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Theatre / Li'l Abner

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Li'l Abner is a 1956 Broadway musical featuring characters from Al Capp's 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:

  • 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!
  • Designer Babies: Discussed by the scientists in "Oh, Happy Day."
  • Head-Turning Beauty: 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 Paralyzer: Stupefyin' Jones literally stuns people with her beauty—any man who looks at her can't move.
  • The Pig-Pen: Moonbeam McSwine. note 
  • Pretty in Mink: Appassionata
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
    I turns on my smolder
    In hopes that he'll get bolder
    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


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Lil Abner


Jubilation T. Cornpone

General Cornpone, heralded for such battles Cornpone's Disaster, Cornpone's Misjudgment, Cornpone's Catastrophe, and Cornpone's Humiliation.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / GeneralFailure

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