October 1970 brought the launching of two media entities that would become part of our everyday lives: the Public Broadcasting System and a comic strip called "Doonesbury." Not surprisingly, some of the latter's major characters have become bit players over 43-plus years. Here are five characters likely to appear prominently in the coming months as Garry Trudeau's creation dips into the vaults:

▲ Mike Doonesbury: Since debuting as a book-smart but street-dumb student at Walden College, he has joined a commune, written ads, founded a software start-up and married twice; his daughter, Alex, has been a regular in recent strips.

Rick Redfern Loosely based on the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, this reporter-turned-blogger is married to Joanie Caucus and the father of Jeff, aka "The Red Rascal."

"Boopsie" Boopstein Cheerleader-turned-actress-turned-New Age guru, this seemingly ditsy but often wise character is married to B.D., a football player turned war amputee originally modeled on Yale quarterback Brian Dowling.

Jimmy Thudpucker A singer-songwriter/overnight star who later moved to Vietnam, he likely was based on Jackson Browne with a few doses of Bob Dylan and John Denver.

"Uncle Duke" Based on gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson (whose pseudonym was Raoul Duke), he is Zonker's uncle and now a lobbyist for the likes of exiled Berzerkistan President Trff Bmzklfrpz.

Bill Ward