Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Li'l Abner

Li'l Abner

Encyclopedia
Li'l Abner is a satirical American comic strip
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

 that appeared in many newspapers in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, featuring a fictional clan of hillbillies
Hillbilly
Hillbilly is a term referring to certain people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia but also the Ozarks. Owing to its strongly stereotypical connotations, the term is frequently considered derogatory, and so is usually offensive to those Americans of...

 in the impoverished town of Dogpatch
Dogpatch
Dogpatch was the fictional setting of cartoonist Al Capp's classic comic strip, Li'l Abner .In Capp's own words, Dogpatch was "an average stone-age community nestled in a bleak valley, between two cheap and uninteresting hills somewhere." The inhabitants were mostly lazy hillbillies, who usually...

, Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

. Written and drawn by Al Capp
Al Capp
Alfred Gerald Caplin , better known as Al Capp, was an American cartoonist and humorist best known for the satirical comic strip Li'l Abner. He also wrote the comic strips Abbie an' Slats and Long Sam...

 (1909–1979), the strip ran for 43 years, from August 13, 1934 through November 13, 1977. It was distributed by United Feature Syndicate
United Media
United Media is a large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States, owned by The E.W. Scripps Company. It syndicates 150 comics and editorial columns worldwide. Its core business is the United Feature Syndicate and the Newspaper Enterprise Association...

. Read daily by scores of millions of people, the strip's characters and humor had a powerful cultural impact.

Main characters


Li'l Abner Yokum: The star of Capp's classic comic strip was hardly "little." Abner was 6' 3" in his stockinged feet (if he wore stockings), and perpetually 19 "y'ars" old. A naïve, simple-minded and sweet-natured hillbilly boy, he lived in a ramshackle log cabin with his pint-sized parents. He inherited his strength from his irascible Mammy, and his brains from his less-than-brainy Pappy. Capp derived their family name "Yokum" as a portmanteau of yokel
Yokel
Yokel is a derogatory term referring to the stereotype of unsophisticated country people.-Stereotype:In the US, it is used to describe someone living in rural areas...

 and hokum
Hokum
Hokum is a particular song type of American blues music - a humorous song which uses extended analogies or euphemistic terms to make sexual innuendos...

. In Capp's satirical and often complex plots, Abner was a country bumpkin Candide
Candide
Candide, ou l'Optimisme is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best ; Candide: or, The Optimist ; and Candide: or, Optimism...

—a paragon of innocence in a sardonically dark and cynical world. A priceless rube, Abner was so gullible that he could be tricked by a small child. The loutish Abner typically had no visible means of support, but sometimes earned his livelihood as a "crescent cutter" for the Little Wonder privy
Outhouse
An outhouse is a small structure separate from a main building which often contained a simple toilet and may possibly also be used for housing animals and storage.- Terminology :...

 company, (later changed to "mattress tester" for the Stunned Ox mattress company.)

Abner's main goal in life was evading the marital designs of Daisy Mae Scragg, the virtuous, voluptuous, barefoot Dogpatch damsel and scion of the Yokums' blood feud
Feud
A feud , referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another...

 enemies—the Scraggs, her bloodthirsty, semi-evolved kinfolk. For 18 years, Abner slipped out of Daisy Mae's marital crosshairs time and again. When Capp finally gave in to reader pressure and allowed the couple to tie the knot, it was a major media event. It even made the cover of Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

 magazine on March 31, 1952—illustrating an article by Capp entitled "It's Hideously True!! The Creator of Li'l Abner Tells Why His Hero Is (SOB!) Wed!!"

Daisy Mae (née
NEE
NEE is a political protest group whose goal was to provide an alternative for voters who are unhappy with all political parties at hand in Belgium, where voting is compulsory.The NEE party was founded in 2005 in Antwerp...

 Scragg) Yokum:
Beautiful Daisy Mae was hopelessly in love with Dogpatch's most prominent resident throughout the entire 43-year run of Al Capp's comic strip. During most of the epic, the impossibly dense Abner exhibited little romantic interest in her voluptuous charms, (much of it visible daily thanks to her famous polka-dot peasant blouse and cropped skirt). In 1952, Abner reluctantly proposed to Daisy to emulate the engagement of his comic strip "ideel," Fearless Fosdick. Fosdick's own wedding to longtime fiancée Prudence Pimpleton turned out to be a dream—but Abner and Daisy's ceremony, performed by Marryin' Sam, was permanent. Once married, Abner became relatively domesticated. Like Mammy Yokum and the other "wimmenfolk" in Dogpatch, Daisy Mae did all the work, domestic and otherwise—while the useless menfolk generally did nothing whatsoever.

Mammy Yokum: Born Pansy Hunks, Mammy was the scrawny, highly principled "sassiety" leader and bare knuckle "champeen" of the town of Dogpatch. She married the inconsequential Pappy Yokum in 1902; they produced two strapping sons twice their own size. Mammy dominated the Yokum clan through the force of her personality, and dominated everyone else with her fearsome right uppercut (sometimes known as her "Goodnight, Irene" punch), which helped her uphold law, order and decency. She is consistently the toughest character throughout Li'l Abner. A superhuman dynamo, Mammy did all the household chores—and provided her charges with no fewer than eight meals a day of "po'k chops" and "tarnips," (as well as local Dogpatch delicacies like "candied catfish eyeballs" and "trashbean soup"). Her authority was unquestioned, and her characteristic phrase, "Ah has spoken! ," signaled the end of all further discussion. Her most familiar phrase, however, is "Good is better than evil becuz it's nicer!" (Upon his retirement in 1977, Capp declared Mammy to be his personal favorite of all his characters.)

Pappy Yokum: Born Lucifer Ornamental Yokum, pint-sized Pappy had the misfortune of being the patriarch in a family that didn't have one. Pappy was so lazy and ineffectual, he didn't even bathe himself. Mammy was regularly seen scrubbing Pappy in an outdoor oak tub, ("Once a month, rain or shine.") Ironing Pappy's trousers fell under her wifely duties as well, although she didn't bother with preliminaries—like waiting for Pappy to remove them first. While Mammy was the unofficial mayor of Dogpatch and could read, Pappy remained illiterate. Pappy is dull-witted and gullible, but not completely without guile. He had an unfortunate predilection for snitching "presarved tarnips" and smoking corn silk behind the woodshed—much to his chagrin when Mammy caught him.

Honest Abe Yokum: Li'l Abner and Daisy Mae's little boy was born in 1953 "after a pregnancy that ambled on so long that readers began sending me medical books," wrote Capp. Initially known as "Mysterious Yokum" (there was even an Ideal
Ideal Toy Company
Ideal Toy Company was founded as Ideal Novelty and Toy Company in New York in 1907 by Morris and Rose Michtom after they had invented the Teddy bear in 1903. The company changed its name to Ideal Toy Company in 1938...

 doll marketed under this name) due to a debate regarding his gender (he was stuck in a pants-shaped stovepipe for the first six weeks), he was renamed "Honest Abe" (after President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

) to thwart his early tendency to steal. His first words were "po'k chop," and that remained his favorite food. Though his uncle Tiny was perpetually frozen at 15½ "y'ars" old, Honest Abe gradually grew from infant to grade school age, and became a dead ringer for Washable Jones—the star of Capp's early "topper
Topper (comic strip)
A topper in comic strip parlance is a small secondary strip seen along with a larger Sunday strip. In the 1920s and 1930s, leading cartoonists were given full pages in the Sunday comics sections, allowing them to add smaller strips and single-panel cartoons to their page.Toppers usually were drawn...

" strip. He would eventually acquire a couple of supporting character friends for his own semi-regularly featured adventures in the strip.

Tiny Yokum: "Tiny" was a misnomer
Misnomer
A misnomer is a term which suggests an interpretation that is known to be untrue. Such incorrect terms sometimes derive their names because of the form, action, or origin of the subject becoming named popularly or widely referenced—long before their true natures were known.- Sources of misnomers...

; Li'l Abner's kid brother remained perpetually innocent and 15½ "y'ars" old—despite the fact that he was an imposing, 7 feet (2.1 m) tall behemoth. Tiny was unknown to the strip until September 1954, when a relative who had been raising him reminded Mammy that she'd given birth to a second "chile" while visiting her 15 years earlier. (She explained that she would have dropped him off sooner, but waited until she happened to be in the neighborhood.) Capp introduced Tiny into the strip to fill the bachelor role played reliably for nearly two decades by Li'l Abner himself, until his fateful 1952 marriage threw the carefully orchestrated dynamic of the strip out of whack for a period. Pursued by local lovelies Hopeful Mudd and Boyless Bailey, Tiny was even dumber and more awkward than Abner, if that can be imagined. Tiny initially sported a bulbous nose like both his parents, but eventually (through a plot contrivance) he was given a nose job, and his shaggy blonde hair was buzz cut
Buzz cut
A buzz cut, induction cut or wiffle is a very short haircut.The cut is usually performed using hair clippers without a comb guard. The sides are cut closely and then the top is either shaped or cut to the same short length all over. The cut takes just a few minutes to perform. A buzz cut can...

 to make him more appealing.

Salomey: The Yokums' beloved pet. Cute, lovable and intelligent (arguably smarter than Abner, Tiny or Pappy), she was accepted as part of the family, ("the youngest," as Mammy invariably introduces her.) She is 100% "Hammus Alabammus"—an adorable species of pig
Pig
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

, and the last female known in existence. A plump, juicy Hammus Alabammus is the rarest and most vital ingredient of "ecstasy sauce," an indescribably delicious gourmet delicacy. Consequently, Salomey is frequently targeted by unscrupulous sportsmen, hogbreeders and gourmands (like J.R. Fangsley and Bounder J. Roundheels), as well as unsavory boar
Boar
Wild boar, also wild pig, is a species of the pig genus Sus, part of the biological family Suidae. The species includes many subspecies. It is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig, an animal with which it freely hybridises...

s with improper intentions (such as Boar Scarloff and Porknoy). Her moniker was a pun on both salami
Salami
Salami is cured sausage, fermented and air-dried meat, originating from one of a variety of animals. Historically, salami has been popular among Southern European peasants because it can be stored at room temperature for periods of up to 10 years, supplementing a possibly meager or inconsistent...

 and Salome
Salome
Salome , the Daughter of Herodias , is known from the New Testament...

.

Supporting characters and villains

  • Marryin’ Sam: A traveling (by mule) preacher who specializes in $2 weddings. He also offered the $8 "ultra-deluxe speshul," a spectacular ceremony in which Sam officiates while being drawn and quartered by four rampaging jackasses. He cleans up once a year—during Sadie Hawkins Day
    Sadie Hawkins Day
    An American folk event, Sadie Hawkins Day is a pseudo-holiday that originated in Al Capp's classic hillbilly comic strip, Li'l Abner . This inspired real-world Sadie Hawkins dances, where girls ask boys out.-Original story:...

     season, when slow-footed bachelors are dragged kicking and screaming to the altar by their prospective brides-to-be. Sam, whose face and figure were reportedly modeled after New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, started out as a stock villain but gradually softened into a genial, opportunistic comic foil. He wasn't above chicanery to achieve his ends, and was warily viewed by Dogpatch menfolk as a traitor to his gender. Sam was prominently featured on the cover of Life in 1952 when he presided over the celebrated wedding of Li'l Abner and Daisy Mae. In the 1956 Broadway musical and 1959 film adaptation, Sam was perfectly played by rotund actor Stubby Kaye
    Stubby Kaye
    Stubby Kaye was an American comic actor. He was born Bernard Kotzin in New York City on the last day of the First World War, at West 114th Street in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan to first generation Jewish-Americans originally from Russia and Austria...

    .

  • Moonbeam McSwine: The unwashed but shapely form of languid, delectable Moonbeam was one of the iconic
    Iconography
    Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

     hallmarks of Li'l Abner—an unkempt, impossibly lazy, corncob pipe-smoking, flagrant (and fragrant), raven-haired, earthly (and earthy) goddess
    Goddess
    A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

    . Beautiful Moonbeam preferred the company of pigs to suitors—much to the frustration of her equally lazy pappy, Moonshine McSwine. She was usually showcased luxuriating among the hogs, somewhat removed from the main action of the story, in a deliberate travesty of glamour magazines and pinup calendars of the day. Capp designed her in caricature of his wife Catherine (minus the dirt), who had also suggested Daisy Mae's name.

  • Hairless Joe and Lonesome Polecat: The proud purveyors of "Kickapoo Joy Juice"—a moonshine
    Moonshine
    Moonshine is an illegally produced distilled beverage...

     elixir of such stupefying potency that the fumes alone have been known to melt the rivets off battleships. Concocted in a large wooden vat by the inseparable cave-dwelling buddies Lonesome Polecat (he of the Fried Dog Indian tribe
    Indian tribe
    In the United States, a Native American tribe is any extant or historical tribe, band, nation, or other group or community of Indigenous peoples in the United States...

    , later known as the Polecats, "the one tribe who have never been conquered,") and Hairless Joe (a hirsute, club-wielding, modern Cro-Magnon
    Cro-Magnon
    The Cro-Magnon were the first early modern humans of the European Upper Paleolithic. The earliest known remains of Cro-Magnon-like humans are radiometrically dated to 35,000 years before present....

    —who frequently made good on his oft-repeated threat, "Ah'll bash yore haid in!") The ingredients of the brew are both mysterious and all-encompassing, (much like the contents of their cave, which has been known to harbor prehistoric monsters
    Dinosaur
    Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

    .) When a batch "needs more body," the formidable pair simply goes out and clubs one (often a moose), and tosses it in. Over the years, the "recipe" has called for live grizzly bears, panthers, kerosene, horseshoes and anvils, among other ingredients. An officially licensed soft drink called Kickapoo Joy Juice
    Kickapoo Joy Juice
    Kickapoo Joy Juice is a citrus-flavored soft drink brand owned by The Monarch Beverage Company. The name was originally introduced in Li'l Abner, a comic strip that ran from 1934 through 1977...

     is still produced by the Monarch Beverage Company
    Monarch Beverage Company
    The Monarch Beverage Company Inc is a diversified, international beverage company based in Atlanta, Georgia. The company's CEO is Jacques Bombal. The company was founded in 1965 by Frank Armstrong. Monarch Beverage Company aimed to establish itself by offering lesser-known soft drink brands that...

     of Atlanta, Georgia
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

    . Lonesome Polecat was also the official team mascot
    Mascot
    The term mascot – defined as a term for any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck – colloquially includes anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name...

     of the Sioux City Soos (1940-1960), a former Minor League
    Minor league
    Minor leagues are professional sports leagues which are not regarded as the premier leagues in those sports. Minor league teams tend to play in smaller, less elaborate venues, often competing in smaller cities. This term is used in North America with regard to several organizations competing in...

     baseball
    Baseball
    Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

     franchise of Sioux City, Iowa
    Sioux City, Iowa
    Sioux City is a city in Plymouth and Woodbury counties in the western part of the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 82,684 in the 2010 census, a decline from 85,013 in the 2000 census, which makes it currently the fourth largest city in the state....

    .

  • Joe Btfsplk: The world's worst jinx
    Jinx
    A jinx, in popular superstition and folklore, is:* A type of curse placed on a person that makes them prey to many minor misfortunes and other forms of bad luck;...

    , Joe Btfsplk
    Joe Btfsplk
    Joe Btfsplk was a character in the satirical comic strip Li'l Abner by cartoonist Al Capp . He's well-meaning, but is the world's worst jinx, bringing disastrous misfortune to everyone around him. A small, dark rain cloud perpetually hovers over his head to symbolize his bad luck...

     had a perpetually dark rain cloud over his head. Instantaneous bad luck befell anyone unfortunate enough to be in his vicinity. Though well-meaning and friendly, his reputation inevitably precedes him—so Joe is a very lonely little man. He has an apparently unpronounceable name, but creator Al Capp "pronounced" Btfsplk by simply blowing a "raspberry," or Bronx cheer. Joe's personal storm cloud became one of the most iconic images in the strip.

  • Senator Jack S. Phogbound: His name was a thinly disguised variant on "jackass," as made plain in his deathless campaign slogan (see Dialogue and catchphrases). The senator was satirist Al Capp's parody of a blustering anti-New Deal
    New Deal
    The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

     Dixiecrat
    Dixiecrat
    The States' Rights Democratic Party was a short-lived segregationist political party in the United States in 1948...

    . Phogbound is a corrupt, conspiratorial blowhard; he often wears a coonskin cap and carries a ramrod rifle to impress his gullible constituents. In one sequence, Phogbound is unable to campaign in Dogpatch—so he sends his aides with an old, hot air-filled gas bag that resembles him. Nobody noticed the difference.

  • Available Jones: Dogpatch entrepreneur
    Entrepreneur
    An entrepreneur is an owner or manager of a business enterprise who makes money through risk and initiative.The term was originally a loanword from French and was first defined by the Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon. Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to a person who is willing to...

     Available Jones was always available—for a price. He had many sidelines, including minding babies, (Dry - 5¢, Other kinds - 10¢). He provided anything from a safety pin to a battleship, but his most famous "provision" was his memorable cousin—Stupefyin' Jones.

  • Stupefyin’ Jones: A walking aphrodisiac
    Aphrodisiac
    An aphrodisiac is a substance that increases sexual desire. The name comes from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality and love. Throughout history, many foods, drinks, and behaviors have had a reputation for making sex more attainable and/or pleasurable...

    , Stupefyin' was stunning—literally. So drop-dead gorgeous that any male who glimpsed her froze petrified in his tracks and rooted to the spot—in a word, stupefied! While she was generally favored by the males of Dogpatch, she could be deadly for a confirmed bachelor to encounter on Sadie Hawkins Day
    Sadie Hawkins Day
    An American folk event, Sadie Hawkins Day is a pseudo-holiday that originated in Al Capp's classic hillbilly comic strip, Li'l Abner . This inspired real-world Sadie Hawkins dances, where girls ask boys out.-Original story:...

    . Statuesque actress Julie Newmar
    Julie Newmar
    Julie Newmar is an American actress, dancer and singer. Her most famous role is Catwoman in the Batman television series.-Early life:...

     became famous overnight for playing the small role in the 1956 Li'l Abner Broadway musical (and the 1959 film adaptation) without uttering a single line.

  • General Bullmoose: Created by Al Capp in June 1953, Bashington T. Bullmoose was the epitome of a mercenary, cold-blooded capitalist tyrant. Bullmoose's bombastic motto (see Dialogue and catchphrases) was adapted by Capp from a statement made by Charles E. Wilson
    Charles E. Wilson
    Charles Edward Wilson was a CEO of General Electric. He left school at age 12 to work as a stock boy at Sprague Electrical Works, which was acquired by General Electric, taking night classes and working up to president in 1939.During World War II he served on the War Production Board as executive...

    , the former head of General Motors
    General Motors
    General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

     when it was America's largest corporation. In 1952 Wilson told a Senate subcommittee, "What is good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice-versa." Wilson later served as United States Secretary of Defense
    United States Secretary of Defense
    The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

     under President Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

    . Bullmoose had a simple boyhood dream: to possess all the money in the world. He very nearly did. Bullmoose Industries seemed to own or control everything. He had a milksop of a son named Weakfish, and was sometimes accompanied by his delectable "secretary," Bim Bovak, (whose name was a pun
    Pun
    The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. These ambiguities can arise from the intentional use and abuse of homophonic,...

     on both "bimbo" and bombshell actress Kim Novak
    Kim Novak
    Kim Novak is an American film and television actress. She began her career with her roles in Pushover and Phffft! but achieved greater prominence in the 1955 film Picnic...

    ). Li'l Abner became embroiled in many globetrotting adventures with the ruthless, reactionary billionaire over the years.

  • Wolf Gal: A feral
    Feral
    A feral organism is one that has changed from being domesticated to being wild or untamed. In the case of plants it is a movement from cultivated to uncultivated or controlled to volunteer. The introduction of feral animals or plants to their non-native regions, like any introduced species, may...

    , irredeemable, Amazonian
    Amazons
    The Amazons are a nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia...

     beauty who was raised by wolves and preferred to live among them; she lured unwary Dogpatchers to their doom to feed her ravenous pack. Wolf Gal was possibly, and even probably a cannibal—although the point was never stressed since she considered herself an animal, as did the rest of Dogpatch. One of Capp's more popular villains, Wolf Gal was briefly merchandised in the fifties with her own comic book, doll, handpuppet, and even a latex
    Latex
    Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

     Halloween
    Halloween
    Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

     mask.

  • Earthquake McGoon: Billing himself as "the world's dirtiest wrassler," the bearded, bloated McGoon first appeared in Li'l Abner as a traveling exhibition wrestler in the late 1930s, and was reportedly partially based on real-life grappler Man Mountain Dean
    Man Mountain Dean
    Man Mountain Dean , born Frank Simmons Leavitt, was a professional wrestler of the early 1900s.He was born in New York City, the son of John McKenney and Henrietta N. Leavitt. From childhood, Frank Leavitt was remarkably large in stature...

    . He also has a look-alike cousin named Typhoon McGoon. McGoon became increasingly prominent in the Li'l Abner Cream of Wheat
    Cream of Wheat
    Cream of Wheat is a porridge-type breakfast food invented in 1893 by wheat millers in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The cereal is currently manufactured and sold by B&G Foods. Until 2007, it was the Nabisco brand made by Kraft Foods. It is similar in texture to grits, but made with farina instead...

     print ads of the 1940s, and later, with the early television exposure of gimmicky wrestlers such as Gorgeous George
    George Wagner
    George Raymond Wagner was an American professional wrestler best known by his ring name Gorgeous George...

