It was a warm July evening in 1973, and I was lying on the bed in our run-down apartment trying to do some writing for the strip while Cathy watched TV in the other room. I was feeling sorry for myself for having to work when I could have been watching something that I’m sure was utterly fascinating on TV, with little inkling of what I’d pluck from the ether that night. Now lying on a bed is pretty conducive to letting your mind drift off, and, since Funky and the gang were about to head back to school in the strip, my mind was drifting back to all the things you associate with the start of school . . . football games, homecoming preparations, the usual suspects. The problem was that when I was in school, I hadn’t been on the football team or on the homecoming committee. What I had done was play trombone in the band.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You probably figure I’m going to say that I jumped up off the bed at that point and ran around the room shouting “Eureka!” Nothing quite that Greek, I’m afraid. What I did do, however, was begin to jot down memories of long cold bus rides with wet feet and itchy wool uniforms . . . of singing “A Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall” over and over until the bus driver finally turned off his hearing aid . . . and of selling band candy to all of my relatives including the ones who were diabetics. And . . . I also jotted down the idea for a new character . . . a band director named Harry L. Dinkle. Harry L. Dinkle, The World’s Greatest Band Director. Even then the “eureka” didn’t come.
From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Two