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Sad Sack

Sad Sack was a cartoon character created by Sgt. George Baker in a World War II comic strip. Set in the United States Army, Sad Sack was a lowly private, experiencing some of the absurdities and humiliations of military life. According to the Library of Congress, the name Sad Sack came from "a whittled-down version of an old and unprintable epithet ("a sad sack of shit") for an inept rookie. The strip, drawn as wordless "pantomime" sequences, appeared in Life magazine in 1941 and in YANK magazine in 1942. Highly successful, a hardcover collection of Baker's wartime Sad Sack strips was published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. in 1944, with a followup volume ("The New Sad Sack") appearing in 1946.
After the war ended, Sad Sack was was put into newspaper syndication that lasted until the early 1950s. In September of 1949, Harvey Comics came out with their first Sad Sack comic book. "Sad Sack" comics was a long-lived series, extending into the 1980s and including numerous spin-off titles featuring other characters in the strip, such as "The Sarge," "Slob Slobinski", "The General," "Sadie Sack," and "Muttsy" the dog. In addition, Harvey published a less-successful spinoff directed at the Navy featuring "Gabby Gob", as well as "Li'l Sad Sack", an infrequently published "kids version" of the main characters.
The comics were aimed at younger readers than Baker's wartime originals, and the style of the strip was changed dramatically: with a few exceptions, Baker was no longer the artist or writer, and the pantomime style was abandonded in favor of a more conventional comic story format. This change in style led to the Fred Rhoads becoming the artist most associated with Sad Sack comic stories, as he illustrated some 75% of the Sad Sack stories from the late 60's up to Harvey's end of busines sin the 1980s. Despite his failing health, George Baker continued to illustrate the covers of Sad Sack comics in his own original style until the time of his death in 1975.
For a short time, there was a Sad Sack radio program in which Mel Blanc did the character's voice. Paramount Pictures made a 1957 film titled The Sad Sack starring Jerry Lewis as an army private.

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