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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the curiously overlooked film adaptation of Li’l Abner. The chapter points out that rarely has a Broadway musical been adapted for film that looked like that original stage version as the 1959 Paramount Pictures version of Li’l Abner. The film’s sets and costumes reproduced the artificiality of the Broadway sets, which in turn recalled Al Capp’s imaginatively grotesque comic strip on which both were based, and the staging of the film’s musical numbers was unapologetically theatrical and presentational. Yet the chapter also reveals that by 1959, Capp’s comic strip had moved away from the overt political satire for which it had become famous. Thus the film contains a much deeper social satire than the strip was at that time providing.

Keywords: Li’l Abner, Dogpatch, Paramount Pictures, Al Capp, Johnny Mercer

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