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L’il Abner

Movie review of L’il Abner  — €“ the musical comedy movie, inspired by the Broadway play, that in turn was inspired by Al Capp’s famous comic strip about the inhabitants of Dogpatch

Product Description of Lil Abner (1959)   starring Peter Palmer, Leslie Parrish, Stubby Kaye, Julie Newmar, Stella Stevens

L'il AbnerLI’L ABNER, the beloved cartoon strip from Al Capp, takes place in the hillbilly town of Dogpatch, which is deemed the most useless community in America. When the city is chosen as a test site for A-bombs, its colorful citizens take up the good fight, with lots of fun and merriment.

Trivia for Li’l Abner (1959)

  • Many of the actors and dancers from the 1956 Broadway version were cast in this film.
  • Jerry Lewis‘s cameo was shot with the provision that Paramount would not use his name when marketing the film. This provision was followed but his likeness was used in one of the most prominent marketing stills for the film.

Funny Movie Quotes from Li’l Abner (1959)

Stubby Kaye in Scene from Broadway Production of L'Il Abner

Mammy Yoakum: I has spoken.


Daisy Mae: Why it’s the Bar Harbor Scraggs.
Romeo Scragg: Yeah, they’ve been barred from every harbor in the country.


Mayor Daniel D. Dogmeat: Romeo Scragg, do you claim to be Daisy Mae’s kissin’ kin?
Romeo Scragg: Yes, and that’s the whole trouble.
Mayor Daniel D. Dogmeat: Trouble?
Romeo Scragg: Yeah, I’d like to kiss her, but I don’t think I kin!


Gen. Bullmoose: [talking about Appassionata von Climax] She works for me. She gets a salary, She sorts of lives with me.
Li’l Abner Yokum: [to Appassionata von Climax] Really? Does that mean you gets bed and board, ma’m?
Appassionata Von Climax: Extremely!


Sen. Jack S. Phogbound: I’ll bet you were wondering what I’ve been doing up there in Washington, D.C. these past eighteen years.
Mammy Yoakum: We didn’t care, as long as you was there and we was here!


Gen. Bullmoose: Appasionata, you should have been here an hour ago! Why are you so late?
Appassionata Von Climax: I had to make up.
Gen. Bullmoose: Your face?
Appassionata Von Climax: No, with the chauffeur — € we had a fight!
Gen. Bullmoose: [to his cronies] Remind me to fire that chauffeur!


Mammy Yoakum: [talking about going to the city] You gals are going to have to go through a before-marriage custom called *engagement*.
Moonbeam McSwine: Engagement, what’s that?
Mammy Yoakum: That’s the part before the gal says “Shore do!” € and the preacher says “Go, too!”€
Moonbeam McSwine: How long this engagement thing last?
Mammy Yoakum: Sometimes a whole month.
Moonbeam McSwine: A whole month? What are they, insecure?


Available Jones: [being introduced to Gen. Bullmoose] Well, howdy General! Welcome to Dogpatch. I’d say “€œwhat’s your pleasure?”, but I see you done brought it with you.
[Looks directly at Appasionata]


Daisy Mae: [about growing old and unmarried] I looked in the mirror this morning and most of my good years are gone.
Marryin’ Sam: I guess you’re right. After all, you is pushing eighteen.


Mammy Yoakum: Is you inferring you has money?
Earthquake McGoon: Lady, I is filthy with it.
Mammy Yoakum: Mister, you is filthy without it.


Editorial review of L’il Abner, courtesy of Amazon.com

This is one movie musical that doesn’t bother adapting its stage presentation for the big screen: Li’l Abner cheerfully uses brightly colored, patently fake backdrops and stage sets for its mythical setting. And why not? A movie musical based on a cartoon strip is about as far from reality as you can get. Al Capp’s legendary comic about the hillbilly denizens of Dogpatch was brought to Broadway by the estimable comedy team Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, who also produced the movie. Along with sampling Capp’s world (the pursuit of noncommittal Abner by Daisy Mae on Sadie Hawkins Day is a major plot device), the movie is a goofy record of 1950s attitudes and concerns — €“in fact, Dogpatch is threatened with destruction when the government wants to use it as an atomic test site. The actors’ Broadway delivery has a deadening effect after a while, and some of the makeup is downright weird (think the Whos in the live-action Grinch). Gene de Paul’s music is unmemorable, but Johnny Mercer’s lyrics provide considerable fun, and the athletic dances are based on Michael Kidd’s stage choreography. Plus, the movie honors Capp’s eye for impossibly bodacious women by casting Julie Newmar as Stupefyin’ Jones and Stella Stevens (her first movie role) as Appassionata Von Climax. — €”Robert Horton