    . Earthquake is the nastiest resident of neighboring Skonk Hollow—a nightmarish, notoriously lawless community where no sane Dogpatcher dares set foot. The randy McGoon often attempted to walk Daisy Mae home "Skonk Hollow style"—the lascivious implications of which are never made specific.

  • The (shudder!) Scraggs: Hulking, leering, gap-toothed twin miscreants Lem and Luke and their needlessly proud pappy, Romeo. Apelike and gleefully homicidal, the impossibly evil Scraggs were officially declared inhuman by an act of Congress
    United States Congress
    The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

    . The Scraggs were so awful, they burned down orphanages just to have light to read by, (although the joke was on them when they remembered they couldn't read!) Distant kinfolk of Daisy Mae, they carried on a blood feud
    Feud
    A feud , referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another...

     with the Yokums throughout the run of the strip. A long-lost kid sister named "*@!!*!"-Belle Scragg briefly joined the clan in 1947. Fetchingly-attired in a prison-striped reform school
    Reform school
    A reform school in the United States was a term used to define, often somewhat euphemistically, what was often essentially a penal institution for boys, generally teenagers.-History:...

     miniskirt, "*@!!*!"-Belle was outwardly attractive but just as rotten as her siblings on the inside. Her censored first name was an expletive
    Profanity
    Profanity is a show of disrespect, or a desecration or debasement of someone or something. Profanity can take the form of words, expressions, gestures, or other social behaviors that are socially constructed or interpreted as insulting, rude, vulgar, obscene, desecrating, or other forms.The...

    , compelling everyone who addressed her to apologize profusely afterwards.

  • Nightmare Alice: Dogpatch's own "conjurin' woman," a hideous, cackling crone who practiced Louisiana Voodoo
    Louisiana Voodoo
    Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of underground religious practices which originated from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions which developed within the French, Spanish, and Creole speaking African American...

     and black magic
    Black magic
    Black magic is the type of magic that draws on assumed malevolent powers or is used with the intention to kill, steal, injure, cause misfortune or destruction, or for personal gain without regard to harmful consequences. As a term, "black magic" is normally used by those that do not approve of its...

    . Capp named her after the carnival-themed horror film, Nightmare Alley (1947). Alice employs witchcraft
    Witchcraft
    Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

     to "whomp up" ghosts and monsters to do her bidding. She was occasionally assisted by Doctor Babaloo, a witch doctor
    Witch doctor
    A witch doctor originally referred to a type of healer who treated ailments believed to be caused by witchcraft. It is currently used to refer to healers in some third world regions, who use traditional healing rather than contemporary medicine...

     of the Belgian Congo
    Belgian Congo
    The Belgian Congo was the formal title of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo between King Leopold II's formal relinquishment of his personal control over the state to Belgium on 15 November 1908, and Congolese independence on 30 June 1960.-Congo Free State, 1884–1908:Until the latter...

    , as well as her demon-child niece Scary Lou, who specializes in vexing voodoo dolls that resemble Li'l Abner.

  • Ole Man Mose: The mysterious Mose was reportedly hundreds of "y'ars" old, and lived like a hermit in a cave atop a mountain. (He obstinately refused to "kick the bucket," which was conveniently positioned just outside his cave door.) His wisdom is absolute ("Ole Man Mose—he knows!"), and his sought-after annual Sadie Hawkins Day predictions—though frustratingly cryptic and infuriatingly misleading—are nonetheless 100% accurate.

  • Evil-Eye Fleegle: Fleegle has a unique and terrifying skill—the evil eye
    Evil eye
    The evil eye is a look that is believed by many cultures to be able to cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike...

    . An ordinary "whammy," as he called it, could stop a charging bull in its tracks. A "double whammy" could fell a skyscraper, leaving Fleegle exhausted. His dreaded "triple whammy" could melt a battleship—but would practically kill Fleegle in the process. The zoot suit-clad Fleegle was a native of Brooklyn
    Brooklyn
    Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

    , and his burlesque New York
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

     accent was unmistakable—especially when addressing his "goil," the zaftig Shoiley. Fleegle was so popular, licensed plastic replicas of Fleegle's face were produced in the 1950s, to be worn like lapel pins. Battery-operated, the wearer could pull a string and produce a flashing light bulb "whammy." Fleegle was reportedly based on a real-life character, a Runyonesque
    Damon Runyon
    Alfred Damon Runyon was an American newspaperman and writer.He was best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era. To New Yorkers of his generation, a "Damon Runyon character" evoked a distinctive social type from the...

     local boxing
    Boxing
    Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

     trainer and hanger-on named Benjamin "Evil Eye" Finkle. Finkle and his famous "hex" were a ringside fixture in New York boxing circles during the 1930s and '40s. Fleegle was vividly portrayed by character actor
    Character actor
    A character actor is one who predominantly plays unusual or eccentric characters. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a character actor as "an actor who specializes in character parts", defining character part in turn as "an acting role displaying pronounced or unusual characteristics or...

     Al Nesor in the aforementioned stage play and film.

  • J. Roaringham Fatback: The self-styled "Pork King" was a greedy, gluttonous, unscrupulous business tycoon. Incensed to find that Dogpatch cast a shadow on his breakfast egg, he had Dogpatch moved—instead of the egg. The bloated, porcine Fatback is, quite literally, a corporate swine.

  • Gat Garson: Li'l Abner's doppelgänger
    Doppelgänger
    In fiction and folklore, a doppelgänger is a paranormal double of a living person, typically representing evil or misfortune...

    —a murderous racketeer, with a predilection for Daisy Mae.

  • Aunt Bessie: Mammy's socialite kid sister, the Duchess of Bopshire, was the "white sheep" of the family. Bessie's string of marriages into Boston
    Boston
    Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

     and Park Avenue
    Park Avenue (Manhattan)
    Park Avenue is a wide boulevard that carries north and southbound traffic in New York City borough of Manhattan. Through most of its length, it runs parallel to Madison Avenue to the west and Lexington Avenue to the east....

     aristocracy
    Aristocracy
    Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

     left her a class-conscious, condescending snob. Her status-seeking crusade to makeover Abner and marry him off into high society
    Upper class
    In social science, the "upper class" is the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. Members of an upper class may have great power over the allocation of resources and governmental policy in their area.- Historical meaning :...

     was doomed to failure, however. Aunt Bessie virtually disappeared from the strip after Abner and Daisy Mae's marriage in 1952.

  • Big Barnsmell: The lonely "inside man" at the "Skonk Works"—a dilapidated factory located on the remote outskirts of Dogpatch. Scores of locals are done in yearly by the toxic fumes of concentrated "skonk oil," which is brewed and barreled daily by Barnsmell and his cousin ("outside man" Barney Barnsmell) by grinding dead skunks and worn shoes into a smoldering still
    Still
    A still is a permanent apparatus used to distill miscible or immiscible liquid mixtures by heating to selectively boil and then cooling to condense the vapor...

    , for some unspecified purpose. His job played havoc with his social life (“He has an air about him,” as Dogpatchers tactfully put it), and the name of his famous facility entered the modern lexicon via the Lockheed
    Lockheed Corporation
    The Lockheed Corporation was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.-Origins:...

     Skunk Works
    Skunk works
    Skunk Works is an official alias for Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs , formerly called Lockheed Advanced Development Projects. Skunk Works is responsible for a number of famous aircraft designs, including the U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 Nighthawk, and the F-22 Raptor...

     project.

  • Soft-Hearted John: Dogpatch's impossibly mercenary, thoroughly blackhearted grocer, the ironically named Soft-Hearted John gleefully swindled and starved his clientele—and looked disturbingly satanic to boot. He had an idiot of a nephew who sometimes ran the store in his stead, aptly named Soft-Headed John.

  • Smilin' Zack: Cadaverous, outwardly peaceable mountaineer with a menacing grin and an even more menacing shotgun. He preferred things "quiet." (Real quiet, that is—not breathing or anything.) Zack's moniker was a take-off on another comic strip, The Adventures of Smilin' Jack
    The Adventures of Smilin' Jack
    The Adventures of Smilin' Jack was an aviation comic strip that first appeared October 1, 1933 in the Chicago Tribune and ended April 1, 1973....

     by Zack Mosley
    Zack Mosley
    Zack Terrell Mosley was an American comic strip artist best known for the aviation adventures in his long-running The Adventures of Smilin' Jack which ran in more than 300 newspapers from 1933 to 1973....

    .

  • Dr. Killmare: The local Dogpatch physician, who just happened to be a horse doctor. His name was a pun on movie, radio and TV's Dr. Kildare
    Dr. Kildare
    Dr. James Kildare is a fictional character, the primary character in a series of American theatrical films in the late 1930s and early 1940s, an early 1950s radio series, a 1960s television series of the same name and a comic book based on the TV show, and a short-lived 1970s television series...

     series.

  • Cap’n Eddie Ricketyback: Decrepit World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

     aviator
    Aviator
    An aviator is a person who flies an aircraft. The first recorded use of the term was in 1887, as a variation of 'aviation', from the Latin avis , coined in 1863 by G. de la Landelle in Aviation Ou Navigation Aérienne...

     and proprietor/sole operator of the even more decrepit Dogpatch Airlines. Cap'n Eddie's name was a spoof of decorated World War I flying ace, Eddie Rickenbacker
    Eddie Rickenbacker
    Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was an American fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. He was also a race car driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation, particularly as the longtime head of Eastern Air Lines.-Early...

    .

  • Weakeyes Yokum: Before Mister Magoo there was Dogpatch's own Cousin Weakeyes, who would tragically mistake grizzly bears for romantically-inclined "rich gals" in fur coats, and end a sequence by characteristically walking off a cliff.

  • Young Eddie McSkonk and U.S. Mule: Ancient, creaky, white-bearded Dogpatch postmaster and his hoary jackass mount. They were usually too feeble to handle the sacks of timeworn, cobweb-covered letters marked "Rush" at the Dogpatch Express post office.

  • J. Colossal McGenius: The brilliant marketing consultant who charged $10,000 per word for his sought-after business advice. McGenius was given to telling long-winded jokes with forgotten punch lines, however—as well as spells of hiccups and belches which, at ten grand a pop, usually bankrupted his unfortunate clients. (He had a regrettable fondness for gassy soft drinks like "Burpsi-Booma" and "Eleven Urp.") He was aided by his lovely and meticulously efficient secretary, Miss Pennypacker.

  • Silent Yokum: Prudent Cousin Silent never utters a word unless it's absolutely, vitally important. Consequently, he hasn't spoken in 40 years. The arrival of Silent's grim visage in Dogpatch signaled earthshaking news on the horizon. Capp would milk reader suspense by having Silent "warm up" his rusty, creaking jaw muscles for a few days, before the momentous pronouncement.

  • Happy Vermin: The "world's smartest cartoonist"—a caricature of Ham Fisher
    Ham Fisher
    Hammond Edward Fisher was an American comic strip writer and cartoonist who signed his work Ham Fisher...

    —who hired Li'l Abner to draw his comic strip for him in a dimly-lit closet. Instead of using Vermin's tired characters, Abner had inventively peopled the strip with hillbillies. A bighearted Vermin told his slaving assistant: "I'm proud of having created these characters!! They'll make millions for me!! And if they do—I'll get you a new light bulb!!"

  • Big Stanislouse: (aka Big Julius) Stanislouse was a brutal gangster with a childish fondness for kiddie TV superheroes (like "Chickensouperman" and "Milton the Masked Martian"). Part of a virtual goon squad of comic mobsters that inhabited Li'l Abner and Fearless Fosdick, the oafish Stanislouse alternated with other all-purpose underworld thugs, including "the Boys from the Syndicate"—Capp's euphemism
    Euphemism
    A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

     for The Mob
    Mafia
    The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

    .

  • The Square-Eyes Family: Mammy's revelatory encounter with these unpopular Dogpatch outcasts first appeared in 1956. The fable
    Fable
    A fable is a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse, that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized , and that illustrates a moral lesson , which may at the end be expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim.A fable differs from...

    -like story was really a thinly-veiled appeal for racial tolerance. It was later issued as an educational comic book—called Mammy Yokum and the Great Dogpatch Mystery!—by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.

  • Appassionata Von Climax: One of a series of predatory, sexually aggressive sirens who pursued Li'l Abner prior to his marriage, and even afterwards, much to the consternation of Daisy Mae. Joining a long list of dishy femmes fatales and spoiled debutantes that included Gloria Van Welbilt, Moonlight Sonata, Mimi Van Pett and "The Tigress"; Appassionata was memorably portrayed by both Tina Louise
    Tina Louise
    Tina Louise is an American actress, singer, and author. She is best known for her role as the "movie star" Ginger Grant on the television situation comedy Gilligan's Island .-Early life:...

     (onstage) and Stella Stevens
    Stella Stevens
    Stella Stevens Stella Stevens Stella Stevens (born October 1, 1938 is an American film, television and stage actress, who began her acting career in 1959 and starred in such popular films as The Nutty Professor, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Silencers, The Ballad of Cable Hogue and The...

     (on film). Capp always wondered how he ever got her suggestive name past the censors.

  • Tenderleif Ericson: Discovered frozen in the mud where her Viking
    Viking
    The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

     ship sank in 1047, Tenderleif was Leif Ericson
    Leif Ericson
    Leif Ericson was a Norse explorer who is regarded as the first European to land in North America , nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus...

    's beautiful, teenaged kid sister, (complete with breastplate
    Breastplate
    A breastplate is a device worn over the torso to protect it from injury, as an item of religious significance, or as an item of status. A breastplate is sometimes worn by mythological beings as a distinctive item of clothing.- Armour :...

     armor, Viking helmet and burlesque Norwegian
    Norwegian language
    Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

     accent.) As soon as she saw Li'l Abner, however, she started warming up and breathing hard. "She's seventeen y'ars old", explains Mammy, "and she hain't had a date fo' nine hunnerd y'ars!"

  • Princess Minihahaskirt: Decades before Disney's
    The Walt Disney Company
    The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

     Pocahontas
    Pocahontas (1995 film)
    Pocahontas is the 33rd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and was originally released to selected theaters on June 16, 1995 by Walt Disney Pictures...

    , the sexiest cartoon Indian princesses could be found in Li'l Abner. The latest in a series of lovely native maidens who enticed the normally stoic Lonesome Polecat, the list also included Minnie Mustache, Raving Dove, Little Turkey Wing and Princess Two Feathers.

  • Liddle Noodnik: A typically miserable resident of perpetually frozen Lower Slobbovia, naked local waif Liddle Noodnik was usually employed to recite a farcical poem of greeting to visiting dignitaries, or sing the absurd Slobbovian national anthem
    National anthem
    A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.- History :Anthems rose to prominence...

    , (see Setting and fictitious locales). Like many terms in Li'l Abner, Noodnik's name was derived from Yiddish. Nudnik is a slang term for a bothersome person or pest.

  • Pantless Perkins: A very late addition to the strip, Capp introduced Honest Abe's brainy, ragamuffin pal Pantless Perkins in a series of kid-themed stories in the seventies, probably to compete with Peanuts. Poor Pantless didn't own a single pair of trousers. He wore an over-length turtleneck sweater to hide the fact—much to his embarrassment.

  • Rotten Ralphie: The kiddie version of Earthquake McGoon, Ralphie lived up to his name—he was the perfectly rotten Dogpatch neighborhood bully. Exceedingly large for his age, Ralphie always wore a cowboy outfit that was several sizes too small.

  • Marcia Perkins: Innocent, outwardly normal teenager whose lips give off 451° degrees of electromagnetic heat
    Electromagnetism
    Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

    , frying the brain of any boy who kisses her. Declared a walking health hazard, poor Marcia must wear a public warning sign ("Do Not Kiss This Girl, by Order of the Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare"). Her notoriety precedes her everywhere except Dogpatch—where she meets and falls for Tiny Yokum.

  • Bet-a-Million Bashby: Bashby amassed his colossal fortune by following one simple rule: Always bet on a sure thing, and always bet with a fool. He hadn't reckoned on fool's luck, however. All through the years Bashby bet on sure things, and all through the years Abner won.

  • The Widder Fruitful: Another iconic Dogpatch "regular," often glimpsed in passing or featured in crowd scenes. The ample, fertile widow invariably held three or four naked newborns under each arm, always carried backside forward, with a healthy brood of earlier offspring following in her wake.

  • Dumpington Van Lump: The bloated, almost catatonic heir to the Van Lump fortune, Dumpington can only utter one syllable ("Urp!") ...until he sets sight on Daisy Mae. A somewhat subhuman fiend, his favorite book is the disturbingly-titled "How to Make Lampshades Out of Your Friends." Capp chose the Dumpington sequence to illustrate his lesson on continuity storytelling in the Famous Artists Cartoon Course.

  • Sam the Centaur: A "mythical critter" with a classic, chiseled profile and Apollo
    Apollo
    Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

    -like blonde mane, Sam is a Greek
    Ancient Greece
    Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

     centaur
    Centaur
    In Greek mythology, a centaur or hippocentaur is a member of a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse...

     who occasionally roams the mountains of Dogpatch instead of the mountains of Thessaly
    Thessaly
    Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

    . Available Jones, "th' most book-educated varmint in Dogpatch," pronounces: "He hain't real!"

  • Jubilation T. Cornpone: Dogpatch's founder and most famous son, memorialized by a town statue, is Confederate
    Confederate States of America
    The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

     General Jubilation T. Cornpone—renowned for "Cornpone's Retreat," "Cornpone's Disaster," "Cornpone's Misjudgment," and "Cornpone's Hoomiliation." Cornpone was such a disastrously incompetent military leader that he came to be considered an important asset of the opposing side. According to the stage play, the statue was commissioned by a grateful President Abraham Lincoln! (In one storyline, the General's statue is filled with Kickapoo Joy juice, which brings it to "life." It then goes on a rampage, beheading all the statues of Union generals. As the U.S. Army can't destroy it—since it's a National Monument—Kickapoo Joy Juice is poured into a Union statue, which "defeats" the Cornpone statue!) The hapless general is really best known for being the namesake of the rousing showstopper in the popular Li'l Abner
    Li'l Abner (musical)
    Li'l Abner is a musical with a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, music by Gene De Paul, and lyrics by Johnny Mercer.Based on the comic strip Li'l Abner by Al Capp, the show is, on the surface, a broad spoof of hillbillies but is also a pointed satire taking on any number of topics, ranging...

     musical, as sung by Marryin' Sam and chorus.

  • Sadie Hawkins: In the early days of Dogpatch, Sadie Hawkins was "the homeliest gal in them hills" who grew frantic waiting for suitors to come a-courtin'. Her father Hekzebiah Hawkins, a prominent Dogpatch resident, grew even more frantic—about Sadie living at home for the rest of his life. So he decreed the first annual Sadie Hawkins Day
    Sadie Hawkins Day
    An American folk event, Sadie Hawkins Day is a pseudo-holiday that originated in Al Capp's classic hillbilly comic strip, Li'l Abner . This inspired real-world Sadie Hawkins dances, where girls ask boys out.-Original story:...

    , a foot race in which all the unmarried women pursued the town's bachelors, with matrimony as the consequence. A pseudo-holiday entirely created in the strip, it's still observed today in the form of Sadie Hawkins dance
    Sadie Hawkins dance
    In the United States, the Sadie Hawkins Dance is usually a less formal dance sponsored by a high school, middle school or college, in which female students invite male students...

    s, at which women approach (or chase after) men.

  • Lena the Hyena: A hideous Lower Slobbovian gal, referred to but initially unseen or only glimpsed from the neck down in Li'l Abner. Lena was so ugly that anyone who saw her was immediately driven mad. No sane person, therefore, could tell you what she looked like. After weeks of teasing his readers by hiding Lena's face behind "censored" stickers and strategically placed dialogue balloons, Capp invited fans to draw Lena in a famous nationwide contest in 1946. Lena was ultimately revealed in the harrowing winning entry, (as judged by Frank Sinatra
    Frank Sinatra
    Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

    , Boris Karloff
    Boris Karloff
    William Henry Pratt , better known by his stage name Boris Karloff, was an English actor.Karloff is best remembered for his roles in horror films and his portrayal of Frankenstein's monster in Frankenstein , Bride of Frankenstein , and Son of Frankenstein...

     and Salvador Dalí
    Salvador Dalí
    Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol , commonly known as Salvador Dalí , was a prominent Spanish Catalan surrealist painter born in Figueres,Spain....

    ) drawn by noted cartoonist Basil Wolverton
    Basil Wolverton
    Basil Wolverton was an American cartoonist, illustrator, comic book writer-artist and professed "Producer of Preposterous Pictures of Peculiar People who Prowl this Perplexing Planet", whose many publishers included Marvel Comics and Mad.His unique, humorously grotesque drawings have elicited a...

    .

  • Joanie Phoanie: An unabashed Communist radical who sang revolutionary songs of class warfare
    Class conflict
    Class conflict is the tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests between people of different classes....

    —while hypocritically traveling in a limousine
    Limousine
    A limousine is a luxury sedan or saloon car, especially one with a lengthened wheelbase or driven by a chauffeur. The chassis of a limousine may have been extended by the manufacturer or by an independent coachbuilder. These are called "stretch" limousines and are traditionally black or white....

     and charging outrageous concert appearance fees to impoverished orphans. Joanie was Capp's notorious parody of protest singer/songwriter Joan Baez
    Joan Baez
    Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice....

