Sadie Hawkins Day. The Shmoo. Lower Slobovia. Joe Bfstplk, Evil Eye Fleegle and General Bullmoose. Lonesome Polecat and Hairless Joe. Stupyfyin’ Jones and Moonbeam McSwine. Marryin’ Sam, Fearless Fosdick and Kickapoo Joy Juice.
If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, here are the final clues: Dogpatch, U.S.A; Daisy Mae and Li’l Abner.
Today is the birthday of Al Capp, creator of the classic comic strip “Li’l Abner” that was the model for bringing entertainment and political commentary to the masses via daily syndication. (Don’t worry, “Pogo” fans — I’m with you there, too.)
I read Li’l Abner daily in the Indianapolis Star when I was growing up (though I probably understood maybe 20% of it) and whenever I could until Capp shut the strip dowin in 1977. A highlight of my teen years was appearing in a stage production of Li’l Abner in my high school play. The director/drama teacher wanted me to be Li’l Abner or Marryin’ Sam, but I could not sing. A lick. So what else was there to do with all this talent, imposing, broad shoulders and no vocal talent but to take on the role of Earthquake McGoon, who’s singing was supposed to be awful. And I nailed it. Every night.
(And a happy, one-day-late birthday to you, Stupyfyin’ Jones. And Mr. Fleegle, there might still be a need for your services in regards to the Mall Diva.)
If’n I had my druthers, I’d still be reading Li’l Abner. Natcherly!