Li'l Abner - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

There are lots of cool things on display here at the American Treasure Tour - far too much to see in just one visit.  To be honest, it is pretty likely that the staff who works here will not notice some of the items on display the fist sixty or seventy times around, too.  Today's piece is one that I don't think I ever noticed before, although to be fair it was fairly-well concealed on a high shelf. Please, fans of L'il Abner, fear not.  It is now easily viewable in the Toy Box right near the Gavioli we hope to have up and running soon.  Soon....

Few cartoonists have names as recognizable as their comic strips - Charles Schultz and Peanuts, Bill Waterson with Calvin & Hobbes, and Gary Larson with The Far Side come to mind - but Al Capp (born Alfred Caplin) predates them all with his L'il Abner strip, which ran for forty-three years between 1934 and 1977.  L'il Abner was set in the Deep South, the first popular strip that situated itself below the Mason-Dixon Line, and everything became an easy target for Capp, including himself.  Not only did he skewer contemporary celebrities including Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Frank Sinatra, but he was also known to make fun of himself in the strip.  Set in the backwater hamlet of Dogpatch, Kentucky, the strip was filled with quirky characters, silly humor, scathing social criticism, and outlandish storylines.  Although it has been close to forty years since the last story from Dogpatch, we are glad to have memorabilia from this strange little town here at our strange destination.
QUESTION:  Which was NOT the name of a recurring character in L'il Abner?
A)  Joe Btfsplk
B)  Maurice Moonbeam
C)  Senator Jack S. Phogbound
D)  Earthquake McGoon

NEW AMENDMENT RATIFIED!  There have been too few new amendments added to the U.S. Constitution in the past few decades.  The most recent one came about in 1992.  But today, we are going to talk about its precedent, number 26, which was approved on this day in 1971, when the State of Ohio ratified it.  This changed the minimum voting age from 21 to 18, and the aggressive student activism of the 1960s can be accredited with the change.  The impact of student protests against Civil Rights violations and the war in Vietnam compelled the government to listen to what they said.  After June 30, 1971, the youth of America could be heard better.  Of course, forty-three years later, it seems like few teenaged voters make the effort to go to the polls.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SUSAN.  There were many beautiful actresses in film during the 1940s and 1950s, but few showed the strength and independence that was evident in Susan Hayward. Born on this day in 1917, she worked as a fashion model in New York during her late-teens, prior to moving to Los Angeles.  Her acting career started slow, but after her Oscar-nominated performance in 1947's Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman, her star rose rapidly.  She would eventually be nominated four more times, winning the coveted award in 1958 for her prison drama I Want to Live!  She slowed down a little after that, making appearances on tv and in film until the early '70s, dying in 1975 at the age of 57 due to brain cancer.  To celebrate her birthday, we encourage you to watch one of her films today.

QUOTE:  I never thought of myself as a movie star.  I'm just a working girl.  A working girl who worked her way to the top - and never fell off.  - Susan Hayward

ANSWER:  B)  Maurice Moonbeam