    . The character caused a storm of controversy in 1966, and many newspapers would only run censored
    Censorship
    thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

     versions of the strips. Baez took Capp's implicit satire to heart, however, as she would admit years later in her autobiography: "Mr Capp confused me considerably. I'm sorry he's not alive to read this, it would make him chuckle," (from And A Voice To Sing With: A Memoir, 1987).

  • S.W.I.N.E.:
    Capp used Li'l Abner to satirize current events, fads, and ephemeral popular culture (such as zoot suit
    Zoot suit
    A zoot suit is a suit with high-waisted, wide-legged, tight-cuffed, pegged trousers, and a long coat with wide lapels and wide padded shoulders. This style of clothing was popularized by African Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Italian Americans during the late 1930s and the 1940s...

    s in "Zoot Suit Yokum," 1943). Beginning in the mid-1960s, the strip became a forum for Capp's increasingly conservative political views. Capp, who lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts
    Cambridge, Massachusetts
    Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

    , just a stone's throw from Harvard
    Harvard University
    Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

    , satirized campus radicals, militant student political groups and hippie
    Hippie
    The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

    s during the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

     protest era. The Youth International Party
    Youth International Party
    The Youth International Party, whose members were commonly called Yippies, was a radically youth-oriented and countercultural revolutionary offshoot of the free speech and anti-war movements of the 1960s. It was founded on Dec. 31, 1967...

     (YIP) and Students for a Democratic Society
    Students for a Democratic Society (1960 organization)
    Students for a Democratic Society was a student activist movement in the United States that was one of the main iconic representations of the country's New Left. The organization developed and expanded rapidly in the mid-1960s before dissolving at its last convention in 1969...

     (SDS) emerged in Li'l Abner as S.W.I.N.E. (Students Wildly Indignant about Nearly Everything!)

  • Al Capp claimed that he always strove to give incidental characters in Li'l Abner names that would render all further description unnecessary. In that spirit, the following list of recurring semi-regulars (and a few one-shots) are unreferenced: Tobacco Rhoda, Joan L. Sullivan, Romeo McHaystack, Hamfat Gooch, Global McBlimp, Concertino Constipato, Jinx Rasputinburg, J. Sweetbody Goodpants, Reactionary J. Repugnant, B. Fowler McNest, Fleabrain, Stubborn P. Tolliver, Idiot J. Tolliver, Battling McNoodnik, Mayor Dan'l Dawgmeat, Slobberlips McJab, One-Fault Jones, Swami Riva, Olman Riva, Sir Orble Gasse-Payne, Black Rufe, Mickey Looney, "Ironpants" Bailey, Henry Cabbage Cod, Priceless and Liceless, Hopeless and Soapless, Disgustin' Jones, Skelton McCloset, Hawg McCall, Loverboynik, "Good old" Bedly Damp ...and a host of others.

Fearless Fosdick



Li'l Abner also featured a comic strip-within-the-strip: Fearless Fosdick
Fearless Fosdick
Fearless Fosdick is a long-running parody of Chester Gould's Dick Tracy. It appeared intermittently as a strip-within-a-strip, in Al Capp's satirical hillbilly comic strip, Li'l Abner .-Li'l Abner's "ideel":...

 was a parody of Chester Gould's plainclothes detective, Dick Tracy
Dick Tracy
Dick Tracy is a comic strip featuring Dick Tracy, a hard-hitting, fast-shooting and intelligent police detective. Created by Chester Gould, the strip made its debut on October 4, 1931, in the Detroit Mirror. It was distributed by the Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate...

. It first appeared in 1942, and proved so popular that it ran intermittently in Li'l Abner over the next 35 years. Gould was also personally parodied in the series as cartoonist Lester Gooch—the diminutive, much-harassed and occasionally deranged "creator" of Fearless Fosdick. The style of the Fosdick sequences closely mimicked Tracy, including the urban setting, the outrageous villains, the galloping mortality rate, the crosshatched shadows, the lettering style—even Gould's familiar signature was parodied in Fearless Fosdick. Fosdick battled a succession of archenemies with absurdly unlikely names like Rattop, Anyface, Bombface, Boldfinger, the Atom Bum, the Chippendale Chair, and Sidney the Crooked Parrot, as well as his own criminal mastermind father, "Fearful" Fosdick (aka "The Original"). The razor-jawed title character (Li'l Abner's "ideel") was perpetually ventilated by flying bullets until he resembled a slice of Swiss cheese. The impervious Fosdick considered the gaping, smoking holes "mere scratches," however, and always reported back in one piece to his corrupt superior The Chief for duty the next day.

Besides being fearless, Fosdick was "pure, underpaid and purposeful," according to his creator. He also had notoriously bad aim—often leaving a trail of collateral damage
Collateral damage
Collateral damage is damage to people or property that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome. The phrase is prevalently used as an euphemism for civilian casualties of a military action.-Etymology:...

 (in the form of bullet-riddled pedestrians) in his wake. "When Fosdick is after a lawbreaker, there is no escape for the miscreant," Capp wrote in 1956. "There is, however, a fighting chance to escape for hundreds of innocent bystanders who happen to be in the neighborhood—but only a fighting chance. Fosdick's duty, as he sees it, is not so much to maintain safety as to destroy crime, and it's too much to ask any law-enforcement officer to do both, I suppose." Fosdick lived in squalor at the dilapidated boarding house run by his mercenary landlady, Mrs. Flintnose. He never married his own long-suffering fiancée Prudence (ugh!) Pimpleton (they've been engaged for 17 years), but Fosdick was directly responsible for the unwitting marriage of his biggest fan, Li'l Abner to Daisy Mae in 1952. The bumbling detective became the star of his own NBC-TV puppet show that same year. Fosdick also achieved considerable exposure as the long-running advertising spokesman for Wildroot Cream-Oil, a popular men's hair product of the postwar period.

Setting and fictitious locales


Although ostensibly set in the Kentucky mountains, situations often took the characters to different destinations—including New York City, Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, Hollywood, the South American Amazon
Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest , also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America...

, tropical islands, the Moon, Mars, etc.—as well as some purely fanciful worlds of Capp's imagination.

Dogpatch


Exceeding every burlesque
Burlesque
Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects...

 stereotype of Appalachia
Appalachia
Appalachia is a term used to describe a cultural region in the eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York state to northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Belle Isle in Canada to Cheaha Mountain in the U.S...

, the impoverished backwater of Dogpatch
Dogpatch
Dogpatch was the fictional setting of cartoonist Al Capp's classic comic strip, Li'l Abner .In Capp's own words, Dogpatch was "an average stone-age community nestled in a bleak valley, between two cheap and uninteresting hills somewhere." The inhabitants were mostly lazy hillbillies, who usually...

 consisted mostly of hopelessly ramshackle log cabins, "tarnip" fields, pine trees and "hawg" wallows. Most Dogpatchers were shiftless and ignorant, the remainder were scoundrels and thieves. The menfolk were too lazy to work, yet Dogpatch gals were desperate enough to chase them (see Sadie Hawkins Day
Sadie Hawkins Day
An American folk event, Sadie Hawkins Day is a pseudo-holiday that originated in Al Capp's classic hillbilly comic strip, Li'l Abner . This inspired real-world Sadie Hawkins dances, where girls ask boys out.-Original story:...

). Those who farmed their turnip fields watched "Turnip termites" swarm by the billions every year, locust-like, to devour Dogpatch's only crop, (along with their homes, their livestock and all their clothing.) The local geography was fluid and vividly complex; Capp continually changed it to suit either his whims or the current storyline. Natural landmarks included (at various times) Teeterin' Rock, Onneccessary Mountain, Bottomless Canyon, and Kissin' Rock, (handy to Suicide Cliff). Local attractions that reappeared in the strip included the West Po'k Chop Railroad, the Skonk Works, and the General Jubilation T. Cornpone memorial statue.

In the midst of the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, the hardscrabble residents of lowly Dogpatch allowed suffering Americans to laugh at yokels even worse off than themselves. In Al Capp's own words, Dogpatch was "an average stone-age community nestled in a bleak valley, between two cheap and uninteresting hills somewhere." Very early in the continuity Capp once referred to Dogpatch being in Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, but he was careful afterwards to keep its location generic, probably to avoid cancellations from offended subscribing Kentucky newspapers. Like the Coconino County
Coconino County, Arizona
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*61.7% White*1.2% Black*27.3% Native American*1.4% Asian*0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.1% Two or more races*5.2% Other races*13.5% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

 depicted in George Herriman
George Herriman
George Joseph Herriman was an American cartoonist, best known for his classic comic strip Krazy Kat.-Early life:...

's Krazy Kat
Krazy Kat
Krazy Kat is an American comic strip created by cartoonist George Herriman, published daily in newspapers between 1913 and 1944. It first appeared in the New York Evening Journal, whose owner, William Randolph Hearst, was a major booster for the strip throughout its run...

 and the Okefenokee Swamp
Okefenokee Swamp
The Okefenokee Swamp is a shallow, 438,000 acre , peat-filled wetland straddling the Georgia–Florida border in the United States. A majority of the swamp is in Georgia and protected by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the Okefenokee Wilderness. The Okefenokee Swamp is considered to be...

 of Walt Kelly
Walt Kelly
Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr. , or Walt Kelly, was an American animator and cartoonist, best known for the comic strip, Pogo. He began his animation career in 1936 at Walt Disney Studios, contributing to Pinocchio and Fantasia. Kelly resigned in 1941 at the age of 28 to work at Post-Hall Syndicate,...

's Pogo, Dogpatch's distinctive cartoon landscape became as identified with the strip as any of its characters. Later, Capp licensed and was part-owner of an 800 acres (3.2 km²) $35 million theme park called Dogpatch USA
Dogpatch USA
Dogpatch USA is an abandoned theme park located on State Highway 7 between the cities of Harrison and Jasper in Arkansas, USA, an area known today as Marble Falls...

 near Harrison, Arkansas
Harrison, Arkansas
Harrison is a city in Boone County, Arkansas, United States. It is the county seat. According to 2007 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 13,108. Boone County was organized in 1869, during reconstruction after the civil war. Harrison was platted and made the county seat. It is...

.

Lower Slobbovia


As utterly wretched as existence was in Dogpatch, there was one place even worse. Frigid, far away Lower Slobbovia was fashioned as a pointedly political satire of backward nations and foreign diplomacy
Diplomacy
Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

, and remains a contemporary reference. The hapless residents were perpetually waist-deep in several feet of snow, and icicles hung from almost every frostbitten nose. The favorite dish of the starving natives was raw polar bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

 (and vice-versa). Lower Slobbovians spoke with burlesque pidgin
Pidgin
A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a simplified language that develops as a means of communication between two or more groups that do not have a language in common. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the...

-Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 accents; the miserable frozen wasteland of Capp's invention abounded in incongruous Yiddish humor.

Lower Slobbovia and Dogpatch are both comic examples of modern dystopian satire. Conceptually based on Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, or perhaps specifically on Birobidzhan
Birobidzhan
Birobidzhan is a town and the administrative center of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, Russia. It is located on the Trans-Siberian railway, close to the border with the People's Republic of China....

, Capp's icy hellhole made its first appearance in Li'l Abner in April 1946. Ruled by Good King Nogoodnik (sometimes known as King Stubbornovsky the Last), the Slobbovian politicians were even more corrupt than their Dogpatch counterparts. Their monetary unit was the "Rasbucknik," of which one was worth nothing and a large quantity was worth a lot less, due to the trouble of carrying them around. The local children were read harrowing tales from "Ice-sop's Fables," which were parodies of classic Aesop Fables—but with a darkly sardonic bent (and titles like "Coldilocks and the Three Bares"). Slobbovia even had its own (absurd) national anthem
National anthem
A national anthem is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation's government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.- History :Anthems rose to prominence...

, which went like this:
We are citizens of Slobbovia
(Oh, that this should be happening to us!)
We are giving you back to the Indians
(But they are refusing, of cuss!)

PTUI on you, Slobbovia!
We are hating your icebound coast
Of all the countries in the world
WE ARE HATING SLOBBOVIA MOST!!

Other fictional locales


Skonk Hollow, El Passionato, Kigmyland, the Republic of Crumbumbo, Lo Kunning, Faminostan, Planets Pincus Number 2 and 7, Pineapple Junction and, most notably, the Valley of the Shmoon.

Shmoos and other mythic creatures



Shmoos, introduced in 1948, were fabulous creatures that bred exponentially, consumed nothing, and eagerly provided everything that humankind could wish for. Besides producing both milk (bottled, grade A) and eggs (neatly packaged), they tasted like pork when roasted, chicken when fried, and steak when broiled. Ironically
Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions...

, the shmoo's generous nature and incredible usefulness made it a threat to capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

, to western society
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

 and perhaps to civilization itself. Li'l Abner featured a whole menagerie of allegorical animals over the years—each one was designed to satirically showcase another disturbing aspect of human nature
Human nature
Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally....

. They included:
  • Kigmies - Masochistic, aboriginal creatures who loved to be kicked, thereby satisfying all human aggression... up to a point, after which they went on a rampage of retaliation. (The Kigmy story was originally fashioned as a metaphor
    Metaphor
    A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

     for racial and religious oppression. Capp's surviving preliminary sketches of the kigmies make this apparent, as detailed in the introductory notes to Li'l Abner Dailies 1949: Volume 15, Kitchen Sink Press, 1992).
  • The Bald Iggle - A cute little wide-eyed, guileless critter whose soulful gaze compelled everyone to involuntarily tell the truth—including lawyers, politicians, fishermen, advertisers, husbands, wives and used car salesmen. The Iggle was officially declared a public menace by the FBI
    Federal Bureau of Investigation
    The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

     ("The life it ruins may be your own!"), and ultimately hunted down, confiscated and exterminated.
  • Nogoodniks - or bad shmoos. Nogoodniks were a "sickly shade of green," had "li'l red eyes, sharp yaller teeth, an' a dirty look," and were the sworn enemies of "hoomanity." Frequently sporting 5 o'clock shadows, eye patches, scars, fangs and other ruffian attributes—they devoured "good" shmoos, and wreaked havoc on Dogpatch. They're finally defeated when they get subjected to George Jessel
    George Jessel (actor)
    George Albert Jessel was an American illustrated song "model," actor, singer, songwriter, and Academy Award-winning movie producer. He was famous in his lifetime as a multitalented comedic entertainer, achieving a level of recognition that transcended his limited roles in movies...

    's recording of Paul Whiteman
    Paul Whiteman
    Paul Samuel Whiteman was an American bandleader and orchestral director.Leader of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920s, Whiteman's recordings were immensely successful, and press notices often referred to him as the "King of Jazz"...

    's "Wagon Wheels," a sound so excruciating that it kills them instantly. (A very similar climactic resolution occurred in the 1996 film, Mars Attacks!
    Mars Attacks!
    Mars Attacks! is a 1996 American science fiction film directed by Tim Burton and based on the cult trading card series of the same name. The film uses elements of black comedy, surreal humour, and political satire, and claims to be also a parody of multiple science fiction B movies...

     In the movie, Slim Whitman
    Slim Whitman
    Ottis Dewey Whitman, Jr. , known professionally as Slim Whitman, is an American country music singer and songwriter, known for his yodelling abilities. He has sold in excess of 120 million albums in unit sales and has had numerous successful recordings...

    's version of "Indian Love Call
    Indian Love Call
    "Indian Love Call" is a song from Rose-Marie, a 1924 operetta-style Broadway musical with music by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, and book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II...

    " was the method of destruction.)
  • Shtoonks - or winged, flying shmoos.
  • Mimikniks - Obsessive Slobbovian songbirds who sing like anyone they've ever heard. (Those who've heard Maria Callas
    Maria Callas
    Maria Callas was an American-born Greek soprano and one of the most renowned opera singers of the 20th century. She combined an impressive bel canto technique, a wide-ranging voice and great dramatic gifts...

     are valued. Those who've heard George Jessel are shot.) The only song they know the words to is Short'nin' Bread, however—due to the fact that there was only one record in Lower Slobbovia.
  • The Money Ha-Ha - An alien creature from "Planet Pincus No. 2," with ears shaped like taxi horns. It laid U.S. currency in place of eggs.
  • Turnip Termites - Looking like a cross between a locust
    Locust
    Locusts are the swarming phase of short-horned grasshoppers of the family Acrididae. These are species that can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory...

     and a piranha
    Piranha
    A piranha or piraña is a member of family Characidae in order Characiformes, an omnivorous freshwater fish that inhabits South American rivers. In Venezuela, they are called caribes...

    , billions of these insatiable pests swarm once a year to their ancient feeding ground—Dogpatch.
  • Shminks - Valued for making "shmink coats." They can only be captured by braining 'em with a kitchen door.
  • Pincushions - Alien beings from "Planet Pincus No. 7." They looked like flying sausages, with pinwheels on their posteriors.
  • Abominable Snow-Hams - Delectable but intelligent and sensitive beings, presenting Tiny Yokum with an ethical dilemma: Does eating one constitute cannibalism
    Cannibalism
    Cannibalism is the act or practice of humans eating the flesh of other human beings. It is also called anthropophagy...

    ?
  • The Slobbovian Amp-Eater - This luminous beast consumed electric currents; a walking energy crisis
    Energy crisis
    An energy crisis is any great bottleneck in the supply of energy resources to an economy. In popular literature though, it often refers to one of the energy sources used at a certain time and place, particularly those that supply national electricity grids or serve as fuel for vehicles...

    .
  • Bashful Bulganiks - Timid birds that are so skittish they can't be seen by human eyes, and are thus theoretical.
  • Stunflowers - Murderous, thoroughly malevolent anthropomorphic houseplants.
  • Fatoceroses - The only defense against a stampede of these bloated pachyderms is a steaming plate of lethally addictive "Mockaroni."
  • Bitingales - Fiendish little devil birds whose hellish bite causes unbearable heat—for 24 years.
  • The Slobbovian King Crab - A huge crustacean
    Crustacean
    Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

     that only eats Slobbovian kings.
  • The Flapaloo - A scrawny, prehistoric bird that lays 1,000 eggs per minute. The eggs, when dissolved, turn water into gasoline. The Oil industry captures the last one in existence—and mercilessly wrings its neck!
  • Gobbleglops - Looking like a cross between a hog and a teddy bear, these insatiable creatures eat rubbish, (or as Mammy calls it, "glop.") They can't be touched, as they're red-hot, living incinerators; waste goes in and nothing comes out. Mammy leads them to America's major polluted cities, where they obligingly devour all the garbage. But when the glop runs out—they begin to consume everything (and everyone) else in sight...
  • Shmeagles - The world's most amorous creatures, they pursue their females at the speed of light
    Speed of light
    The speed of light in vacuum, usually denoted by c, is a physical constant important in many areas of physics. Its value is 299,792,458 metres per second, a figure that is exact since the length of the metre is defined from this constant and the international standard for time...

    —sometimes even faster!
  • Hammus Alabammus - Faux (pig) Latin designation for an adorable (and delectable) species of swine, with a "zoot snoot" and a "drape shape." The only known one in existence resides with the Yokums—their beloved pet, Salomey.

Dialogue and catchphrases



Al Capp, a native northeasterner
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

, wrote all the final dialogue in Li'l Abner using his approximation of a mock-southern
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

, (including phonetic sounds, nonstop "creative" spelling and deliberate malapropisms). He constantly interspersed boldface type, and included prompt words in parentheses (chuckle!, sob!, gasp!, shudder!, smack!, drool!, cackle!, snort!, gulp!, blush!, ugh!, etc.) as asides—to bolster the effect of the printed speech balloons. Almost every line was followed by two exclamation points for added emphasis.

Outside Dogpatch, characters used a variety of stock Vaudevillian dialects. Mobsters
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

 and criminal-types invariably spoke slangy Brooklynese, and residents of Lower Slobbovia spoke pidgin-Russian, with a smattering of Yinglish
Yinglish
Yinglish words are neologisms created by speakers of Yiddish in English-speaking countries, sometimes to describe things that were uncommon in the old country...

. Comic dialects were also devised for offbeat British characters—like H'Inspector Blugstone of Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard is a metonym for the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service of London, UK. It derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. The Scotland Yard entrance became...

 (who had a Cockney
Cockney
The term Cockney has both geographical and linguistic associations. Geographically and culturally, it often refers to working class Londoners, particularly those in the East End...

 accent) and Sir Cecil Cesspool, (whose speech was a clipped, uppercrust King's English
Received Pronunciation
Received Pronunciation , also called the Queen's English, Oxford English or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms...

). Various Asian
Asian people
Asian people or Asiatic people is a term with multiple meanings that refers to people who descend from a portion of Asia's population.- Central Asia :...

, Latin
Latin Americans
Latin Americans are the citizens of the Latin American countries and dependencies. Latin American countries are multi-ethnic, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds. As a result, some Latin Americans don't take their nationality as an ethnicity, but identify themselves with...

, Native American and European characters spoke in a wide range of specific, broadly caricatured dialects as well. Capp has credited his inspiration for vividly stylized language to early literary influences like Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

, Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 and Damon Runyon
Damon Runyon
Alfred Damon Runyon was an American newspaperman and writer.He was best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era. To New Yorkers of his generation, a "Damon Runyon character" evoked a distinctive social type from the...

