Li’l Abner

February 23rd, 2014 § 0 comments

Last night, BSK placed a platter of delectable adobo dusted pork chops on the table and anoounced: “P’ok chops.” HG replied: “Thanks, Daisy Mae.” Older followers of Hungry Gerald know this was a reference to Li’l Abner, the immensely popular and influential comic strip created by Al Capp (1909-1979). Since the strip ceased publication in 1977 after a 43-year run, younger folks might not be familiar. L’il Abner was set in the impoverished mountain town of Dogpatch, Arkansas. L’il Abner, a strapping and guileless youth, was a member of the Yokum family of hillbillies. Daisy Mae Scraggs, a shapely lass in flimsy clothing, tried (to no avail) to marry Abner. The innocent lad was oblivious. His major interest was his favorite dish: “P’ok chops.” The strip featured numerous imaginatively named characters: “Moonbeam McSwine”–a gorgeous girl who liked to loll about with pigs; “Evil Eye Fleegle”–a zoot suited New Yorker capable of giving adversaries the “whammy”; “Senator Phogbound”–a Dixiecrat windbag; “Stupefyin’ Jones” –a woman so beautiful she reduced men to instant paralysis after one glimpse; “J. Roaringham Fatback”–the quintessential greedy capitalist; “The Scraggs”—Daisy Mae’s terrible (shudder) relatives who lived in Skunk Hollow; “Joe Bftplsk” –the unlucky guy who lived under a perpetual black cloud. One of Capp’s inventions was the Shmoos, loveable, ham shaped creatures who fulfilled all food needs: They produced excellent milk and butter; when roasted or baked they tasted like ham or pork; when fried, they tasted like chicken; when broiled, they tasted like steak. Capp’s characters became part of the American language and folklore. He even spawned an event: Sadie Hawkins Day. Two examples of Li’l Abner influence: An unattractive neighborhood in Fire Island, the lovely barrier beach off New York’s Long Island, is known to the present day as “Skunk Hollow.” BSK spent a number of years guiding the public/media/government/community relations of developer Greg Stevinson as he successfully built a vast, diversified retail-office-residential community on a large family land holding — sneeringly dubbed “Dogpatch” before BSK came along and worked her magic. At its height, the Li’l Abner strip reached 60,000,000 Americans in 900 newspapers and appeared in 100 foreign periodicals in 28 countries. It spawned a movie and a Broadway musical (Julie Newmar played Stupefyin’ Jones and became a star without saying a word). John Updike called the character, Li’l Abner, “a modern Candide” and John Steinbeck suggested Al Capp for a Nobel Prize in Literature. HG is sorry the strip no longer exists. The hedge funders, oligarchs, sexist bigots and nay saying-Republicans could use a blast of Capp’s withering satirical wit.

abner

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