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:
- 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.Abner: [looking at Appassionata's fur-coat clad chest](Beat)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
- Character Title
- 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)
- 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
- Placebo Effect: The potion supplied to Abner and the men is ordinary creek water, but they're told it will only work if they believe it does.
- Pretty in Mink: Appassionata
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:I turns on my smolderIn hopes that he'll get bolderBut I keep getting older insteadIf I had my druthersTo choose from all the othersI'd druther that he drop Daisy exits
- Techno Babble: Lampshaded.Dr. Krogmeyer: Oh, Dr. Finsdale, I don’t want to seem stupid, sir, but just precisely what is a mass spectrographic isotopic double diathermal diaphonoscope?
- The Vamp: Appassionata von Climax
- Villain Song: Progress is the Root of All Evil, sung by General Bullmoose