, as well as Old-time radio
Old-time radio
Old-Time Radio and the Golden Age of Radio refer to a period of radio programming in the United States lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until television's replacement of radio as the primary home entertainment medium in the 1950s...

 and the Burlesque stage.

The following is a partial list of characteristic expressions that reappeared often in Li'l Abner.
  • "Natcherly!"
  • "Amoozin' but confoozin'!"
  • "Yo' big, sloppy beast!!" (also, "Yo’ mizzable skonk!!")
  • "Ef Ah had mah druthers, Ah'd druther..."
  • "As any fool kin plainly see!" (Response: "Ah sees!")
  • "What's good for General Bullmoose is good for everybody!" (Variant from the movie: "...good for the USA!")
  • "Thar's no Jack S. like our Jack S!"
  • "Oh, happy day!"
  • "Pearly gates, open wide!"
  • "Th’ ideel o’ ev’ry one hunnerd percent, red-blooded American boy!"
  • "Ah'll bash yore haid in!!"
  • "Wal, fry mah hide!" (also, "Wal, cuss mah bones!")
  • "Ah has spoken!"
  • "Good is better than evil becuz it's nicer!"
  • "It hain't hoomin, thass whut it hain't!"

Toppers and alternate strips

  • Washable Jones
  • Small Fry (a.k.a. Small Change)
  • Advice fo’ Chillun
  • Abbie an' Slats
    Abbie an' Slats
    Abbie an' Slats is an American comic strip which ran from July 12, 1937 to January 30, 1971, initially written by Al Capp and drawn by Raeburn Van Buren. It was distributed by United Feature Syndicate....

    by Al Capp and Raeburn van Buren
    Raeburn van Buren
    Raeburn Van Buren was an American magazine and comic strip illustrator best known for his work on the syndicated Abbie an' Slats. He was familiarly known in the professional comics community as Ray Van Buren....

  • Long Sam
    Long Sam
    Long Sam was an American comic strip created by Al Capp, writer-artist of Li'l Abner, and illustrated by Bob Lubbers. It was syndicated by United Feature Syndicate from 1954 to 1962. The strip was initially written by Capp, who soon turned the duties over to his brother, Elliot Caplin...

    by Al Capp and Bob Lubbers
    Bob Lubbers
    Bob Lubbers is an American comic strip and comic book artist best known for his work on such strips as Tarzan, Li'l Abner and Long Sam.-Biography:...


Licensing, advertising and promotion


Al Capp was a master of the arts of marketing
Marketing
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

 and promotion
Promotion (marketing)
Promotion is one of the four elements of marketing mix . It is the communication link between sellers and buyers for the purpose of influencing, informing, or persuading a potential buyer's purchasing decision....

. Publicity campaigns were devised to boost circulation and increase public visibility of Li'l Abner, often coordinating with national magazines, radio and television. These included the Lena the Hyena Contest (1946), tie-in broadcasts of (Li'l Abner) Don't Marry That Girl!! (1946), the Name the Shmoo Contest (1949), the Nancy O. Contest (1951), the Roger the Lodger Contest (1964), and many others.

Capp also excelled at product endorsement, and Li'l Abner characters were often featured in mid-century American advertising campaign
Advertising campaign
An advertising campaign is a series of advertisement messages that share a single idea and theme which make up an integrated marketing communication...

s. Dogpatch characters pitched consumer products as varied as Grape-Nuts cereal
Grape-Nuts
Grape-Nuts is a breakfast cereal developed by C. W. Post in 1897. Post was a patient and later competitor of the 19th-century breakfast food innovator, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Despite its name, the cereal contains neither grapes nor nuts. The cereal is actually made from wheat and barley, in later...

, Kraft caramels
Kraft Foods
Kraft Foods Inc. is an American confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate. It markets many brands in more than 170 countries. 12 of its brands annually earn more than $1 billion worldwide: Cadbury, Jacobs, Kraft, LU, Maxwell House, Milka, Nabisco, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Trident, Tang...

, Ivory soap, Oxydol
Oxydol
Oxydol is the name of a laundry detergent sold in the United States and in the United Kingdom. It was created in 1914. Purchased by Procter & Gamble in 1927, it was P&G's first detergent. In the 1930s, Oxydol was the sponsor of the Ma Perkins radio show, considered the first soap opera. As Oxydol...

, Duz and Dreft
Dreft
Dreft is a popular laundry detergent in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and other markets. First produced by Procter & Gamble in 1933, it was one of the earliest synthetic detergents. Upon its inception, Dreft was touted as a significant improvement over the soap suds of...

 detergents, Fruit of the Loom
Fruit of the Loom
Fruit of the Loom is an American company which manufactures clothing, particularly underwear. The company's world headquarters is in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is currently a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.-Company profile:...

, Orange Crush
Orange Crush
Crush is a carbonated soft drink brand, originally marketed as an orange soda, which was invented by California beverage and extract chemist Neil C. Ward. Most flavors of Crush are caffeine-free.-History:...

, Nestlé's cocoa
Nestlé
Nestlé S.A. is the world's largest food and nutrition company. Founded and headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé originated in a 1905 merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, established in 1867 by brothers George Page and Charles Page, and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé, founded in 1866 by Henri...

, Cheney neckties, Pedigree pencils, Strunk chainsaws, U.S. Royal tires, Head & Shoulders shampoo
Head & Shoulders
Head & Shoulders is a brand of anti-dandruff shampoo produced by Procter & Gamble. Head & Shoulders Classic Clean Shampoo is the top-selling shampoo in the United States by dollar sales.- History :...

 and General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 light bulbs. There were even Dogpatch-themed family restaurants called "Li'l Abner's" in Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, Morton Grove, Illinois
Morton Grove, Illinois
Morton Grove is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 22,451 at the 2000 census.The Village President of Morton Grove since April 27, 2009, is Daniel J...

 and Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Seattle is the county seat of King County, Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the largest city in the Northwestern United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the country...

.

Capp himself appeared in numerous print ads. A lifelong chain-smoker, he happily plugged Chesterfield cigarettes; he appeared in Schaeffer fountain pen ads with his friends Milton Caniff
Milton Caniff
Milton Arthur Paul Caniff was an American cartoonist famous for the Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon comic strips.-Biography:...

 and Walt Kelly
Walt Kelly
Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr. , or Walt Kelly, was an American animator and cartoonist, best known for the comic strip, Pogo. He began his animation career in 1936 at Walt Disney Studios, contributing to Pinocchio and Fantasia. Kelly resigned in 1941 at the age of 28 to work at Post-Hall Syndicate,...

; pitched the Famous Artists School
Famous Artists School
Famous Artists School has offered correspondence courses in art since it was founded in 1948 in Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A. The idea was conceived by Albert Dorne as a result of a conversation with Norman Rockwell...

 (in which he had a financial interest) along with Caniff, Rube Goldberg
Rube Goldberg
Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor.He is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complex gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. These devices, now known as Rube Goldberg machines, are similar to...

, Virgil Partch, Willard Mullin
Willard Mullin
Willard Mullin was an American sports cartoonist. He is most famous for his creation of the "Brooklyn Bum", the personification of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team...

 and Whitney Darrow, Jr; and, though a professed teetotaler, he personally endorsed Rheingold Beer
Rheingold Beer
Rheingold Beer, introduced in 1883, is a New York beer that held 35 percent of the state's beer market from 1950 to 1960. The company was sold by the founding Liebmann family in 1963...

, among other products.
  • Cream of Wheat: Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Li'l Abner was the spokesman for Cream of Wheat
    Cream of Wheat
    Cream of Wheat is a porridge-type breakfast food invented in 1893 by wheat millers in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The cereal is currently manufactured and sold by B&G Foods. Until 2007, it was the Nabisco brand made by Kraft Foods. It is similar in texture to grits, but made with farina instead...

     cereal in a long-running series of comic strip-format ads that appeared in national magazines including Life, Good Housekeeping
    Good Housekeeping
    Good Housekeeping is a women's magazine owned by the Hearst Corporation, featuring articles about women's interests, product testing by The Good Housekeeping Institute, recipes, diet, health as well as literary articles. It is well known for the "Good Housekeeping Seal," popularly known as the...

    , and Ladies' Home Journal
    Ladies' Home Journal
    Ladies' Home Journal is an American magazine which first appeared on February 16, 1883, and eventually became one of the leading women's magazines of the 20th century in the United States...

    . The ads usually featured Daisy Mae calling for "halp" against a threatening menace—in the person of Earthquake McGoon or, just as often, a gorilla, grizzly bear, rampaging moose, "Injun" attack, or some natural disaster like an avalanche, fire or flood. Abner is dispatched to rescue her, but not before enjoying a "dee-lishus" enriched bowl of hot Cream of Wheat which, the reader is assured, is "ready in just 5 minutes!"

  • Wildroot Cream-Oil: Fearless Fosdick was licensed for use in an advertising campaign for Wildroot Cream-Oil, a popular men's hair tonic. Fosdick's iconic profile on tin signs and advertising displays became a prominent fixture in barbershops across America—advising readers to "Get Wildroot Cream-Oil, Charlie!" A series of ads appeared in newspapers, magazines and comic books featuring Fosdick's farcical battles with "Anyface"—a murderous master of disguise. (Anyface was always given away by his telltale dandruff
    Dandruff
    Dandruff is the shedding of dead skin cells from the scalp . Dandruff is sometimes caused by frequent exposure to extreme heat and cold. As it is normal for skin cells to die and flake off, a small amount of flaking is normal and common; about 487,000 cells/cm2 get released normally after...

     and messy hair, however.)

  • Toys and licensed merchandise: Dogpatch characters were heavily licensed throughout the 1940s and '50s: the main cast was produced as a set of 6 handpuppets and 14 inches (355.6 mm) dolls by Baby Barry Toys in 1957. A 10-figure set of carnival chalkware
    Chalkware
    Chalkware was figurines either made of sculpted gypsum or cast from plaster moulds and painted with watercolors; most typically those made in one of two periods: the first beginning in the late 18th century and ending by the beginning of the 20th century, the second being during the Great Depression...

     statues of Dogpatch characters was manufactured by Artrix Products in 1951, and Topstone introduced a line of 16 rubber Halloween masks prior to 1960. Licensing would reach an apex, however, with the unexpected (and almost unprecedented) postwar merchandising phenomenon that followed Capp's introduction of the Shmoo. As in the strip, shmoos suddenly appeared to be everywhere in 1948 and 1949. A garment factory in Baltimore
    Baltimore
    Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

     turned out a whole line of shmoo apparel—including "Shmooveralls." Shmoo dolls, clocks, watches, jewelry, earmuffs, wallpaper, fishing lures, air fresheners, soap, ice cream, balloons, ashtrays, comic books, records, sheet music, toys, games, Halloween masks, salt and pepper shakers, decals, pinbacks, tumblers, coin banks, greeting cards, planters, neckties, suspenders, belts, curtains, fountain pens, and other shmoo paraphernalia were produced. In a single year, shmoo merchandise generated over $25 million in sales. Close to a hundred licensed shmoo products from 75 different manufacturers were produced, some of which sold five million units each, (Sources: Newsweek September 5, 1949 and Editor & Publisher July 16, 1949). More recently, Dark Horse Comics issued 4 figures of Abner, Daisy Mae, Fosdick and the Shmoo in 2000 as part of their line of Classic Comic Characters—statues #8, 9, 17 and 31, respectively.

  • Kickapoo Joy Juice
    Kickapoo Joy Juice
    Kickapoo Joy Juice is a citrus-flavored soft drink brand owned by The Monarch Beverage Company. The name was originally introduced in Li'l Abner, a comic strip that ran from 1934 through 1977...

    :
    The lethal brew known as Kickapoo Joy Juice, featured in the strip and characterized as moonshine or bootleg liquor (it could also remove hair, paint and tattoos) has been a licensed brand in real-life since 1965. The National NuGrape
    NuGrape
    NuGrape is a brand of grape-flavored soda pop. The NuGrape brand was invented in 1906, first bottled in 1921, and by April 1933, The National NuGrape Company was founded in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1922, licensing rights were sold to the Olla Bottling Works in Olla, Louisiana where it was made and...

     Company first produced the beverage, which was acquired in 1968 by the Moxie
    Moxie
    Moxie is a carbonated beverage that was one of the first mass-produced soft drinks in the United States. It continues to be regionally popular today....

     Company, and eventually the Monarch Beverage Company
    Monarch Beverage Company
    The Monarch Beverage Company Inc is a diversified, international beverage company based in Atlanta, Georgia. The company's CEO is Jacques Bombal. The company was founded in 1965 by Frank Armstrong. Monarch Beverage Company aimed to establish itself by offering lesser-known soft drink brands that...

     of Atlanta, Ga. As with Mountain Dew
    Mountain Dew
    Mountain Dew is a citrus-flavored carbonated soft drink brand produced and owned by PepsiCo. The original formula was invented in the 1940s by Tennessee beverage bottlers Barney and Ally Hartman and was first marketed in Marion, VA, Knoxville and Johnson City, Tennessee. A revised formula was...

    , another euphemism for moonshine, the actual product is a soft-drink. To this day the label features Capp's characters Hairless Joe and Lonesome Polecat. Distribution currently includes the United States, Canada, Singapore
    Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

    , Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
    Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

    , China, Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

    , Malaysia, Mongolia
    Mongolia
    Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

    , Brunei
    Brunei
    Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

    , Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

     and Thailand
    Thailand
    Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

    .

  • Dogpatch USA: In 1968, an 800 acres (3.2 km²) $35 million theme park called Dogpatch USA
    Dogpatch USA
    Dogpatch USA is an abandoned theme park located on State Highway 7 between the cities of Harrison and Jasper in Arkansas, USA, an area known today as Marble Falls...

     opened at Marble Falls, Arkansas
    Marble Falls, Arkansas
    Marble Falls is an unincorporated community in Newton County, Arkansas, United States. It lies along Arkansas's National Scenic 7 Bywaybetween Harrison and Jasper. The Marble Falls Post Office is located in the parking lot of the now defunct theme park called Dogpatch USA...

    , based on Capp's work and with his support. The gift shops sold "hillbilly" souvenirs like corncob pipes and moonshine jugs. In addition to the newly constructed rides and attractions, many of the buildings in the park were authentic 19th century log structures purchased by general manager James H. Schermerhorn. The logs in each building were numbered, catalogued, disassembled and reassembled at the park. Dogpatch USA was a popular attraction during the 1970s, but was closed in 1993 due to mismanagement and financial difficulties. Several attempts have been made to reopen the park but at present it lies abandoned. As of late 2005, the area once devoted to a live-action facsimile of Dogpatch (including a lifesize statue in the town square of Dogpatch "founder" Jubilation T. Cornpone) has been heavily stripped by vandals and souvenir hunters, and is today slowly being reclaimed by the surrounding Arkansas wilderness.

Awards and recognition


Fans of the strip ranged from novelist John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...

, who called Capp "very possibly the best writer in the world today" in 1953, and even earnestly recommended him for the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 in literature—to media critic and theorist Marshall McLuhan
Marshall McLuhan
Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar—a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a rhetorician, and a communication theorist...

, who considered Capp "the only robust satirical force in American life." John Updike
John Updike
John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic....

, calling Li'l Abner a “hillbilly Candide
Candide
Candide, ou l'Optimisme is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. The novella has been widely translated, with English versions titled Candide: or, All for the Best ; Candide: or, The Optimist ; and Candide: or, Optimism...

,” added that the strip’s “richness of social and philosophical commentary approached the Voltairean.” Capp has been compared, at various times, to Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky was a Russian writer of novels, short stories and essays. He is best known for his novels Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov....

, Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

, Lawrence Sterne, and Rabelais. Journalism Quarterly and Time have both called him "the Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 of cartoonists." Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor, film director and composer best known for his work during the silent film era. He became the most famous film star in the world before the end of World War I...

, William F. Buckley, Al Hirschfeld
Al Hirschfeld
Albert "Al" Hirschfeld was an American caricaturist best known for his simple black and white portraits of celebrities and Broadway stars.-Personal life:Born in St...

, Harpo Marx
Harpo Marx
Adolph "Harpo" Marx was an American comedian and film star. He was the second oldest of the Marx Brothers. His comic style was influenced by clown and pantomime traditions. He wore a curly reddish wig, and never spoke during performances...

, Russ Meyer
Russ Meyer
Russell Albion "Russ" Meyer was a U.S. motion picture director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, actor and photographer....

, John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith , OC was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism...

, Ralph Bakshi
Ralph Bakshi
Ralph Bakshi is an Israeli-American director of animated and live-action films. In the 1970s, he established an alternative to mainstream animation through independent and adult-oriented productions. Between 1972 and 1992, he directed nine theatrically released feature films, five of which he wrote...

, Shel Silverstein
Shel Silverstein
Sheldon Allan "Shel" Silverstein , was an American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and author of children's books. He styled himself as Uncle Shelby in his children's books...

, Hugh Downs
Hugh Downs
Hugh Malcolm Downs is a long time American broadcaster, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host, and music composer; and is perhaps best known for his role as co-host the NBC News program Today from 1962 to 1971, host of the Concentration game show from 1958 to 1969, and...

, Gene Shalit
Gene Shalit
Gene Shalit is a film and book critic. He has filled these roles on NBC's The Today Show since January 15, 1973. He is known for his frequent use of puns, his oversized handlebar moustache, and for wearing colorful bowties.-Career:...

, Frank Cho
Frank Cho
Frank Cho, born Duk Hyun Cho, is a Korean-American comic strip and comic book writer and illustrator, known for his series Liberty Meadows, as well as for books such as Shanna the She-Devil, Mighty Avengers and Hulk for Marvel Comics, and Jungle Girl for Dynamite Entertainment...

, Daniel Clowes
Daniel Clowes
Daniel Gillespie Clowes is an American author, screenwriter and cartoonist of alternative comic books....

  and (reportedly) even Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 have confessed to being fans of Li'l Abner.

In his seminal book Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan considered Li'l Abner's Dogpatch "a paradigm
Paradigm
The word paradigm has been used in science to describe distinct concepts. It comes from Greek "παράδειγμα" , "pattern, example, sample" from the verb "παραδείκνυμι" , "exhibit, represent, expose" and that from "παρά" , "beside, beyond" + "δείκνυμι" , "to show, to point out".The original Greek...

 of the human situation." Comparing Capp to other contemporary humorists, McLuhan once wrote: "Arno
Peter Arno
Peter Arno was a U.S. cartoonist.-Biography:Born Curtis Arnoux Peters, Jr. in New York, New York, and educated at the Hotchkiss School and Yale University, his cartoons were published in The New Yorker from 1925–1968. They often depicted a cross-section of New York society from the 1920s through...

, Nash
Ogden Nash
Frederic Ogden Nash was an American poet well known for his light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, the New York Times said his "droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country's best-known producer of humorous poetry".-Early life:Nash was born in Rye, New York...

, and Thurber
James Thurber
James Grover Thurber was an American author, cartoonist and celebrated wit. Thurber was best known for his cartoons and short stories published in The New Yorker magazine.-Life:...

 are brittle, wistful little précieux beside Capp!" In his essay "The Decline of the Comics," (Canadian Forum
Canadian Forum
The Canadian Forum was a left-wing literary, cultural and political publication and Canada's longest running continually published political magazine.It was founded in 1920 at the University of Toronto as a forum for political and cultural ideas...

, January 1954) literary critic Hugh MacLean classified American comic strips into 4 types: daily gag, adventure, soap opera, and "an almost lost comic ideal: the disinterested comment on life's pattern and meaning." In the fourth type, according to MacLean, there were only two: Pogo and Li'l Abner. In 2002 the Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois, and the flagship publication of the Tribune Company. Formerly self-styled as the "World's Greatest Newspaper" , it remains the most read daily newspaper of the Chicago metropolitan area and the Great Lakes region and is...

, in a review of The Short Life and Happy Times of the Shmoo, noted: "The wry, ornery, brilliantly perceptive satirist will go down as one of the Great American Humorists." In America's Great Comic Strip Artists (1997), comics historian Richard Marschall
Rick Marschall
Rick Marschall is a writer/editor and comic strip historian, described by Bostonia magazine as "America's foremost authority on pop culture." Marschall has served as an editor for both Marvel and Disney comics, plus several syndicates.Marschall has written and edited more than 62 books on cultural...

 analyzed the overtly misanthropic subtext
Subtext
Subtext or undertone is content of a book, play, musical work, film, video game, or television series which is not announced explicitly by the characters but is implicit or becomes something understood by the observer of the work as the production unfolds. Subtext can also refer to the thoughts...

 of Li'l Abner:
Li'l Abner was also the subject of the first book-length, scholarly assessment of a comic strip ever published. Li'l Abner: A Study in American Satire by Arthur Asa Berger (Twayne, 1969) contained serious analyses of Capp's narrative technique, his use of dialogue, self-caricature and grotesquerie, the strip's overall place in American satire, and the significance of social criticism and the graphic image. "One of the few strips ever taken seriously by students of American culture," wrote Professor Berger, "Li'l Abner is worth studying...because of Capp's imagination and artistry, and because of the strip's very obvious social relevance." It was reprinted by the University Press of Mississippi
University Press of Mississippi
The University Press of Mississippi, founded in 1970, is a publisher that is sponsored by the eight state universities in Mississippi:*Alcorn State University*Delta State University*Jackson State University*Mississippi State University...

 in 1994.

