Saturday, January 23, 2016
Sad Sack is an American fictional comic strip and comic book character created by Sgt. George Baker during World War II. Set in the United States Army, Sad Sack depicted an otherwise unnamed, lowly private experiencing some of the absurdities and humiliations of military life. The title was a euphemistic shortening of the military slang "sad sack of shit", common during World War II. The phrase has come to mean "an inept person" or "inept soldier".
Originally drawn in pantomime by Baker, The Sad Sack debuted June 1942 as a comic strip in the first issue of Yank, the Army Weekly. It proved popular, and a hardcover collection of Baker's wartime Sad Sack strips was published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. in 1944, with a follow-up, The New Sad Sack (1946). The original book was concurrently published as an Armed Services edition mass market paperback, in that edition's standard squarebound, horizontal, 5 5/8" × 4" format, by Editions for the Armed Services, Inc., a non-profit organization of The Council on Books in Wartime; it was #719 in the series of Armed Service editions.
After the war ended, The Sad Sack ran in newspaper syndication in the United States until 1957. Baker then sold the rights to Harvey Comics, which produced a large number of commercial spin-offs.
Private Sad Sack (played by Mel Blanc) made an appearance with Bob Hope and Betty Grable on the April 29, 1944 episode of G.I. Journal. The voice Blanc used was a stuttering delivery similar to Porky Pig. The character as voiced by Blanc appeared in multiple other broadcasts of "G.I. Journal".
Sponsored by Old Gold Cigarettes, The Sad Sack radio program ran in 1946 as a summer replacement series for The Frank Sinatra Show. It starred Herb Vigran in the title role with Jim Backus, Sandra Gould, Ken Christy and Patsy Moran. Dick Joy was the announcer for the series which began June 12, 1946 with the episode "Sack Returns Home from the Army" and continued until September 4 of that year.