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(2) Different 1950s Li’l Abner Musical Comedy Advertising Souvenir Programs
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(2) Different 1950s Li'l Abner Musical Comedy Advertising Souvenir Programs
Music   Musical   Comedy   Advertising   Souvenir   United Features Syndicate   UFS   Al Capp   Dogpatch   Li'l Abner   Daisy Mae   Mammy Yokum   Pappy Yokum   Cartoon   Comic   Comic Strip   Comic Book   Character   Hillbilly   United States   America   American   Americana   Premium   Novelty   Nostalgic   Paper   Ephemera   Television   TV   Movie   Film   Theatre   Theater   Broadway   Play   Actor   Actress   History   Historic
The pictures below show larger views of the (2) Different 1950s Li'l Abner Musical Comedy Advertising Souvenir Programs in this lot. The larger of the two has (20) pages and the smaller one has (36). Both are filled with information. The larger has more pictures and the smaller one has more advertising. The larger one has no date that we could find, but it is believed to be from 1956. The smaller St. James Theatre Playbill is ©1958. Both of these for one price! To judge the sizes the larger program measures 8-3/4'' x 11-3/4''. They appear to be in very good condition as pictured. There is only some light wrinkling from being handled, probably at the theater.

Below here, for reference, is some additional information about the original musical comedy Li'l Abner:

Li'l Abner (musical)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Li'l Abner is a musical with a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, music by Gene De Paul, and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Based on the comic strip Li'l Abner by Al Capp, the show is, on the surface, a broad spoof of hillbillies, but it is also a pointed satire on other topics, ranging from American politics and incompetence in the United States federal government to propriety and gender roles. After several other writers and composers considered musicalizing the comic strip, Al Capp finally made a deal in 1955 with the eventual creators for a musical to be financed by Paramount Pictures, which wanted to follow the stage version with a film musical. The Broadway production opened on November 15, 1956 and ran for a moderately successful 693 performances. The score and Michael Kidd's choreography received critical praise, but some critics felt that the book's adaptation lost the spirit of the comic strip. Kidd and Edie Adams, as Daisy Mae, won Tony Awards, while newcomer Peter Palmer, in the title role, won a Theatre World Award. Paramount released a film version with the same title in 1959, with most of the Broadway cast reprising their roles.

A musical version of the popular comic strip Li'l Abner was first planned in 1946, with the book to be written by the comic strip's author, Al Capp. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were named as potential producers, though reports did not state whether they intended to write the score. However, this version never materialized, and over the next several years, various authors and composers sought to musicalize Li'l Abner, including writers Arnold Horwitt and Josh Logan. In 1953, Arthur Schwartz and Alan Jay Lerner obtained the rights to the show from Al Capp; the three were to co-produce the show, with Schwartz writing the music and Lerner writing the book and lyrics for an opening during the 1954 -1955 season. The familiar comic strip characters were to be retained but Li'l Abner and his longtime sweetheart Daisy Mae would not yet be married in the musical. Hollywood star Van Johnson expressed interest in the title role, saying he would dye his hair black to match the comic strip character; he had not appeared on Broadway since the 1940 production of Pal Joey. The Schwartz - Lerner version also fell through, but by the next year Lerner and composer Burton Lane planned to write the musical. Herman Levin would serve as producer, and rehearsals were scheduled to begin in November 1954. However, later that year, Levin announced a musical version of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, by Lerner and Loewe. Although work was supposed to continue on the Lane - Lerner Li'l Abner, this version never appeared, and My Fair Lady, Lerner and Loewe's adaptation of Pygmalion, opened in 1956, becoming the hit musical of the decade.

In 1955, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank announced a Li'l Abner musical to open on Broadway in 1956, followed by a film of the musical. The music was to be written by Gene de Paul with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. De Paul and Mercer had previously written the score for the popular movie musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Michael Kidd, who had choreographed Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, was to direct and choreograph Li'l Abner. Al Capp approved the production and was to receive a share of any profits. Paramount Pictures was the sole backer of the musical and also paid $300,000 for its film rights, with Panama and Frank slated to adapt, direct, and produce the film version.

The producers conducted a long search for the actor to play the title role: over 400 actors auditioned for the part, and at one time, Dick Shawn was reported to be their preferred choice. However, the producers eventually chose unknown singer Peter Palmer, who had been serving in an Army entertainment unit; Panama and Frank saw him perform on a segment of The Ed Sullivan Show featuring talented American soldiers. Palmer was a trained singer with a music degree from the University of Illinois, where he had also played football; at 6'4" and 228 pounds, Palmer had the right “look” to play Li'l Abner. The leading female role, Daisy Mae, was relatively easier to cast. The producers knew that they wanted soprano Edie Adams, who had given a star making performance as Eileen in the 1953 musical Wonderful Town. Adams, however, had also been offered the lead role in the original production of Candide. Adams asked director George Abbott, who had directed her in Wonderful Town, which show she should choose, and he advised her to take Daisy Mae, which she subsequently did. Coincidentally, Al Capp had been one of the three judges for the “Miss U.S. Television” contest broadcast on the DuMont Television Network in 1950 that first brought Adams national attention.