Al Capp's life and career are the subjects of a new life-sized mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

 commemorating his 100th birthday, displayed in downtown Amesbury, Massachusetts
Amesbury, Massachusetts
Amesbury is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Though it officially became a city in 1996, its formal name remains "The Town of Amesbury." In 1890, 9798 people lived in Amesbury; in 1900, 9473; in 1910, 9894; in 1920, 10,036; and in 1940, 10,862. The population was 16,283 at...

. According to the Boston Globe (as reported on May 18, 2010), the town has renamed its amphitheater in the artist's honor, and is looking to develop an Al Capp Museum. Capp is also the subject of an upcoming PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 American Masters
American Masters
American Masters is a PBS television show which produces biographies on the artists, actors and writers of the United States who have left a profound impact on the nation's popular culture. It is produced by WNET in New York City...

 documentary produced by his granddaughter, independent filmmaker Caitlin Manning.
  • National Cartoonists Society
    National Cartoonists Society
    The National Cartoonists Society is an organization of professional cartoonists in the United States. It presents the National Cartoonists Society Awards. The Society was born in 1946 when groups of cartoonists got together to entertain the troops...

      Reuben Award (1947) for "Cartoonist of the Year."
  • Inkpot Award
    Inkpot Award
    The Inkpot Award, bestowed annually since 1974 by Comic-Con International, is given to some of the professionals in comic book, comic strip, animation, science fiction, and related pop-culture fields, who are guests of that organization's yearly multigenre fan convention, commonly known as...

     (1978) bestowed by Comic-Con International
    Comic-Con International
    San Diego Comic-Con International, also known as Comic-Con International: San Diego , and commonly known as Comic-Con or the San Diego Comic-Con, was founded as the Golden State Comic Book Convention and later the San Diego Comic Book Convention in 1970 by Shel Dorf and a group of San Diegans...

    .
  • National Cartoonists Society Elzie Segar Award (1979) for a "unique and outstanding contribution to the profession of cartooning."
  • Neither the strip's shifting political leanings nor the slide of its final few years had any bearing on its status as a classic—and in 1995, Li'l Abner was recognized as such by the United States Postal Service
    United States Postal Service
    The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States...

    . The strip was one of 20 included in the Comic Strip Classics
    Comic Strip Classics
    The Comic Strip Classics series of commemorative postage stamps was issued by the US Postal Service in 1995 to honor the centennial of the newspaper comic strip....

     series of USPS commemorative stamp
    Commemorative stamp
    A commemorative stamp is a postage stamp, often issued on a significant date such as an anniversary, to honor or commemorate a place, event or person. The subject of the commemorative stamp is usually spelled out in print, unlike definitive stamps which normally depict the subject along with the...

    s.
  • Al Capp, an inductee into the National Cartoon Museum
    National Cartoon Museum
    The National Cartoon Museum was an American museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of cartoons, comic strips and animation. It was the brainchild of Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey. It opened in 1974, went through several name changes and relocations, finally closing...

     (formerly the International Museum of Cartoon Art), is one of only 31 artists honored by inclusion into their Hall of Fame
    Hall of Fame
    A hall of fame, wall of fame, walk of fame, walk of stars or avenue of stars is a type of attraction established for any field of endeavor to honor individuals of noteworthy achievement in that field...

    .
  • Al Capp was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2004.

Sadie Hawkins Day


An American folk event, Sadie Hawkins Day
Sadie Hawkins Day
An American folk event, Sadie Hawkins Day is a pseudo-holiday that originated in Al Capp's classic hillbilly comic strip, Li'l Abner . This inspired real-world Sadie Hawkins dances, where girls ask boys out.-Original story:...

 is a pseudo-holiday entirely created within the strip. It made its debut in Li'l Abner on November 15, 1937. Capp originally created it as a comic plot device, but in 1939, only two years after its inauguration, a double-page spread in Life proclaimed, "On Sadie Hawkins Day Girls Chase Boys in 201 Colleges." By the early 1940s the comic strip event had swept the nation's imagination and acquired a life of its own. By 1952, the event was reportedly celebrated at 40,000 known venues. It became a woman-empowering rite at high schools and college campuses, long before the modern feminist movement gained prominence.

Outside the comic strip, the practical basis of a Sadie Hawkins dance
Sadie Hawkins dance
In the United States, the Sadie Hawkins Dance is usually a less formal dance sponsored by a high school, middle school or college, in which female students invite male students...

 is simply one of gender role-reversal. Women and girls take the initiative in inviting the man or boy of their choice out on a date—almost unheard of before 1937—typically to a dance attended by other bachelors and their assertive dates. When Capp created the event, it wasn't his intention to have it occur annually on a specific date, because it inhibited his freewheeling plotting. However, due to its enormous popularity and the numerous fan letters he received, Capp made it a tradition in the strip every November, lasting four decades. In many localities the tradition continues.

Additions to the language


"Sadie Hawkins Day" and "Sadie Hawkins dance" are two of several terms attributed to Al Capp that have entered the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. Others include double whammy
Double Whammy
Double Whammy is a 2001 comedy/drama film. Although intended to be released in theaters, it was ultimately distributed direct-to-video.-Plot:Ray Pluto has horrid memories of watching his wife and child die in a traffic accident...

, skunk works
Skunk works
Skunk Works is an official alias for Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs , formerly called Lockheed Advanced Development Projects. Skunk Works is responsible for a number of famous aircraft designs, including the U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, the F-117 Nighthawk, and the F-22 Raptor...

 and Lower Slobbovia. The term shmoo
Shmoo
A shmoo is a fictional cartoon creature. Created by Al Capp , it first appeared in his classic comic strip Li'l Abner on August 31, 1948, and quickly became a postwar national craze in the USA....

 has also entered the lexicon—used in defining highly technical concepts in no less than four separate fields of science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

.
  • In socioeconomics
    Socioeconomics
    Socioeconomics or socio-economics or social economics is an umbrella term with different usages. 'Social economics' may refer broadly to the "use of economics in the study of society." More narrowly, contemporary practice considers behavioral interactions of individuals and groups through social...

    , a "shmoo" refers to any generic kind of good that reproduces itself, (as opposed to "widgets
    Widget (economics)
    The word widget is a placeholder name for an object or, more specifically, a mechanical or other manufactured device. It is an abstract unit of production. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "An indefinite name for a gadget or mechanical contrivance, esp. a small manufactured item" and...

    " which require resources and active production.)
  • In microbiology
    Microbiology
    Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, which are defined as any microscopic organism that comprises either a single cell , cell clusters or no cell at all . This includes eukaryotes, such as fungi and protists, and prokaryotes...

    , "shmooing" is the biological term for the "budding" process in yeast reproduction
    Mating of yeast
    The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a simple single celled eukaryote with both a diploid and haploid mode of existence. The mating of yeast only occurs between haploids, which can be either the a or α mating type and thus display simple sexual differentiation...

    .
  • In the field of particle physics
    Particle physics
    Particle physics is a branch of physics that studies the existence and interactions of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter or radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics...

    , "shmoo" refers to a high energy survey instrument—as utilized at the Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory, managed and operated by Los Alamos National Security , located in Los Alamos, New Mexico...

     for the Cygnus X-3
    Cygnus x-3
    Cygnus X-3 is one of the stronger binary X-ray sources in the sky.Classified as a microquasar, it is believed to be a compact object in a binary system which is pulling in a stream of gas from an ordinary star companion....

     Sky Survey performed at the LAMPF (Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility) grounds. Over one hundred white "shmoo" detectors were at one time sprinkled around the accelerator beamstop area and adjacent mesa to capture subatomic cosmic ray
    Cosmic ray
    Cosmic rays are energetic charged subatomic particles, originating from outer space. They may produce secondary particles that penetrate the Earth's atmosphere and surface. The term ray is historical as cosmic rays were thought to be electromagnetic radiation...

     particles emitted from the Cygnus
    Cygnus (constellation)
    Cygnus is a northern constellation lying on the plane of the Milky Way. Its name is the Latinized Hellenic word for swan. One of the most recognizable constellations of the northern summer and autumn, it features a prominent asterism known as the Northern Cross...

     constellation
    Constellation
    In modern astronomy, a constellation is an internationally defined area of the celestial sphere. These areas are grouped around asterisms, patterns formed by prominent stars within apparent proximity to one another on Earth's night sky....

    . The detectors housed scintillator
    Scintillator
    A scintillator is a special material, which exhibits scintillation—the property of luminescence when excited by ionizing radiation. Luminescent materials, when struck by an incoming particle, absorb its energy and scintillate, i.e., reemit the absorbed energy in the form of light...

    s and photomultiplier
    Photomultiplier
    Photomultiplier tubes , members of the class of vacuum tubes, and more specifically phototubes, are extremely sensitive detectors of light in the ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum...

    s in an array that gave the detector its distinctive shmoo shape.
  • In electrical engineering
    Electrical engineering
    Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...

    , a shmoo plot
    Shmoo plot
    In electrical engineering, a shmoo plot is a graphical display of the response of a component or system varying over a range of conditions and inputs. Often used to represent the results of the testing of complex electronic systems such as computers, ASICs or microprocessors...

     is the technical term used for the graphic pattern of test circuits. (The term is also used as a verb: to "shmoo" means to run the test.)


Capp has also been credited with popularizing many terms, such as "natcherly," schmooze, druthers, and nogoodnik, neatnik, etc. (In his book The American Language
The American Language
The American Language, first published in 1919, is H. L. Mencken's book about the English language as spoken in the United States.Mencken was inspired by "the argot of the colored waiters" in Washington, as well as one of his favorite authors, Mark Twain, and his experiences on the streets of...

, H.L. Mencken credits the postwar mania for adding "-nik
-nik
The English suffix -nik is of Slavic origin. It approximately corresponds to the suffix "-er" and nearly always denotes an agent noun...

" to the ends of adjectives to create nouns as beginning—not with beatnik
Beatnik
Beatnik was a media stereotype of the 1950s and early 1960s that displayed the more superficial aspects of the Beat Generation literary movement of the 1950s and violent film images, along with a cartoonish depiction of the real-life people and the spiritual quest in Jack Kerouac's autobiographical...

 or Sputnik, but earlier—in the pages of Li'l Abner.)

Franchise ownership and creators' rights


In the late 1940s, newspaper syndicates typically owned the copyrights, trademarks and licensing rights to comic strips. "Capp was an aggressive and fearless businessman," according to publisher Denis Kitchen
Denis Kitchen
Denis Kitchen is an American underground cartoonist, publisher, author, and agent from Wisconsin, and the founder of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.-Early life:...

. "Nearly all comic strips, even today, are owned and controlled by syndicates, not the strips' creators. And virtually all cartoonists remain content with their diluted share of any merchandising revenue their syndicates arrange. When the starving and broke Capp first sold Li'l Abner in 1934, he gladly accepted the syndicate's standard onerous contract. But in 1947 Capp sued United Feature Syndicate for $14 million, publicly embarrassed UFS in Li'l Abner, and wrested ownership and control of his creation the following year."

In October 1947, Li'l Abner met Rockwell P. Squeezeblood, head of the abusive and corrupt Squeezeblood Syndicate, a thinly veiled dig at UFS. The resulting sequence, "Jack Jawbreaker Fights Crime!!," was a devastating satire of Jerry Siegel
Jerry Siegel
Jerome "Jerry" Siegel , who also used pseudonyms including Joe Carter, Jerry Ess, and Herbert S...

 and Joe Shuster
Joe Shuster
Joseph "Joe" Shuster was a Canadian-born American comic book artist. He was best known for co-creating the DC Comics character Superman, with writer Jerry Siegel, first published in Action Comics #1...

's notorious exploitation by DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

 over Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

, (see above excerpt). It was later reprinted in The World of Li'l Abner (1953).

Integration of women in the NCS


Al Capp was an outspoken pioneer in favor of diversifying the National Cartoonists Society
National Cartoonists Society
The National Cartoonists Society is an organization of professional cartoonists in the United States. It presents the National Cartoonists Society Awards. The Society was born in 1946 when groups of cartoonists got together to entertain the troops...

 by admitting women cartoonists. The NCS had originally disallowed female members into its ranks. In 1949, when the all-male club refused membership to Hilda Terry, creator of the comic strip Teena
Teena
Teena is a cartoon panel series and comic strip about a teenage girl, created by Hilda Terry. It ran from 1944 to 1966, distributed by King Features Syndicate....

, Capp temporarily resigned in protest. "Capp had always advocated a more activist agenda for the Society, and he had begun in December 1949 to make his case in the Newsletter as well as at the meetings," wrote comics historian R. C. Harvey
R. C. Harvey
Robert C. Harvey , popularly known as R. C. Harvey, is an author, critic and cartoonist. He has written a number of books on the history of the medium, with special focus on the history of the comic strip, and he has also worked as a freelance cartoonist.Harvey describes himself as having created...

. According to Tom Roberts, author of Alex Raymond
Alex Raymond
Alexander Gillespie "Alex" Raymond was an American cartoonist, best known for creating Flash Gordon for King Features in 1934...

: His Life and Art (2007), Capp authored a stirring monologue
Monologue
In theatre, a monologue is a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character or the audience. Monologues are common across the range of dramatic media...

 that was instrumental in changing the restrictive rules the following year. Hilda Terry was the first woman cartoonist to break the gender barrier when the NCS finally permitted female members in 1950.

Social commentary in comic strips


Through Li'l Abner, the American comic strip achieved unprecedented relevance in the postwar years, attracting new readers who were more intellectual, more informed on current events, and less likely to read the comics (according to Coulton Waugh
Coulton Waugh
Frederick Coulton Waugh was a cartoonist, painter, teacher and author, best known for his illustration work on the comic strip Dickie Dare and his book The Comics , the first major study of the field.His father was the marine artist Frederick Judd Waugh, and his grandfather was the Philadelphia...

, author of The Comics, 1947). "When Li'l Abner made its debut in 1934, the vast majority of comic strips were designed chiefly to amuse or thrill their readers. Capp turned that world upside-down by routinely injecting politics and social commentary
Social commentary
Social commentary is the act of rebelling against an individual, or a group of people by rhetorical means, or commentary on social issues or society...

 into Li'l Abner," wrote comics historian Rick Marschall
Rick Marschall
Rick Marschall is a writer/editor and comic strip historian, described by Bostonia magazine as "America's foremost authority on pop culture." Marschall has served as an editor for both Marvel and Disney comics, plus several syndicates.Marschall has written and edited more than 62 books on cultural...

 in America's Great Comic Strip Artists (1989). With adult readers far outnumbering juveniles, Li'l Abner forever cleared away the concept that humor strips were solely the domain of adolescents and children. Li'l Abner provided a whole new template for contemporary satire and personal expression in comics, paving the way for Pogo, Feiffer
Jules Feiffer
Jules Ralph Feiffer is an American syndicated cartoonist, most notable for his long-run comic strip titled Feiffer. He has created more than 35 books, plays and screenplays...

, Doonesbury
Doonesbury
Doonesbury is a comic strip by American cartoonist Garry Trudeau, that chronicles the adventures and lives of an array of characters of various ages, professions, and backgrounds, from the President of the United States to the title character, Michael Doonesbury, who has progressed from a college...

 and MAD.

Mad


Fearless Fosdick and other Li'l Abner comic strip parodies, such as "Jack Jawbreaker!" (1947) and "Little Fanny Gooney" (1952), were almost certainly an inspiration to Harvey Kurtzman
Harvey Kurtzman
Harvey Kurtzman was an American cartoonist and the editor of several comic books and magazines. Kurtzman often signed his name H. Kurtz, followed by a stick figure Harvey Kurtzman (October 3, 1924, Brooklyn, New York – February 21, 1993) was an American cartoonist and the editor of several comic...

 when he created his irreverent Mad
Mad (magazine)
Mad is an American humor magazine founded by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines in 1952. Launched as a comic book before it became a magazine, it was widely imitated and influential, impacting not only satirical media but the entire cultural landscape of the 20th century.The last...

, which began in 1952 as a comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

 that specifically parodied other comics in the same subversive manner. By the time EC Comics
EC Comics
Entertaining Comics, more commonly known as EC Comics, was an American publisher of comic books specializing in horror fiction, crime fiction, satire, military fiction and science fiction from the 1940s through the mid-1950s, notably the Tales from the Crypt series...

 published Mad #1, Capp had been doing Fearless Fosdick for nearly a decade. Similarities between Li'l Abner and the early Mad include the incongruous use of mock-Yiddish slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 terms, the nose-thumbing disdain for pop culture icons, the rampant black humor, the dearth of sentiment and the broad visual styling. Even the trademark comic "signs" that clutter the backgrounds of Will Elder
Will Elder
William Elder was an American illustrator and comic book artist who worked in numerous areas of commercial art, but is best known for a zany cartoon style that helped launch Harvey Kurtzman's Mad comic book in 1952....

's panels had a precedent in Li'l Abner, in the residence of Dogpatch entrepreneur Available Jones, though they're also reminiscent of Bill Holman's Smokey Stover
Smokey Stover
Smokey Stover is an American comic strip written and drawn by cartoonist Bill Holman, from 1935 until he retired in 1973. Distributed through the Chicago Tribune, it features the wacky misadventures of the titular fireman, and had the longest run of any comic strip in the "screwball comics"...

. Tellingly, Kurtzman resisted doing feature parodies of either Li'l Abner or Dick Tracy in the comic book Mad, despite their prominence.

Parodies and imitations


Al Capp once told one of his assistants that he knew Li'l Abner had finally "arrived" when it was first pirated as a pornographic Tijuana bible
Tijuana bible
Tijuana bibles were pornographic comic books produced in the United States from the 1920s to the early 1960s. Their popularity peaked during the Great Depression era...

 parody in the mid-1930s. Li'l Abner was also parodied in 1954 (as "Li'l Melvin" by "Ol' Hatt") in the pages of EC Comics
EC Comics
Entertaining Comics, more commonly known as EC Comics, was an American publisher of comic books specializing in horror fiction, crime fiction, satire, military fiction and science fiction from the 1940s through the mid-1950s, notably the Tales from the Crypt series...

' humor comic, Panic, edited by Al Feldstein
Al Feldstein
Albert B. Feldstein is an American writer, editor, and artist, best known for his work at EC Comics and, from 1956 to 1985, as the editor of the satirical magazine Mad. Since retiring from Mad, Feldstein has concentrated on American paintings of Western wildlife...

. Kurtzman eventually did spoof Li'l Abner (as "Li'l Ab'r") in 1957, in his short-lived humor magazine, Trump
Trump (magazine)
Trump was a glossy magazine of satire and humor, mostly in the forms of comic-strip features and short stories. It was edited by Harvey Kurtzman and published by Hugh Hefner, with only two issues produced in 1957...

. Both the Trump and Panic parodies were drawn by EC legend, Will Elder. In 1947, Will Eisner
Will Eisner
William Erwin "Will" Eisner was an American comics writer, artist and entrepreneur. He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the medium and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential series The Spirit; for his use of comics as an...

's The Spirit
The Spirit
The Spirit is a crime-fighting fictional character created by writer-artist Will Eisner. He first appeared June 2, 1940 in "The Spirit Section", the colloquial name given to a 16-page Sunday supplement, distributed to 20 newspapers by the Register and Tribune Syndicate and reaching five million...

 satirized the comic strip business in general, as a denizen of Central City tries to murder cartoonist "Al Slapp," creator of "Li'l Adam." Capp was also caricatured as an ill-mannered, boozy cartoonist (Capp was a teetotaler in real life) named "Hal Rapp" in the comic strip Mary Worth by Allen Saunders
Allen Saunders
Allen Saunders was an American writer, journalist and cartoonist who wrote the comic strips Steve Roper and Mike Nomad, Mary Worth and Kerry Drake...

 and Ken Ernst
Ken Ernst
Kenneth Ernst , known professionally as Ken Ernst, was an US comic book and comic strip artist. He is most notable for his work on the popular and long-running comic strip Mary Worth from 1942 to 1985. With his realistic style, uncommon in those early years, Ernst paved the way for soap opera...

. Supposedly done in retaliation for Capp's "Mary Worm" parody in Li'l Abner (1956), a media-fed "feud" commenced briefly between the rival strips. It all turned out to be a collaborative hoax
Hoax
A hoax is a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgment, or rumors, urban legends, pseudosciences or April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.-Definition:The British...

, however—cooked up by Capp and his longtime pal Saunders as an elaborate publicity stunt
Publicity stunt
A publicity stunt is a planned event designed to attract the public's attention to the event's organizers or their cause. Publicity stunts can be professionally organized or set up by amateurs...

.

Li'l Abners success also sparked a handful of comic strip imitators. Jasper Jooks by Jess "Baldy" Benton (1948–'49), Ozark Ike (1945–'53) and Cotton Woods (1955–'58), both by Ray Gotto, were clearly inspired by Capp's strip. Boody Rogers
Boody Rogers
Gordon G. Rogers , better known as Boody Rogers, was an American comic strip and comic book cartoonist who created the superhero parody Sparky Watts....

' Babe was a peculiar series of comic books about a beautiful hillbilly girl who lived with her kin in the Ozarks—with many similarities to Li’l Abner. A derivative hillbilly feature called Looie Lazybones, an out-and-out imitation (drawn by a young Frank Frazetta
Frank Frazetta
Frank Frazetta was an American fantasy and science fiction artist, noted for work in comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, LP record album covers and other media...

