Al Capp's syndicated comic strip Li'l Abner debuted eighty years ago today (August 13, 1934). It ran for 43 years. Best known for satirizing Washington politics and introducing Sadie Hawkins Day and shmoos to popular culture (somewhere I still have a brass shmoo pin), some of us remember it for its bumpkin beefcake. (Li'l Abner, what a hottie!) I remember seeing a touring company of the musical Li'l Abner at Yokota Air Force Base around 1965, feeling tingly every time the well-cast broad-shouldered, slim-waisted actor playing Abner moved.
|"IT'S SIMPLE. TH' WAY YO' PLAYS 'DOGPATCH BINGO'!! TWO PLAYERS FACES EACH OTHER--AN' BINGO!!--ONE OF 'EM IS MASSACRED!!"|
|"TH' GREATEST COMBY-NAY-SHUN FIGHTER AN' RASSLER ON EARTH"|
|Li'l Abner and Daisy Mae on the cover of Life (1952)|
Following the success of Hercules (1958), Paramount Pictures considered Steve Reeves for the role of Abner in the 1959 film version of the popular musical Li'l Abner. The role went to Peter Palmer, who played the role on Broadway. Later Reeves was offered the role of James Bond in Dr. No (1962), but he turned it down because the producers didn't offer him enough money. (Thanks to Almatolmen for sending me these photos.)
|Publicity photo for the 1959 movie, starring Peter Palmer, Leslie Parrish, Stubby Kaye, Howard St. John, Julie Newmar, Stella Stevens (as Appassionata Von Climax), and Billie Hayes.|
|1970s wrestler Li'l Abner Osborne (National Wrestling Federation)|
|Li'l Abner, USA postage stamp (1995)|