A vote for the original “Doonesbury”


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Readers voted, and Times editors listened.

As a Calendar story on Saturday told readers, Wednesday’s ‘Doonesbury’ strip in The Times was not going to be the Nov. 5 strip that Garry Trudeau drew several weeks ago. The cartoonist took a leap, and tomorrow’s strip shows his cast of characters reacting to a Barack Obama victory in the presidential election.

Because, as the article reported, Wednesday’s comics page will go to press before the polls close tonight, Times editors originally decided that ‘in the interest of accuracy, it would be best to wait to see the results of the election.’ They planned to print Wednesday’s comic on Thursday if Obama won. If not, they would print repeats until the story line ended on Friday.


More than two dozen readers reacted -- some of their notes are below -- and now editors have reacted to those comments. A note in tomorrow’s paper will say in part, ‘As they say in the NFL, upon further review we have reversed our decision. We listened to readers like Ann Calhoun of Los Osos, who wrote: ‘Wait. Comic strips now have to be factually accurate? So, this means Rex Morgan is a real doctor, right?’ ‘

Before the editors reversed course, Assistant Managing Editor Alice Short admitted, ‘I’m very devastated to learn the truth about Rex Morgan.’

Below are a few of the initial responses from readers when they learned of editors’ plans to substitute the strip Trudeau had drawn for Nov. 5.

You do realize that Doonesbury is located on the same page with talking animals and characters that don’t age for decades, don’t you? We the readers probably understand that Doonesbury isn’t really news, that the characters are not real, and that whatever Garry Trudeau writes comes from his studio, not your newsroom. Get real. Jonathan Hebbard Costa Mesa I applaud the L.A. Times decision to wait until the election before running Doonesbury’s strip where Obama wins ‘in the interest of accuracy.’ But in the interest of accuracy the Times should also withhold Non Sequitur, Mutts, Get Fuzzy and Tundra (animals don’t really talk). Also stop Brewster Rockit: Space Guy (he’s not really in space). Just don’t tell the editors that Snoopy can’t fly his doghouse. Bill Becher Westlake Village Wait. Comic strips now have to be factually accurate? So, this means Rex Morgan is a real doctor, right? Ann Calhoun Los Osos, CA Some bold new leadership you’ve got going at The Times! You have the courage to cut hundreds of jobs, but not the courage to print a comic strip before you can confirm the results of the election? It’s a comic strip, not an editorial. Its aim is humor. It’ll be even funnier if Trudeau’s wrong. Show some courage, and some good sense, and print Doonesbury’s actual Wednesday strip on Wednesday. Alex GuthmanSouth Pasadena

Above, a panel from the day-after-the-election ‘Doonesbury’ comic strip. Credit: G. B. Trudeau / Universal Press Syndicate.