) ran in several issues of Standard's Thrilling Comics
Thrilling Comics
Thrilling Comics is the title of a comic book series published by Standard Comics for 80 issues from 1940 and 1951.It was used again in 1999 by DC Comics as the title of one of the issues of the Justice Society Returns storyline.-Characters:...

 in the late 1940s. Charlton
Charlton Comics
Charlton Comics was an American comic book publishing company that existed from 1946 to 1985, having begun under a different name in 1944. It was based in Derby, Connecticut...

 published the short-lived Hillbilly Comics by Art Gates in 1955, featuring "Gumbo Galahad," who was a dead ringer for Li'l Abner, as was Pokey Oakey by Don Dean, which ran in MLJ's Top-Notch Laugh
Top-Notch Comics
- Top-Notch Laugh Comics/Laugh Comix :In a change of editorial direction, from issue #28 the story emphasis changed to humor strips and the title became Top-Notch Laugh Comics to reflect this. All the long-running adventure series from Top-Notch Comics ended between issue #24 - Top-Notch Laugh...

 and Pep Comics
Pep Comics
Pep Comics is the name of an American comic book anthology series published by the Archie Comics predecessor MLJ Magazines Inc. during the 1930s and 1940s period known as the Golden Age of Comic Books...

. Later, many fans and critics saw Paul Henning
Paul Henning
Paul William Henning was an American producer and writer. Most famous for the successful TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, he was crucial in the development of several "rural" comedies for CBS.-Early life:...

's popular TV sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Beverly Hillbillies is an American situation comedy originally broadcast for nine seasons on CBS from 1962 to 1971, starring Buddy Ebsen, Irene Ryan, Donna Douglas, and Max Baer, Jr....

 (1962–'71) as owing much of its inspiration to Li'l Abner, prompting Playboy
Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

 to ask Capp about the similarities in a 1965 interview.

Popularity and production



Li'l Abner made its debut on August 13, 1934 in eight North American newspapers, including the New York Mirror
New York Mirror
The New-York Mirror was a weekly newspaper published in New York City from 1823 to 1842, and again as a daily newspaper renamed The Evening Mirror from 1844 to 1898.-History:...

. Initially owned and syndicated through United Feature (now known as United Media
United Media
United Media is a large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States, owned by The E.W. Scripps Company. It syndicates 150 comics and editorial columns worldwide. Its core business is the United Feature Syndicate and the Newspaper Enterprise Association...

), a division of the E.W. Scripps Company, it was an immediate success. According to publisher Denis Kitchen, Capp's "hapless Dogpatchers hit a nerve in Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

-era America. Within three short years Abner's circulation climbed to 253 newspapers, reaching over 15,000,000 readers. Before long he was in hundreds more, with a total readership exceeding 60,000,000." At its peak, the strip was read daily by 70 million Americans (when the U.S. population was only 180 million), with a circulation of more than 900 newspapers in North America and Europe.

During the extended peak of the strip, the workload grew to include advertising, merchandising, promotional work, comic book adaptations, public service material and other specialty work—in addition to the regular six dailies and one Sunday strip per week. Capp had a platoon of assistants in later years, who worked under his direct supervision. They included Andy Amato, Harvey Curtis, Walter Johnson and, notably, a young Frank Frazetta
Frank Frazetta
Frank Frazetta was an American fantasy and science fiction artist, noted for work in comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, LP record album covers and other media...

, who penciled the Sunday continuity from studio roughs from 1954 to the end of 1961—before his fame as a fantasy artist.

Sensitive to his own experience working on Joe Palooka
Joe Palooka
Joe Palooka was an American comic strip about a heavyweight boxing champion, created by cartoonist Ham Fisher in 1921. The strip debuted in 1930 and was carried at its peak by 900 newspapers....

, Capp frequently drew attention to his assistants in interviews and publicity pieces. A 1950 cover story in Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 even included photos of two of his employees, whose roles in the production were detailed by Capp. Ironically, this highly irregular policy has led to the misconception that his strip was "ghosted" by other hands. The production of Li'l Abner has been well documented, however. In point of fact, Capp maintained creative control over every stage of production for virtually the entire run of the strip. Capp himself originated the stories, wrote the dialogue, designed the major characters, rough penciled the preliminary staging and action of each panel, oversaw the finished pencils, and drew and inked the faces and hands of the characters. "He had the touch," Frazetta said of Capp in 2008. "He knew how to take an otherwise ordinary drawing and really make it pop. I'll never knock his talent."
Li'l Abner lasted until November 13, 1977, when Capp retired with an apology to his fans for the recently declining quality of the strip, which he said had been the best he could manage due to advancing illness. "If you have any sense of humor about your strip—and I had a sense of humor about mine—you knew that for three or four years Abner was wrong. Oh hell, it's like a fighter retiring. I stayed on longer than I should have," he admitted. "When he retired Li'l Abner, newspapers ran expansive articles and television commentators talked about the passing of an era. People
People (magazine)
In 1998, the magazine introduced a version targeted at teens called Teen People. However, on July 27, 2006, the company announced it would shut down publication of Teen People immediately. The last issue to be released was scheduled for September 2006. Subscribers to this magazine received...

 magazine ran a substantial feature, and even the comics-free New York Times devoted nearly a full page to the event," according to publisher Denis Kitchen. Capp, a lifelong chain smoker, died from emphysema
Emphysema
Emphysema is a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath. In people with emphysema, the tissues necessary to support the physical shape and function of the lungs are destroyed. It is included in a group of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary...

 two years later at age 70, at his home in South Hampton, New Hampshire
South Hampton, New Hampshire
South Hampton is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 814 at the 2010 census. South Hampton is home to Cowden State Forest and Powwow River State Forest.- History :...

 on November 5, 1979.

In 1988 and 1989 many newspapers ran reruns of Li'l Abner episodes, mostly from the 1940s run, distributed by Newspaper Enterprise Association and Capp Enterprises. Following the 1989 revival of the Pogo comic strip, a revival of Li'l Abner was also planned in 1990. Drawn by cartoonist Steve Stiles, the new Abner was approved by Capp's widow and brother, Elliott Caplin, but Al Capp's daughter, Julie Capp, objected at the last minute and permission was withdrawn.

Radio and recordings


With John Hodiak
John Hodiak
John Hodiak was an American actor who worked in radio and film.-Early life:He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Walter Hodiak and Anna Pogorzelec . He was of Ukrainian and Polish descent...

 in the title role, the Li'l Abner radio serial ran weekdays on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 from Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, from November 20, 1939 to December 6, 1940. Rounding out the cast were soap opera
Soap opera
A soap opera, sometimes called "soap" for short, is an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming. The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers, such as Procter & Gamble,...

 star Laurette Fillbrandt as Daisy Mae, Hazel Dopheide as Mammy Yokum, and Clarence Hartzell (who was also a prominent actor on Vic and Sade
Vic and Sade
Vic and Sade was an American radio program created and written by Paul Rhymer. It was regularly broadcast on radio from 1932 to 1944, then intermittently until 1946, and was briefly adapted to television in 1949 and again in 1957....

) as Pappy. Durwood Kirby was the announcer. The radio show was not written by Al Capp—but by Charles Gussman. However, Gussman consulted closely with Capp on the storylines. (A familiar radio personality, Capp was frequently heard on the NBC broadcast series, Monitor
Monitor (NBC Radio)
NBC Monitor was an American weekend radio program broadcast from June 12, 1955, until January 26, 1975. Airing live and nationwide on the NBC Radio Network, it originally aired beginning Saturday morning at 8am and continuing through the weekend until 12 midnight on Sunday...

. He also briefly filled-in for radio journalist Drew Pearson
Drew Pearson (journalist)
Andrew Russell Pearson , known professionally as Drew Pearson, was one of the best-known American columnists of his day, noted for his muckraking syndicated newspaper column "Washington Merry-Go-Round," in which he attacked various public persons, sometimes with little or no objective proof for his...

, participated in a March 2, 1948 America's Town Meeting of the Air
America's Town Meeting of the Air
America’s Town Meeting of the Air was a public affairs discussion broadcast on radio from 1935 to 1956, mainly on the NBC Blue Network and its successor, ABC Radio...

 debate on ABC, and hosted his own syndicated, 500-station radio show.)
  • The Shmoo Sings with Earl Rogers - 78 rpm (1948) Allegro
  • The Shmoo Club b/w The Shmoo Is Clean, the Shmoo Is Neat - 45 rpm (1949) Music You Enjoy, Inc.
  • The Snuggable, Huggable Shmoo b/w The Shmoo Doesn't Cost a Cent - 45 rpm (1949) Music You Enjoy, Inc.
  • Shmoo Lesson b/w A Shmoo Can Do Most Anything - 45 rpm (1949) Music You Enjoy, Inc.
  • Li'l Abner Goes to Town - 78 rpm (1950) Capp-Tone Comic Record
  • Li'l Abner (Original Cast Recording) - LP (1956) Columbia
  • Li'l Abner (Motion Picture Soundtrack) - LP (1959) Columbia
  • An Interview with Al Capp - EP (1959) Smithsonian Folkways
  • Li'l Abner fo' Chillun - LP (c. 1960) 20th FOX
  • Al Capp on Campus - LP (1969) Jubilee


Selections from the Li'l Abner musical
Li'l Abner (musical)
Li'l Abner is a musical with a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, music by Gene De Paul, and lyrics by Johnny Mercer.Based on the comic strip Li'l Abner by Al Capp, the show is, on the surface, a broad spoof of hillbillies but is also a pointed satire taking on any number of topics, ranging...

 score have been recorded by everyone from Percy Faith
Percy Faith
Percy Faith was a Canadian-born American bandleader, orchestrator, composer and conductor, known for his lush arrangements of pop and Christmas standards. He is often credited with creating the "easy listening" or "mood music" format which became staples of American popular music in the 1950s and...

 and Mario Lanza
Mario Lanza
right|thumb|[[MGM]] still, circa 1949Mario Lanza was an American tenor and Hollywood movie star of the late 1940s and the 1950s. The son of Italian emigrants, he began studying to be a professional singer at the age of 16....

 to André Previn
André Previn
André George Previn, KBE is an American pianist, conductor, and composer. He is considered one of the most versatile musicians in the world, and is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings. -Early Life:Previn was born in...

 and Shelley Manne. Over the years, Li'l Abner characters have inspired diverse compositions in pop
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, country
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 and even rock 'n' roll.
  • The Kickapoo Joy Juice Jolt (1946) from The Li'l Abner Suite, was composed for The Alvino Rey
    Alvino Rey
    Alvin McBurney , known by his stage name Alvino Rey, was an American swing era musician and pioneer, often credited as the father of the pedal steel guitar...

     Orchestra by Bud Estes.
  • Kickapoo Joy Juice, composed by Duke Ellington
    Duke Ellington
    Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

    , was recorded live at Carnegie Hall
    Carnegie Hall
    Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

     in December, 1947.
  • Lonesome Polecat, written by Johnny Mercer
    Johnny Mercer
    John Herndon "Johnny" Mercer was an American lyricist, songwriter and singer. He is best known as a lyricist, but he also composed music. He was also a popular singer who recorded his own songs as well as those written by others...

     & Gene de Paul
    Gene de Paul
    Gene de Paul was an American pianist, composer and songwriter.-Biography:Born in New York City, he served in the United States Army during World War II....

     for the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), was later recorded by Bobby Darin
    Bobby Darin
    Bobby Darin , born Walden Robert Cassotto, was an American singer, actor and musician.Darin performed in a range of music genres, including pop, rock, jazz, folk and country...

     and the McGuire Sisters.
  • Fearless Fosdick, composed by Bill Holman
    Bill Holman (musician)
    Willis Leonard Holman , known also as Bill Holman, is an American composer/arranger, conductor, saxophonist, and songwriter working primarily in the jazz idiom....

    , was recorded live in 1954 by Vic Lewis
    Vic Lewis
    Vic Lewis was a British jazz guitarist and bandleader.Lewis began playing the guitar at the age of three, and dabbled with cornet and trombone. One of his early bands included George Shearing, then a teenager, among its members...

     and his Orchestra, featuring Tubby Hayes
    Tubby Hayes
    Edward Brian "Tubby" Hayes was an English jazz multi-instrumentalist, best known for his tenor saxophone playing in groups with fellow sax player Ronnie Scott and with trumpeter Jimmy Deuchar. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest British jazz instrumentalists.- Early life :Hayes was born...

    .
  • Daisy Mae, written and recorded by Ernest Tubb
    Ernest Tubb
    Ernest Dale Tubb , nicknamed the Texas Troubadour, was an American singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of country music. His biggest career hit song, "Walking the Floor Over You" , marked the rise of the honky tonk style of music...

    , appeared on the Decca
    Decca Records
    Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

     album The Daddy of 'Em All (1957).
  • Kickapoo Joy Juice (1962) written by Jack Greenback, Mel Larson & Jerry Marcellino, was recorded by The Rivingtons
    The Rivingtons
    The Rivingtons were a 1960s doo-wop group. The group members were:lead vocalist Carl White , tenor Al Frazier , baritone Sonny Harris, and bass singer Turner "Rocky" Wilson Jr.. Frazier was replaced by Madero White for a period in the late 1970s.-History:Their first hit was "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow"...

    .
  • Sadie Hawkins Dance (2001) written by Matt Thiessen
    Matt Thiessen
    Matthew Arnold Thiessen is a Canadian-American musician, known for being co-founder, lead singer, guitarist, pianist, and primary songwriter for the Christian rock band Relient K. With Relient K, he has released six full-length albums, including three that were certified Gold, and three that...

    , was recorded by Relient K
    Relient K
    Relient K is an American rock band formed in 1998 in Canton, Ohio by Matt Thiessen, Brian Pittman, and Matt Hoopes during the band's junior year in high school and their time at Malone University...

    .
  • Fearless Fosdick's Tune, composed and recorded by Umberto Fiorentino, appeared on the Brave Art/Columbia-Sony CD Things to Come (2002).

Sheet music

  • Li'l Abner - by Ben Oakland, Milton Berle
    Milton Berle
    Milton Berlinger , better known as Milton Berle, was an American comedian and actor. As the manic host of NBC's Texaco Star Theater , in 1948 he was the first major star of U.S. television and as such became known as Uncle Miltie and Mr...

     & Milton Drake (1940) Leo Feist Publishers
  • Sadie Hawkins Day - by Don Raye & Hughie Prince (1940) Leeds Music Corp.
  • The USA by Day and the RAF by Night - by Hal Block
    Hal Block
    Harold "Hal" Block was an American comedy writer, comedian, producer, songwriter and television personality. Block is most often remembered as an original panelist of the TV game show What's My Line? who was fired from the show in only its third season, reportedly for inappropriate on-air behavior...

     & Bob Musel (1944) Paramount Music Corp.
  • (Li'l Abner) Don't Marry That Girl!! - by Al Capp & Sam H. Stept
    Sam H. Stept
    Samuel Howard Stept was an American songwriter who wrote for Broadway, Hollywood and the big bands. He became known simply as Sam Stept or Sam H. Stept — he almost never used his full middle name.-Family:Born in Odessa, Russia, Stept came to the U.S. at the age of three and grew up in...

     (1946) Barton Music Corp.
  • The Shmoo Song - by John Jacob Loeb & Jule Styne
    Jule Styne
    Jule Styne was a British-born American songwriter especially famous for a series of Broadway musicals, which included several very well known and frequently revived shows.-Early life:...

     (1948) Harvey Music Corp.
  • Shmoo Songs - by Gerald Marks
    Gerald Marks
    Gerald Marks , was an American composer best known for the song "All of Me" which he co-wrote with Seymour Simons and has been recorded about 2,000 times...

     (1949) Bristol Music Corp.
  • The Kigmy Song - by Joe Rosenield & Fay Tishman (1949) Town and Country Music Co.
  • I'm Lonesome and Disgusted!!! - by "Irving Vermyn" [Al Capp] (c. 1954) General Music Publishing Co.
  • Namely You - by Johnny Mercer & Gene de Paul (1956) Commander Publications
  • Love in a Home - by Johnny Mercer & Gene de Paul (1956) Commander Publications
  • If I Had My Druthers - by Johnny Mercer & Gene de Paul (1956) Commander Publications
  • Jubilation T. Cornpone - by Johnny Mercer & Gene de Paul (1956) Commander Publications

Comic books and reprints

  • Tip Top Comics (1936–1948) anthology
    Anthology
    An anthology is a collection of literary works chosen by the compiler. It may be a collection of poems, short stories, plays, songs, or excerpts...

     (United Feature Syndicate
    United Media
    United Media is a large editorial column and comic strip newspaper syndication service based in the United States, owned by The E.W. Scripps Company. It syndicates 150 comics and editorial columns worldwide. Its core business is the United Feature Syndicate and the Newspaper Enterprise Association...

    )
  • Comics on Parade (1945–1946) anthology (UFS)
  • Sparkler Comics (1946–1948) anthology (UFS)
  • Li'l Abner (1947) 9 issues (Harvey Comics
    Harvey Comics
    Harvey Comics was an American comic book publisher, founded in New York City by Alfred Harvey in 1941, after buying out the small publisher Brookwood Publications. His brothers Robert B...

    )
  • Li'l Abner (1948) 3 issues (Super Publishing)
  • Tip Topper Comics (1949–1954) anthology (UFS)
  • Al Capp's Li'l Abner (1949–1955) 28 issues (Toby)
  • Al Capp's Shmoo Comics (1949–1950) 5 issues (Toby)
  • Al Capp's Dogpatch (1949) 4 issues (Toby)
  • Al Capp's Li'l Abner in The Mystery o' the Cave (1950) (Oxydol
    Oxydol
    Oxydol is the name of a laundry detergent sold in the United States and in the United Kingdom. It was created in 1914. Purchased by Procter & Gamble in 1927, it was P&G's first detergent. In the 1930s, Oxydol was the sponsor of the Ma Perkins radio show, considered the first soap opera. As Oxydol...

     premium)
  • Al Capp's Daisy Mae in Ham Sangwidges (1950) (Oxydol premium)
  • Al Capp's Shmoo in Washable Jones' Travels (1950) (Oxydol premium)
  • Al Capp's Wolf Gal (1951–1952) 2 issues (Toby)
  • Washable Jones and the Shmoo (1953) (Toby)
  • Party Time with Coke (1958) monthly digest featuring Al Capp's Boys 'n' Gals (Coca-Cola
    Coca-Cola
    Coca-Cola is a carbonated soft drink sold in stores, restaurants, and vending machines in more than 200 countries. It is produced by The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia, and is often referred to simply as Coke...

     premium)


No comprehensive reprint of the series had been attempted until Kitchen Sink Press
Kitchen Sink Press
Kitchen Sink Press was a comic book publishing company founded by Denis Kitchen in 1970. Kitchen owned and operated Kitchen Sink Press until 1999. Kitchen Sink Press was a pioneering publisher of underground comics, and was also responsible for numerous republications of classic comic strips in...

 began publishing the Li'l Abner Dailies in hardcover and paperback, one year per volume, in 1988. The demise of KSP in 1999 stopped the reprint series at Volume 27 (1961). More recently, Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent American comic book and manga publisher.Dark Horse Comics was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson in Milwaukie, Oregon, with the concept of establishing an ideal atmosphere for creative professionals. Richardson started out by opening his first comic book...

 reprinted the limited series Al Capp's Li'l Abner: The Frazetta Years, in four full-color volumes covering the Sunday pages from 1954–1961. They also released an archive hardcover reprint of the complete Shmoo Comics in 2009, followed by a second Shmoo volume of compete newspaper strips in 2011.

At the San Diego Comic Con in July 2009, IDW
IDW Publishing
IDW Publishing, also known as Idea + Design Works, LLC and IDW, is an American publisher of comic books and comic strip collections. The company was founded in 1999 and has been awarded the title "Publisher of the Year Under 5% Market Share" for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006 by Diamond Comic...

 announced the upcoming publication of Al Capp's Li'l Abner: The Complete Dailies and Color Sundays: Vol. 1 (1934–1936). The comprehensive series, a reprinting of the complete 43-year history of Li'l Abner spanning a projected 21 volumes, began on April 7, 2010.

Public service works


Capp provided specialty artwork for civic groups, government agencies and charitable or non-profit organizations, spanning several decades. The following titles are all single-issue, educational comic books and pamphlets produced for various public services
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

:
  • Al Capp by Li'l Abner - Public service giveaway issued by the Red Cross
    American Red Cross
    The American Red Cross , also known as the American National Red Cross, is a volunteer-led, humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education inside the United States. It is the designated U.S...

     (1946)
  • Yo' Bets Yo' Life! - Public service giveaway issued by the U.S. Army (circa 1950)
  • Li'l Abner Joins the Navy - Public service giveaway issued by the Dept. of the Navy (1950)
  • Fearless Fosdick and the Case of the Red Feather - Public service giveaway issued by Red Feather Services, a forerunner of United Way (1951)
  • The Youth You Supervise - Public service giveaway issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (1956)
  • Mammy Yokum and the Great Dogpatch Mystery! - Public service giveaway issued by the Anti-Defamation League
    Anti-Defamation League
    The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

     of B'nai B'rith
    B'nai B'rith
    B'nai B'rith International |Covenant]]" is the oldest continually operating Jewish service organization in the world. It was initially founded as the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith in New York City, on , 1843, by Henry Jones and 11 others....

