Theatre / Li'l Abner
is a 1956 Broadway musical featuring characters from the comic strip of the same name
, with a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank and songs by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul.
The Dogpatchers are enjoying their Small Town Boredom
when Senator Jack S. Phogbound comes bearing a message from Washington: Dogpatch, having been determined to be the most unnecessary town in the country, has been selected to become the next atomic test site. Dogpatch's annual Sadie Hawkins Day chase is in jeopardy until the town can prove it has a reason for existing. Mammy Yokum suggests the yokumberry tree, which only grows in Dogpatch and whose berries are the source of her son Abner's strength, and Li'l Abner demonstrates this to government approval. This attracts the attention of Corrupt Corporate Executive
General Bullmoose, who sends his floozy Appassionata Von Climax to contend with Daisy Mae in capturing Li'l Abner on Sadie Hawkins Day.
Panama and Frank produced and directed a film version released in 1959 by Paramount Pictures
. The film featured many actors from the original production, including Peter Palmer as Abner, Stubby Kaye as Marryin' Sam, Howard St. John as General Bullmoose, and Julie Newmar as Stupefyin' Jones.
The musical includes the following tropes:
- Alliterative Name: Daniel D. Dawgmeat
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: It looks like Abner is making a Double Entendre, but it turns out to be an Innocent Innuendo.
Did you shoot it?
- Big Bad: General Bullmoose
- The Cameo: In the movie version, Stupefyin' Jones test-subject Itchy McScratchy is played by Jerry Lewis.
- The Dragon: Apassionata von Climax to General Bullmoose
- Chekhov's Gun: When Abner comes home from meeting the government people he tells the Dogpatchers "You can't deface a national shrine!" Later on when the town of Dogpatch is about to be bombed it turns out their statue of Jubilation T. Cornpone has been declared a national shrine and "You can't deface a national shrine!" so the town is not bombed.
- Commitment Issues: Li'l Abner.
Li'l Abner: The day you kiss your bride hello, you kiss your druthers goodbye.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: General Bullmoose
- Crowd Song: Jubilation T. Cornpone, Rag Off'n the Bush, Unnecessary Town, and The Matrimonial Stomp
- Final Love Duet: Namely You (Reprise)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Senator Jack S. Phogbound and Appassionata von Climax. Lampshaded in Phogbound's case.
Earthquake McGoon: There's no Jack S. like our Jack S!
- General Failure: Jubilation T. Cornpone. There is even a song about his epic fail-ness.
Marryin' Sam: With our ammunition gone and faced with utter defeat, who was it that burned the crops and left us nothing to eat? Why it was Jubilation T. Cornpone!
- Girl Posse: General Bullmoose's secretaries
- Designer Babies: Discussed by the scientists in "Oh, Happy Day."
- Hello, Nurse!: Stupefyin' Jones, whose sex appeal is so devastating that she's classified as munitions.
- Opening Chorus: The opening number, "It's A Typical Day," introduces the various denizens of Dogpatch.
- Our Founder: Jubilation T. Cornpone, whose statue really saves the day.
- The Pig Pen: Moonbeam McSwine. note
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
I turns on my smolder
In hopes that he'll
But I keep getting older instead
If I had my druthers
To choose from all the others
I'd druther that he drop Daisy exits