On Strips: One Bed

By | Friday, July 07, 2017 3 comments
You know how husbands and wives on television used to be depicted sleeping in separate beds? Rob and Laura Petrie, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Fred and Wilma Flintstone (at least at first)... That was a form of sanitation that eliminated even the suggestion that the characters might have sex. Which was odd, considering they all had children. I suppose much of that idea stems from television really coming to prominence in the very staid and repressed 1950s.

But what about comic strips? Newspapers had a much earlier and wider circulation than television, so how were couples' bedrooms depicted there?

I was surprised to find this Blondie comic from June 1934, shortly after the birth of their son Alex (then called "Baby" or "Baby Dumpling")...
Note the second panel, where Blondie wakes Dagwood up from sleeping right next to her! This is a decade and a half before a married couple was shown sleeping in the same bed on television at all, and a quarter century before it was shown outside one or two rare instances.

I believe many people, myself included, tend to think of newspaper comics as being very bland and not pushing boundaries. I suspect, though, that that is a fairly recent phenomenon, and probably coincides with newspapers' declining sales -- and aging reader demographic -- over the past couple of decades.

Of course, that single bed wasn't shown until after Blondie and Dagwood were married, three years into the strip's run. I mean, they had at least some decorum!
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Matthew E said...

Well, remember, the '30s were _less_ prudish than the '50s.

Yeah, the challenge I personally have is remembering that just because newspapers have been the stodgy, old medium of old people as far as I've been around, that wasn't necessarily the case before I was born.

Unknown said...

Topless girls in a 1930s Captain Easy Sunday page
and in today's newspapers - a big pile of $#!+