     (1956)
  • Operation: Survival! - Public service giveaway issued by the Dept. of Civil Defense
    Civil defense
    Civil defense, civil defence or civil protection is an effort to protect the citizens of a state from military attack. It uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation, and recovery...

     (1957)
  • Natural Disasters! - Public service giveaway issued by the Dept. of Civil Defense (1957)
  • Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story - Public service giveaway issued by The Fellowship of Reconciliation (1958)
  • Li'l Abner and the Creatures from Drop-Outer Space - Public service giveaway issued by the Job Corps
    Job Corps
    Job Corps is a program administered by the United States Department of Labor that offers free-of-charge education and vocational training to youth ages 16 to 24.-Mission and purpose:...

     (1965)


In addition, Dogpatch characters were used in national campaigns for the U.S. Treasury, the Cancer Foundation, the March of Dimes
March of Dimes
The March of Dimes Foundation is a United States nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies.-Organization:...

, the National Heart Fund, the Sister Kenny Foundation
Elizabeth Kenny
Elizabeth Kenny was an unqualified Australian nurse who promoted a controversial new approach to the treatment of poliomyelitis in the era before mass vaccination eradicated the disease in most countries.-Youth:...

, the Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

, Community Chest, the National Reading Council, Minnesota Tuberculosis and Health Association, Christmas Seals
Christmas Seal & Charity Stamp Society
The Christmas Seal & Charity Stamp Society is a non-profit philatelic organization devoted to collecting Christmas Seals, Charity labels, fundraising seals, charity stamps and semi-postal postage stamps where part of the cost of the stamp goes to charity. The society was founded in 1931 by W.L...

, the National Amputation Foundation and Disabled American Veterans
Disabled American Veterans
The Disabled American Veterans, or DAV, is an organization for disabled veterans that helps them and their families through various means. It currently has over 1.2 million members...

, among others.

Animation and puppetry


Beginning in 1944, Li'l Abner was adapted into a series of color theatrical cartoons
Animated cartoon
An animated cartoon is a short, hand-drawn film for the cinema, television or computer screen, featuring some kind of story or plot...

 for Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

, directed by Sid Marcus, Bob Wickersham and Howard Swift. Al Capp was reportedly not pleased with the results, and the series was discontinued after five shorts.

Evil-Eye Fleegle and his "whammy" make an animated cameo appearance in the U.S. Armed Forces Special Weapons Project training film
Training film
A training film is a form of educational film – a short subject documentary movie, that provides an introduction to a topic. Both narrative documentary and dramatisation styles may be used, sometimes both in the same production...

, Self Preservation in an Atomic Attack (1950). Lena the Hyena makes a brief animated appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988).

In 1952, Fearless Fosdick proved popular enough to be incorporated into a short-lived TV series. The ambitious puppet show was created and directed by puppeteer Mary Chase, written by Everett Crosby and voiced by John Griggs, Gilbert Mack and Jean Carson
Jean Carson
Jean Carson was an American stage, film and television actress best known for her work on the classic 1960s sitcom The Andy Griffith Show as one of the "fun girls".-Biography:Born to Alexander W...

. Fearless Fosdick premiered on Sunday afternoons on NBC; 13 episodes featuring the Mary Chase marionettes were produced. The storylines and villains were mostly separate from the comic strip and unique to the show. Among the original TV characters were "Mr. Ditto," "Harris Tweed" (a disembodied suit of clothes), "Swenn Golly" (a Svengali
Svengali
Svengali is a fictional character of George du Maurier's 1894 novel Trilby. Svengali "would either fawn or bully and could be grossly impertinent. He had a kind of cynical humour that was more offensive than amusing and always laughed at the wrong thing, at the wrong time, in the wrong place...

-like mesmerist), counterfeiters "Max Millions" and "Minton Mooney," "Frank N. Stein," "Batula," "Match Head" (a pyromaniac), "Sen-Sen O'Toole," "Shmoozer" and "Herman the Ape Man."

Shmoo
Shmoo
A shmoo is a fictional cartoon creature. Created by Al Capp , it first appeared in his classic comic strip Li'l Abner on August 31, 1948, and quickly became a postwar national craze in the USA....

s were originally meant to be included in the 1956 Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 Li'l Abner
Li'l Abner (musical)
Li'l Abner is a musical with a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, music by Gene De Paul, and lyrics by Johnny Mercer.Based on the comic strip Li'l Abner by Al Capp, the show is, on the surface, a broad spoof of hillbillies but is also a pointed satire taking on any number of topics, ranging...

 musical
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

, employing stage puppetry
Puppetry
Puppetry is a form of theatre or performance which involves the manipulation of puppets. It is very ancient, and is believed to have originated 30,000 years BC. Puppetry takes many forms but they all share the process of animating inanimate performing objects...

. The idea was reportedly abandoned in the development stage by the producers, however, for reasons of practicality. After Capp's death, the Shmoo was used in two Hanna-Barbera
Hanna-Barbera
Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. was an American animation studio that dominated North American television animation during the second half of the 20th century...

 produced Saturday morning cartoon series for TV. First in the 1979 The New Shmoo
The New Shmoo
The New Shmoo was a 1979 cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for NBC.-Plot:This show about a group of teenagers — Mickey, Nita and Billy Joe — who solve mysteries and crimes with their friend, Shmoo, a character from Al Capp's newspaper comic strip, Li'l Abner...

 (later incorporated into Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo), and again from 1980 to 1984 in the Flintstone Comedy Show, in the Bedrock Cops segment.

Stage, film and television


The first Li'l Abner movie
Li'l Abner (1940 film)
Li'l Abner is a 1940 film based on the comic strip of the same name created by Al Capp. The three most recognizable names associated with the film are Buster Keaton as Lonesome Polecat, Jeff York as Li'l Abner, and Milton Berle, who co-wrote the title song.-Synopsis:Li'l Abner becomes...

 was made at RKO in 1940, starring Jeff York
Jeff York
Jeff York was an American film and television actor who began his career in the late 1930s using his given name Granville Owen Schofield...

 (credited as Granville Owen), Martha O'Driscoll, Mona Ray
Mona Ray
Mona Ray was an American stage and screen comedian / actress from the late 1920s to the early 1940s. Her most famous role was an appearance in black face as the mischievous slave Topsy in the 1927 silent film Uncle Tom's Cabin...

 and Johnnie Morris
Johnnie Morris (actor)
Johnny Morris was an American comedian/actor who began his career in vaudeville and then worked as a comedian/supporting actor in the movies....

. Although it lacks the political satire and Broadway polish of the 1959 version, this film gives a fairly accurate portrayal of the various Dogpatch characters up until that time. Of particular note is the appearance of Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton was an American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname "The Great Stone Face".Keaton was recognized as the...

 as Lonesome Polecat, and a title song with lyrics by Milton Berle
Milton Berle
Milton Berlinger , better known as Milton Berle, was an American comedian and actor. As the manic host of NBC's Texaco Star Theater , in 1948 he was the first major star of U.S. television and as such became known as Uncle Miltie and Mr...

. Other familiar silent comedy
Silent comedy
Silent comedy refers to a style of acting, related to but distinct from mime, invented to bring comedy into the medium of film in the silent film era before a sound track on film was technologically practicable...

 veterans in the cast include Bud Jamison
Bud Jamison
Bud Jamison was an American film actor. He appeared in 450 films between 1915 and 1944.-Career:...

, Lucien Littlefield
Lucien Littlefield
Lucien Littlefield was an American actor in the silent film era...

, Johnny Arthur
Johnny Arthur
Johnny Arthur was an American stage and motion picture actor.-Early years:Born John Lennox Arthur Williams in Scottdale, Pennsylvania, Arthur was a veteran of twenty-five years on stage before he made his screen debut in 1923's The Unknown Purple...

, Mickey Daniels
Mickey Daniels
Richard "Mickey" Daniels, Jr. was a juvenile actor. Signed by Hal Roach in 1923, he was, along with fat Joe Cobb, scruffy Jackie Condon, pretty Mary Kornman, and smiling "Sunshine Sammy" , a regular in the popular Our Gang comedies.-Biography:The red-haired, gap-toothed, freckled whipper snapper...

, and ex-Keystone Cops Chester Conklin
Chester Conklin
Chester Cooper Conklin was an American comedian and actor. He appeared in over 280 films, about half of them in the silent era.-Early life:...

, Edgar Kennedy
Edgar Kennedy
Edgar Livingston Kennedy was an American comedic film actor, known as "the king of the slow burn". A slow burn is an exasperated facial expression, performed very deliberately; Kennedy embellished this by rubbing his hand over his bald head and across his face, in an attempt to hold his temper...

 and Al St. John. The story concerns Daisy Mae's efforts to catch Li'l Abner on Sadie Hawkins Day. Since this movie predates their comic strip marriage, Abner makes a last-minute escape, (natcherly!)

A much more successful musical comedy adaptation of the strip, also entitled Li'l Abner, opened on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 at the St. James Theater on November 15, 1956 and had a long run of 693 performances, followed by a nationwide tour. Among the actors originally considered for the title role were Dick Shawn
Dick Shawn
Dick Shawn was an American actor and comedian.-Early life and career:Shawn was born as Richard Schulefand in Buffalo, New York. He played Sylvester Marcus, son of Mrs. Marcus , in Stanley Kramer's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Lorenzo St...

 and Andy Griffith
Andy Griffith
Andy Samuel Griffith is an American actor, director, producer, Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. He gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan's epic film A Face in the Crowd before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead...

. The stage musical
Li'l Abner (musical)
Li'l Abner is a musical with a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, music by Gene De Paul, and lyrics by Johnny Mercer.Based on the comic strip Li'l Abner by Al Capp, the show is, on the surface, a broad spoof of hillbillies but is also a pointed satire taking on any number of topics, ranging...

, with music and lyrics by Gene de Paul
Gene de Paul
Gene de Paul was an American pianist, composer and songwriter.-Biography:Born in New York City, he served in the United States Army during World War II....

 and Johnny Mercer
Johnny Mercer
John Herndon "Johnny" Mercer was an American lyricist, songwriter and singer. He is best known as a lyricist, but he also composed music. He was also a popular singer who recorded his own songs as well as those written by others...

, was adapted into a Technicolor
Technicolor
Technicolor is a color motion picture process invented in 1916 and improved over several decades.It was the second major process, after Britain's Kinemacolor, and the most widely used color process in Hollywood from 1922 to 1952...

 motion picture at Paramount
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

 in 1959 by producer Norman Panama
Norman Panama
Norman Panama was an American screenwriter and film director born in Chicago, Illinois. He collaborated with a former schoolfriend, Melvin Frank to form a writing partnership which endured for three decades...

 and director Melvin Frank
Melvin Frank
Melvin Frank was an American screenwriter, film producer and film director. He collaborated with a former schoolfriend, Norman Panama to form a writing partnership which endured for 3 decades...

, with an original score by Nelson Riddle
Nelson Riddle
Nelson Smock Riddle, Jr. was an American arranger, composer, bandleader and orchestrator whose career stretched from the late 1940s to the mid 1980s...

. Starring Peter Palmer
Peter Palmer (actor)
Peter Palmer is an American actor best known for his portrayal of Li'l Abner, both on Broadway and on film....

, Leslie Parrish
Leslie Parrish
Leslie Parrish is an American actress. She worked under her birth name, Marjorie Hellen, until she changed it in 1959.-Education:...

, Julie Newmar
Julie Newmar
Julie Newmar is an American actress, dancer and singer. Her most famous role is Catwoman in the Batman television series.-Early life:...

, Stella Stevens
Stella Stevens
Stella Stevens Stella Stevens Stella Stevens (born October 1, 1938 is an American film, television and stage actress, who began her acting career in 1959 and starred in such popular films as The Nutty Professor, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, The Silencers, The Ballad of Cable Hogue and The...

, Stubby Kaye
Stubby Kaye
Stubby Kaye was an American comic actor. He was born Bernard Kotzin in New York City on the last day of the First World War, at West 114th Street in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan to first generation Jewish-Americans originally from Russia and Austria...

, Billie Hayes
Billie Hayes
Billie Hayes is an American actress best known for her comic portrayal as Witchie-poo on the Sid and Marty Krofft television series H.R. Pufnstuf. Her characteristic cackle and animated physicality were notable during the show's 17-episode run in 1969–70...

, Howard St. John
Howard St. John
Howard St. John was a Chicago-born character actor who specialized in unsympathetic roles. His work spanned Broadway, film and television...

, Joe E. Marks, Carmen Alvarez, William Lanteau and Bern Hoffman, with cameos by Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis is an American comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter and film director. He is best known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He was originally paired up with Dean Martin in 1946, forming the famed comedy team of Martin and Lewis...

, Robert Strauss
Robert Strauss (actor)
Robert Strauss was a gravel-voiced American actor.-Career:Strauss began his career as a classical actor, appearing in The Tempest and Macbeth on Broadway in 1930...

, Ted Thurston
Ted Thurston
Ted Thurston was an American actor and singer.Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Thurston made his Broadway debut in the short-lived 1951 musical Flahooley. He had better luck with his next show, the Lerner and Loewe musical Paint Your Wagon...

, Alan Carney
Alan Carney
Alan Carney was an American actor and comedian.Alan Carney was born David Boughal in Brooklyn, New York. He had performed in vaudeville for years as a comic dialectican. After making his first film, 1941's Convoy, Carney signed a contract at RKO Pictures, in choice supporting roles in such films...

, Valerie Harper
Valerie Harper
Valerie Harper is an American actress, known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on the 1970s television show The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and for her starring roles on the sitcoms Rhoda and Valerie.-Early life and career:Harper was born at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, Rockland County,...

 and Donna Douglas
Donna Douglas
Donna Douglas is an American actress best known for her role as Elly May Clampett, in the long-running television series The Beverly Hillbillies.-Early life:...

. Three members of the original Broadway cast did not appear in the film version: Charlotte Rae
Charlotte Rae
Charlotte Rae is a prolific American character actress of stage, comedienne, singer and dancer, who in her six decades of television is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Edna Garrett in the sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life...

 (who was replaced by Billie Hayes early in the stage production), Edie Adams
Edie Adams
Edie Adams was an American singer, Broadway, television and film actress and comedienne. Adams, a Tony Award winner, "both embodied and winked at the stereotypes of fetching chanteuse and sexpot blonde." She was well-known for her impersonations of female stars on stage and television, most...

 (who was pregnant during the filming) and Tina Louise
Tina Louise
Tina Louise is an American actress, singer, and author. She is best known for her role as the "movie star" Ginger Grant on the television situation comedy Gilligan's Island .-Early life:...

. The musical has since become a perennial favorite of high school and amateur productions, due to its popular appeal and modest production requirements.

Li'l Abner never sold as a TV series despite several attempts (including an unsold pilot that aired once on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 on September 5, 1967), but Al Capp was a familiar face on television for twenty years. No other cartoonist to date has come close to Capp's televised exposure. Capp appeared as a regular on The Author Meets the Critics. He was also a periodic panelist on ABC and NBC's Who Said That? Capp has appeared as himself on The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show is an American TV variety show that originally ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan....

, Sid Caesar
Sid Caesar
Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar is an Emmy award winning American comic actor and writer known as the leading man on the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, and to younger generations as Coach Calhoun in Grease and Grease 2.- Early life :Caesar was born in Yonkers, New York,...

's Your Show of Shows
Your Show of Shows
Your Show of Shows is a live 90-minute variety show that appeared weekly in the United States on NBC , from February 25, 1950, until June 5, 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca....

, The Today Show
The Today Show
Today is an iconic American morning news and talk show airing every morning on NBC. Debuting on January 14, 1952, it was the first of its genre on American television and in the world. The show is also the fourth-longest running American television series...

, The Red Skelton Show
The Red Skelton Show
The Red Skelton Show is an American variety show that was a television staple for two decades, from 1951 to 1971. It was second to Gunsmoke and third to The Ed Sullivan Show in the ratings during that time. Skelton, who had previously been a radio star, had appeared in several motion pictures as...

, The Merv Griffin Show
The Merv Griffin Show
The Merv Griffin Show is an American television talk show, starring Merv Griffin. The series ran from October 1, 1962 to March 29, 1963 on NBC, September 20, 1965 to September 26, 1969 in first-run syndication, from August 18, 1969 to February 11, 1972 at 11:30 PM ET weeknights on CBS and again in...

, The Mike Douglas Show
The Mike Douglas Show
The Mike Douglas Show is an American daytime television talk show hosted by Mike Douglas that aired in syndication from 1961 to 1982, distributed by Westinghouse Broadcasting and for much of its run, originated from studios of two of the company's TV stations.The program featured light banter with...

, and on This Is Your Life
This Is Your Life
This Is Your Life is an American television documentary series broadcast on NBC, originally hosted by its producer, Ralph Edwards from 1952 to 1961. In the show, the host surprises a guest, and proceeds to take them through their life in front of an audience including friends and family.Edwards...

 on February 12, 1961 with host Ralph Edwards
Ralph Edwards
Ralph Livingstone Edwards was an American radio and television host and television producer.-Early career:Born in Merino, Colorado , Edwards worked for KROW-AM in Oakland, California while he was still in high school...

 and honoree Peter Palmer. He hosted at least five television programs between 1952 and 1972—three different talk show
Talk show
A talk show or chat show is a television program or radio program where one person discuss various topics put forth by a talk show host....

s called The Al Capp Show (twice), Al Capp, Al Capp's America (a live "chalk talk," with Capp providing a barbed commentary while sketching cartoons), and a game show
Game show
A game show is a type of radio or television program in which members of the public, television personalities or celebrities, sometimes as part of a team, play a game which involves answering questions or solving puzzles usually for money and/or prizes...

 called Anyone Can Win. In addition, Capp was a frequent celebrity guest; his appearances on NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

's The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show is an American late-night talk show that has aired on NBC since 1954. It is the longest currently running regularly scheduled entertainment program in the United States, and the third longest-running show on NBC, after Meet the Press and Today.The Tonight Show has been hosted by...

 spanned three emcees—(Steve Allen
Steve Allen
Steve Allen may refer to:*Steve Allen , American musician, comedian, and writer*Steve Allen , presenter on the London-based talk radio station LBC 97.3...

, Jack Paar
Jack Paar
Jack Harold Paar was an author, American radio and television comedian and talk show host, best known for his stint as host of The Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962...

 and Johnny Carson
Johnny Carson
John William "Johnny" Carson was an American television host and comedian, known as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for 30 years . Carson received six Emmy Awards including the Governor Award and a 1985 Peabody Award; he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987...

).

Comic strip adaptations

  • Li'l Abner (1940) RKO
  • Kickapoo Joy Juice (1944) Columbia
    Columbia Pictures
    Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

  • Amoozin' but Confoozin (1944) Columbia
  • A Pee-Kool-Yar Sit-Chee-Ay-Shun (1944) Columbia
  • Porkuliar Piggy (1944) Columbia
  • Sadie Hawkins Day (1944) Columbia
  • Fearless Fosdick (1952) NBC-TV (series) 13 episodes
  • Li'l Abner (1959) Paramount
  • Li'l Abner (1966) NBC-TV unsold television pilot
    Television pilot
    A "television pilot" is a standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell the show to a television network. At the time of its inception, the pilot is meant to be the "testing ground" to see if a series will be possibly desired and successful and therefore a test episode of an...

     with Sammy Jackson
    Sammy Jackson
    Sammy Jackson was an American actor known particularly for his roles reflecting rural life and a country music disc jockey, although he also played pop-standards during 1983 at Los Angeles's KMPC.-Biography and persona:...

     and Judy Canova
    Judy Canova
    Judy Canova , born Juliette Canova, was an American comedienne, actress, singer and radio personality. She appeared on Broadway and in films...

  • Li'l Abner (1971) NBC-TV (special)

Other Al Capp credits

  • People on Paper (aka MGM Passing Parade #55, 1945) (cameo by Al Capp)
  • This Is America: Funny Business (1948) RKO (cameo by Al Capp)
  • The Author Meets the Critics (1948–'54) NBC
    NBC
    The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

    -TV, ABC
    American Broadcasting Company
    The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

    -TV and DuMont
    DuMont Television Network
    The DuMont Television Network, also known as the DuMont Network, DuMont, Du Mont, or Dumont was one of the world's pioneer commercial television networks, rivalling NBC for the distinction of being first overall. It began operation in the United States in 1946. It was owned by DuMont...

     (series, Capp was a regular panelist)
  • The Al Capp Show (1952) TV talk show
  • What's the Story? (1953) DuMont (series, co-hosted by Al Capp)
  • Anyone Can Win (1953) CBS-TV (series, hosted by Al Capp)
  • Al Capp's America (1954) TV series
  • That Certain Feeling (1956) Paramount
    Paramount Pictures
    Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

     (cameo by Al Capp)
  • The Sound of Laughter (1958) NBC-TV (episode of Wide Wide World
    Wide Wide World
    Wide Wide World was a 90-minute documentary series telecast live on NBC on Sunday afternoons at 4pm Eastern. Conceived by network head Pat Weaver and hosted by Dave Garroway, Wide Wide World was introduced on the Producers' Showcase series on June 27, 1955...

    )
  • Person to Person (27 November 1959) CBS-TV (interviewed by Charles Collingwood
    Charles Collingwood (journalist)
    Charles Collingwood was a television newscaster.Born in Three Rivers, Michigan, Collingwood graduated from Deep Springs College and Cornell University and in 1939 received a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University. After working in London for United Press, Collingwood was hired by Edward R...

