short, as the rest of the unit is soon ordered to follow. Each reacts to this development in unique and hilarious ways.
- Plato, who only joined the army to finance his Masters in Philosophy from William and Mary, writes a series of passionate editorials decrying army recruitment techniques, which end up getting cut down to a two-line joke for “Humor in Uniform.”
- Killer, the ladies man, is detained by the Iraqi police, for trying to peek under a burqa.
- Country boy Zero loses his faith in both God and men.
- Lieutenant Peachfuzz, the comical by-the-book suck-up, is fragged by his subordinates.
Meanwhile, back stateside, Miss Buxley takes a lot of showers for no reason.
One thing becomes clear, after nearly sixty years off active duty at Camp Swampy, the gang is woefully unprepared for combat. In a dramatic montage—scored either to Buffalo Springfield’s “For What it’s Worth” or Rick Dees’s “Disco Duck (I haven’t decided)—Beetle is cut down in a hail of gunfire, a human insect crushed for all our sins.
Once home, Sergeant Snorkel falls into alcoholism, tortured by thoughts that his time would’ve been better spent teaching Beetle to operate an automatic weapon, rather than beating him for failing to dig ditches. Beetle’s mother (who, in a surprise reveal, is Mary Worth) stations herself outside General Halftrack’s Texas ranch, refusing to leave until he takes responsibility for the death of her son. In a touching rapprochement, the General embraces Ms. Worth, and—after divorcing his shrewish wife, Martha—the two of them are married, in a symbolic joining of the military and the peace movement.
That is, until General Halftrack gropes Miss Buxley, and the marriage is annulled.