    )
  • Do Blonds Have More Fun? (1967) NBC-TV (special)
  • The Al Capp Show (1968) TV talk show
  • This Is Al Capp (1970) NBC-TV (special)
  • Al Capp (1971–'72) TV talk show
  • Imagine: John Lennon (1988) Warner Bros.
    Warner Bros.
    Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

     (cameo by Al Capp)
  • The Life and Times of Al Capp (2011) WNET-TV (episode of American Masters
    American Masters
    American Masters is a PBS television show which produces biographies on the artists, actors and writers of the United States who have left a profound impact on the nation's popular culture. It is produced by WNET in New York City...

    )

Beyond the comic strip

  • "ABNER" was the name given to the first codebreaking computer
    Computer
    A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...

     used by the National Security Agency
    National Security Agency
    The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S...

    . According to longtime NSA computer expert Samuel Simon Snyder
    Samuel Simon Snyder
    Samuel Simon Snyder was a cryptographer for the United States Government. His wife was Patricia Yakerson Snyder.- Career :...

    , "We chose the name from Li'l Abner Yokum, the comic strip character who was a big brute, but not very smart, because we believed that computers, which can be big and do brute-force operations, aren't very bright either. They can only follow simple instructions but can't think for themselves." ABNER was originally given only 15 simple programs, later doubled to 30. Nevertheless, when it was secretly completed in April 1952 it was the "most sophisticated computer of its time."

  • The 1989 film I Want to Go Home (Je Veux Rentrer a la Maison, screenplay by Jules Feiffer
    Jules Feiffer
    Jules Ralph Feiffer is an American syndicated cartoonist, most notable for his long-run comic strip titled Feiffer. He has created more than 35 books, plays and screenplays...

    ) has a scene where the main character, a retired cartoonist played by Adolph Green
    Adolph Green
    Adolph Green was an American lyricist and playwright who, with long-time collaborator Betty Comden, penned the screenplays and songs for some of the most beloved movie musicals, particularly as part of Arthur Freed's production unit at MGM, during the genre's heyday...

    , makes an unexpectedly emotional appeal for Al Capp and his legacy.

  • The original Dogpatch is a historical part of San Francisco dating back to the 1860s that escaped the earthquake and fire of 1906. Later in the 20th century, U.S. Army and Marine Corps
    Marine corps
    A marine is a member of a force that specializes in expeditionary operations such as amphibious assault and occupation. The marines traditionally have strong links with the country's navy...

     units in Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

     during the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

     called their housing compounds "Dogpatches," due to the primitive living conditions.

  • Li'l Abner, Daisy Mae, Wolf Gal, Earthquake McGoon, Lonesome Polecat, Hairless Joe, Sadie Hawkins, Silent Yokum and Fearless Fosdick all found their way onto the painted noses
    Nose art
    Nose art is a decorative painting or design on the fuselage of a military aircraft, usually located near the nose, and is a form of aircraft graffiti....

     of bomber aircraft during World War II and the Korean War
    Korean War
    The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

    , as did Kickapoo Joy Juice, Lena the Hyena and the Shmoo. Moonbeam McSwine was immortalized as the P-51D Mustang USAAF bomber escort fighter flown by ace pilot Capt. William T. Whisner, still operable and appearing in aviator air show
    Air show
    An air show is an event at which aviators display their flying skills and the capabilities of their aircraft to spectators in aerobatics. Air shows without aerobatic displays, having only aircraft displayed parked on the ground, are called "static air shows"....

    s as of 2008.

  • Al Capp always claimed to have effectively created the miniskirt
    Miniskirt
    A miniskirt, sometimes hyphenated as mini-skirt, is a skirt with a hemline well above the knees – generally no longer than below the buttocks; and a minidress is a dress with a similar meaning...

    , when he first put one on Daisy Mae in 1934.

  • Li'l Abner was censored
    Censorship
    thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

     for the first, but not the last time in September 1947, and was pulled from papers by Scripps-Howard. The controversy, as reported in Time, centered on Capp's portrayal of the US Senate. Said Edward Leech of Scripps, "We don't think it is good editing or sound citizenship to picture the Senate as an assemblage of freaks and crooks... boobs and undesirables."

  • Li'l Abner has one odd design quirk that has puzzled readers for decades: the part in his hair always faces the viewer, no matter which direction Abner is facing. In response to the question "Which side does Abner part his hair on?," Capp would answer, "Both." Capp claimed that he found the right "look" for Li'l Abner with Henry Fonda
    Henry Fonda
    Henry Jaynes Fonda was an American film and stage actor.Fonda made his mark early as a Broadway actor. He also appeared in 1938 in plays performed in White Plains, New York, with Joan Tompkins...

    's character Dave Tolliver in The Trail of the Lonesome Pine
    The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936 film)
    The Trail of the Lonesome Pine is a 1936 romance film based on the novel of the same name. It was directed by Henry Hathaway. It was the second full length feature film to be shot in three-strip Technicolor and the first in color to be shot outdoors, with the approval of the Technicolor Corporation...

     (1936). Fonda later commented, "He's never told me, but I was told he has said that."

  • Joan Baez
    Joan Baez
    Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice....

     took Al Capp to court in 1967 over Joanie Phoanie. She did not ask for damages; it was instead a bid to force a public retraction. The judge decided in Capp's favor, however. Declaring that satire was also protected free speech, he refused to order Capp to cease and desist. In recent years, Baez has admitted to being more amused by the parody—even including an excerpt in her memoirs (And a Voice to Sing With: A Memoir, published in 1987). "I wish I could have laughed at this at the time," she wrote in a caption under one of the strips.

  • In 1960, Dixieland
    Dixieland
    Dixieland music, sometimes referred to as Hot jazz, Early Jazz or New Orleans jazz, is a style of jazz music which developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century, and was spread to Chicago and New York City by New Orleans bands in the 1910s.Well-known jazz standard songs from the...

     trombonist Turk Murphy
    Turk Murphy
    Melvin Edward Alton “Turk” Murphy was renowned as a trombonist who played traditional and dixieland jazz in San Francisco....

     christened his San Francisco jazz club "Earthquake McGoon's," in honor of the perennial Dogpatch villain.

  • In 1968, the first year of operation, Dogpatch USA
    Dogpatch USA
    Dogpatch USA is an abandoned theme park located on State Highway 7 between the cities of Harrison and Jasper in Arkansas, USA, an area known today as Marble Falls...

     had 300,000 visitors. Admission was $1.50 for adults, and half price for children. Al Capp's son Colin Capp worked at the park that year, and met and married Vicki Cox, the actress portraying Moonbeam McSwine. Capp had previously spoofed the idea of a theme park based on his characters in Li'l Abner, in a 1955 Disneyland
    Disneyland Park (Anaheim)
    Disneyland Park is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts division of the Walt Disney Company. Known as Disneyland when it opened on July 18, 1955, and still almost universally referred to by that name, it is the only theme park to be...

     parody called "Hal Yappland."

  • Al Capp designed the 23 feet (7 m) statue of Josiah Flintabattey Flonatin ("Flinty") that graces the city of Flin Flon
    Flin Flon
    Flin Flon is a Canadian mining city located on the border of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, with the majority of the city located within Manitoba.- Founding :...

    , Manitoba
    Manitoba
    Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

    . The town's name is taken from the lead character in a 1905 dime novel
    Dime novel
    Dime novel, though it has a specific meaning, has also become a catch-all term for several different forms of late 19th-century and early 20th-century U.S...

    , The Sunless City
    The Sunless City
    The Sunless City: From the Papers and Diaries of the Late Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin is a dime novel written by J. E. Preston Muddock in 1905. The novel is about a prospector named Josiah Flintabbaty Flonatin who explores a bottomless lake in a submarine, and discovers a land where everything is...

     by J. E. Preston Muddock. Capp donated his time and talent to create the image. The character is of such importance to the identity of the city that the local Chamber of Commerce commissioned the minting of a $3.00 coin, which was considered legal tender within the city during the year following its issue. The Chamber had the fiberglass
    Fiberglass
    Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

     sculpture moved to its present location at the Flin Flon Tourist Park in 1962.

  • "Natcherly," Capp's bastardization of "naturally," turns up occasionally in popular culture—even without a specifically rural theme. It can be found in West Side Story, for instance, in Stephen Sondheim
    Stephen Sondheim
    Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist for stage and film. He is the winner of an Academy Award, multiple Tony Awards including the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, multiple Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Laurence Olivier Award...

    's original lyrics to "Gee, Officer Krupke" (1957).

  • Mell Lazarus, creator of Miss Peach
    Miss Peach
    Miss Peach was a syndicated comic strip created by American cartoonist Mell Lazarus. It ran for 45 years, from February 4, 1957 to September 8, 2002....

     and Momma
    Momma
    Momma is an English language comic strip by Mell Lazarus which debuted on October 26, 1970. Initially distributed by the Publishers-Hall Syndicate, it is currently handled by Creators Syndicate and published in more than 400 newspapers worldwide....

    , wrote a comic novel in 1963 titled The Boss Is Crazy, Too. It was partly inspired by his apprenticeship days working for Al Capp and his brother Elliot Caplin at Toby Press, which published Shmoo Comics in the late 1940s. In a seminar at the Charles Schulz Museum on November 8, 2008, Lazarus called his experience at Toby "the five funniest years of my life." Lazarus went on to cite Capp as one of the "four essentials" in the field of newspaper cartoonists—along with Walt Kelly, Charles Schulz and Milton Caniff.

Further reading


Since his death in 1979, Al Capp and his work have been the subject of more than 40 books, including three biographies
Biography
A biography is a detailed description or account of someone's life. More than a list of basic facts , biography also portrays the subject's experience of those events...

. Underground cartoonist
Underground comix
Underground comix are small press or self-published comic books which are often socially relevant or satirical in nature. They differ from mainstream comics in depicting content forbidden to mainstream publications by the Comics Code Authority, including explicit drug use, sexuality and violence...

 and Li'l Abner expert Denis Kitchen
Denis Kitchen
Denis Kitchen is an American underground cartoonist, publisher, author, and agent from Wisconsin, and the founder of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.-Early life:...

 has published, co-published, edited, or otherwise served as consultant on nearly all of them. Kitchen is currently compiling a monograph
Monograph
A monograph is a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author.It is often a scholarly essay or learned treatise, and may be released in the manner of a book or journal article. It is by definition a single document that forms a complete text in itself...

 on the life and career of Al Capp.

  • Capp, Al, Li’l Abner in New York (1936) Whitman Publishing
  • Capp, Al, Li’l Abner Among the Millionaires (1939) Whitman Publishing
  • Capp, Al, Li’l Abner and Sadie Hawkins Day (1940) Saalfield Publishing
    Saalfield Publishing
    The Saalfield Publishing Company published children's books and other products from 1900 to 1977. It was once one of the largest publishers of children's materials in the world....

  • Capp, Al, Li’l Abner and the Ratfields (1940) Saalfield Publishing
  • Sheridan, Martin, Comics and Their Creators (1942) R.T. Hale & Co, (1977) Hyperion Press
  • Waugh, Coulton, The Comics (1947) Macmillan Publishers
    Macmillan Publishers
    Macmillan Publishers Ltd, also known as The Macmillan Group, is a privately held international publishing company owned by Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. It has offices in 41 countries worldwide and operates in more than thirty others.-History:...

  • Capp, Al, Newsweek Magazine (November 24, 1947) "Li'l Abner's Mad Capp"
  • Capp, Al, Saturday Review of Literature (March 20, 1948) "The Case for the Comics"
  • Capp, Al, The Life and Times of the Shmoo (1948) Simon & Schuster
    Simon & Schuster
    Simon & Schuster, Inc., a division of CBS Corporation, is a publisher founded in New York City in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. It is one of the four largest English-language publishers, alongside Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins...

  • Capp, Al, The Nation (March 21, 1949) "There Is a Real Shmoo"
  • Capp, Al, Cosmopolitan Magazine (June 1949) "I Don't Like Shmoos"
  • Capp, Al, Atlantic Monthly (April 1950) "I Remember Monster"
  • Capp, Al, Time Magazine (November 6, 1950) "Die Monstersinger"
  • Capp, Al, Life Magazine (March 31, 1952) "It's Hideously True!!..."
  • Capp, Al, Real Magazine (December 1952) "The REAL Powers in America"
  • Capp, Al, The World of Li'l Abner (1953) Farrar, Straus & Young
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux is an American book publishing company, founded in 1946 by Roger W. Straus, Jr. and John C. Farrar. Known primarily as Farrar, Straus in its first decade of existence, the company was renamed several times, including Farrar, Straus and Young and Farrar, Straus and Cudahy...

  • Leifer, Fred, The Li'l Abner Official Square Dance Handbook (1953) A.S. Barnes
  • Mikes, George, Eight Humorists (1954) Allen Wingate, (1977) Arden Library
  • Lehrer, Tom, The Tom Lehrer Song Book, introduction by Al Capp (1954) Crown Publishers
  • Capp, Al, Al Capp's Fearless Fosdick: His Life and Deaths (1956) Simon & Schuster
  • Capp, Al, Al Capp's Bald Iggle: The Life it Ruins May Be Your Own (1956) Simon & Schuster
  • Capp, Al, et al. Famous Artists Cartoon Course - 3 volumes (1956) Famous Artists School
    Famous Artists School
    Famous Artists School has offered correspondence courses in art since it was founded in 1948 in Westport, Connecticut, U.S.A. The idea was conceived by Albert Dorne as a result of a conversation with Norman Rockwell...

  • Capp, Al, Life Magazine (January 14, 1957) "The Dogpatch Saga: Al Capp's Own Story"
  • Brodbeck, Arthur J, et al. "How to Read Li'l Abner Intelligently" from Mass Culture: Popular Arts in America (1957) Free Press
    Free Press (publisher)
    Free Press is a book publishing imprint of Simon and Schuster. It was founded by Jeremiah Kaplan and Charles Liebman in 1947 and was devoted to sociology and religion titles. It was headquartered in Glencoe, Illinois, where it was known as The Free Press of Glencoe...

  • Capp, Al, The Return of the Shmoo (1959) Simon & Schuster
  • Hart, Johnny, Back to B.C., introduction by Al Capp (1961) Fawcett Publications
    Fawcett Publications
    Fawcett Publications was an American publishing company founded in 1919 in Robbinsdale, Minnesota by Wilford Hamilton "Captain Billy" Fawcett . At the age of 16, Fawcett ran away from home to join the Army, and the Spanish-American War took him to the Philippines. Back in Minnesota, he became a...

  • Lazarus, Mell, Miss Peach, introduction by Al Capp (1962) Pyramid Books
    Pyramid Books
    Jove Books, formerly Pyramid Books, is a paperback publishing company, founded in 1949 by Almat Magazine Publishers . The company was sold to the Walter Reade Organization in the late 1960s. It was acquired in 1974 by Harcourt Brace which renamed it to Jove in 1977 and continued the line as an...

  • Gross, Milt, He Done Her Wrong, introduction by Al Capp (1963 Ed.) Dell Books
  • White, David Manning, and Robert H. Abel, eds. The Funnies: An American Idiom (1963) Free Press
  • White, David Manning, ed. From Dogpatch to Slobbovia: The (Gasp!) World of Li'l Abner (1964) Beacon Press
    Beacon Press
    Beacon Press is an American non-profit book publisher. Founded in 1854 by the American Unitarian Association, it is currently a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association.Beacon Press is a member of the Association of American University Presses....

  • Capp, Al, Life International Magazine (June 14, 1965) "My Life as an Immortal Myth"
  • Capp, Al, Playboy Magazine (December 1965) interview with Al Capp by Alvin Toffler
    Alvin Toffler
    Alvin Toffler is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity....

    , pp. 89–100
  • Moger, Art, et al. Chutzpah Is, introduction by Al Capp (1966) Colony Publishers
  • Berger, Arthur Asa, Li'l Abner: A Study in American Satire (1969) Twayne Publishers, (1994) University Press of Mississippi
    University Press of Mississippi
    The University Press of Mississippi, founded in 1970, is a publisher that is sponsored by the eight state universities in Mississippi:*Alcorn State University*Delta State University*Jackson State University*Mississippi State University...

     ISBN 0878057137
  • Sugar, Andy, Saga Magazine (December 1969) "On the Campus Firing Line with Al Capp"
  • Gray, Harold, Arf! The Life and Hard Times of Little Orphan Annie, introduction by Al Capp (1970) Arlington House
  • Moger, Art, Some of My Best Friends are People, introduction by Al Capp (1970) Directors Press
  • Capp, Al, The Hardhat's Bedtime Story Book (1971) Harper & Row ISBN 0060613114
  • Robinson, Jerry, The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art (1974) G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Horn, Maurice, The World Encyclopedia of Comics (1976) Chelsea House, (1982) Avon
    Avon (publishers)
    Avon Publications was an American paperback book and comic book publisher. As of 2010, it is an imprint of HarperCollins, publishing primarily romance novels.-History:...

  • Blackbeard, Bill, ed. The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics (1977) Smithsonian Inst. Press
    Smithsonian Institution
    The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

    /Harry Abrams
  • Marschall, Rick, Cartoonist PROfiles #37 (March 1978) interview with Al Capp
  • Capp, Al, The Best of Li'l Abner (1978) Holt, Rinehart & Winston ISBN 0030455162
  • Lardner, Ring, You Know Me Al: The Comic Strip Adventures of Jack Keefe, introduction by Al Capp (1979) Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
  • Van Buren, Raeburn, Abbie an' Slats - 2 volumes (1983) Ken Pierce Books
  • Capp, Al, Li'l Abner: Reuben Award Winner Series Book 1 (1985) Blackthorne
  • Marschall, Rick, Nemo, the Classic Comics Library
    Nemo, the Classic Comics Library
    Nemo, the Classic Comics Library was a magazine devoted to the history and creators of vintage comic strips. Created by comics historian Rick Marschall, it was published in the 1980s by Fantagraphics....

     #18 (April 1986) Al Capp / Li'l Abner issue
  • Capp, Al, Li'l Abner Dailies - 27 volumes (1988–1999) Kitchen Sink Press
    Kitchen Sink Press
    Kitchen Sink Press was a comic book publishing company founded by Denis Kitchen in 1970. Kitchen owned and operated Kitchen Sink Press until 1999. Kitchen Sink Press was a pioneering publisher of underground comics, and was also responsible for numerous republications of classic comic strips in...

  • Marschall, Rick, America's Great Comic Strip Artists (1989) Abbeville Press
  • Capp, Al, Fearless Fosdick (1990) Kitchen Sink ISBN 0878161082
  • Capp, Al, My Well-Balanced Life on a Wooden Leg (1991) John Daniel & Co. ISBN 0936784938
  • Capp, Al, Fearless Fosdick: The Hole Story (1992) Kitchen Sink ISBN 0878161643
  • Caplin, Elliot, Al Capp Remembered (1994) Bowling Green State University
    Bowling Green State University
    Bowling Green State University, often referred to as Bowling Green or BGSU, is a public, coeducational research university located in Bowling Green, Ohio, United States. The institution was granted a charter in 1910 by the State of Ohio as part of the Lowry Bill, which also established Kent State...

     ISBN 087972630X
  • Theroux, Alexander, The Enigma of Al Capp (1999) Fantagraphics Books
    Fantagraphics Books
    Fantagraphics Books is an American publisher of alternative comics, classic comic strip anthologies, magazines, graphic novels, and the adult-oriented Eros Comix imprint...

     ISBN 1560973404
  • Lubbers, Bob, Glamour International #26: The Good Girl Art of Bob Lubbers (2001)
  • Capp, Al, The Short Life and Happy Times of the Shmoo (2002) Overlook Press ISBN 1585674621
  • Capp, Al, Al Capp's Li'l Abner: The Frazetta Years - 4 volumes (2003–2004) Dark Horse Comics
    Dark Horse Comics
    Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent American comic book and manga publisher.Dark Horse Comics was founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson in Milwaukie, Oregon, with the concept of establishing an ideal atmosphere for creative professionals. Richardson started out by opening his first comic book...

  • Al Capp Studios, Al Capp's Complete Shmoo: The Comic Books (2008) Dark Horse ISBN 159307901X
  • Capp, Al, Li'l Abner: The Complete Dailies and Color Sundays Vol. 1: 1934–1936 (2010) IDW Publishing
    IDW Publishing
    IDW Publishing, also known as Idea + Design Works, LLC and IDW, is an American publisher of comic books and comic strip collections. The company was founded in 1999 and has been awarded the title "Publisher of the Year Under 5% Market Share" for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006 by Diamond Comic...

    ISBN 1600106110
  • Capp, Al, Li'l Abner: The Complete Dailies and Color Sundays Vol. 2: 1937–1938 (2010) IDW ISBN 1600107451
  • Capp, Al, Li'l Abner: The Complete Dailies and Color Sundays Vol. 3: 1939–1940 (2011) IDW ISBN 1600109373
  • Capp, Al, Al Capp's Complete Shmoo Vol. 2: The Newspaper Strips (2011) Dark Horse ISBN 159582720X
  • Capp, Al, Li'l Abner: The Complete Dailies and Color Sundays Vol. 4: 1941–1942 (2012) IDW ISBN 1613771231


External links