Critical reception
1956 Original Broadway Production
The 1956 original Broadway production opened to great praise for Michael Kidd's choreography, and the score was generally well received. However, some critics thought that the creators of the musical had not effectively translated the original comic strip to the stage, and there was some critical disagreement about whether the satirical elements were effective. In the New York Herald Tribune, for example, Walter Kerr praised Kidd's direction and choreography, saying that Kidd “knows how to set fists and feet pounding against the floor. ... Every time he does it the air sizzles and crackles”. He also praised the score, stating, “Every time ... the orchestra strikes up for one of Johnny Mercer's and Gene de Paul's salutes to comic strip fury, the beat is driving, the voices are clamoring. ... It's all done with zip and zingo”. John Chapman of the Daily News found Li'l Abner very enjoyable, stating, “I decided I was going to like it all very much soon after the curtain rose and this fetching little Edith Adams sidled up to this big hunk, Peter Palmer, and said, shyly, 'Abner, I brought you some worms.' There is a cast which is as remarkable for its ability to entertain as for its picturesqueness”. He praised the satirical lyrics, stating, “Johnny Mercer's lyrics bring to mind the salty and saucy days of Lorenz Hart and Ira Gershwin as they jab at our personal and national foibles”.

Brooks Atkinson of The New York Times lauded Michael Kidd's choreography, stating, “If everyone in Li'l Abner were as talented as Michael Kidd, everything would be as brilliant as the ballets, and probably the world would be gayer, too. But it is difficult to make a fluent musical romance out of some characters who may have hearts of gold but are not very bright in the upper story”. Atkinson thought the book of the musical was inferior to the choreography, stating that the book did “not have the lightness, simplicity, and speed of the Dogpatch folks. ... Mr. Kidd has caught the spirit of Dogpatch civilization brilliantly enough to suggest that ballet is a more suitable medium than words for animating Al Capp's cartoon drawings”.

Tom Donnelly of the New York World Telegram & Sun thought that the production had not retained the spirit of the comic strip, stating, “Those aren't real Dogpatch people stompin' and whompin' and cavortin' across that stage. Those are Broadway actors done up in funny looking costumes”. He also thought that too much of the libretto was spent explaining the Dogpatch milieu, which Donnelly assumed would be familiar to most audience members since Li'l Abner was at that time a very popular comic strip. Conversely, John McClain of the New York Journal American thought the show would have been incomprehensible to anyone not already familiar with the comic strip. McClain also thought the show's political satire was of “questionable taste”, asserting, “it's poor timing to feature a song about 'The Country's in the Very Best of Hands', which attempts to show it isn't, and to haul out and shove all over the stage that dreary caricature of a relentless millionaire”. However, McClain still concluded, “it is sure to be a great big hit. Li'l Abner is bountiful, lively, and tuneful”.

Film and television
Li'l Abner (1959 film)
A film based on the stage musical was made by Paramount and released in 1959, with most of the Broadway cast reprising their roles. The film was shot to resemble a stage set, with the buildings and surroundings in two dimensions, giving the sense of a “proscenium dividing audience and performer”. Below here is a cast list for the 1959 film:

Peter Palmer - Li'l Abner Yokum
Leslie Parrish - Daisy Mae
Stubby Kaye - Marryin' Sam
Howard St. John - General Bullmoose
Julie Newmar - Stupefyin' Jones
Stella Stevens - Appassionata Von Climax
Billie Hayes - Pansy ('Mammy') Yokum
Joe E. Marks - Pappy Yokum
Bern Hoffman - Earthquake McGoon
Al Nesor - Evil Eye Fleagle
Robert Strauss - Romeo Scragg
William Lanteau - Available Jones
Ted Thurston - Senator Jack S. Phogbound
Carmen Álvarez - Moonbeam McSwine
Alan Carney - Mayor Daniel D. Dogmeat
Stanley Simmonds - Rasmussen T. Finsdale
Diki Lerner - Lonesome Polecat
Joe Ploski - Hairless Joe
Ken Ackles - Muscleman (uncredited)
Eric Alden - Policeman (uncredited)
Tom Allison - Bullmoose's Secretary (uncredited)
Babette Bain - Louella (uncredited)
Robert Banas - Town Sharpie (uncredited)
Gilbert Brady - Scrawny Husband (uncredited)
William D. Brown - Bullmoose's Secretary (uncredited)
Cleo - Dog (uncredited)
Lesley-Marie Colburn - Dogpatch Girl (uncredited)
Carole Conn - Chorus Dancer (uncredited)
Lorinne Crawford - Party Guest (uncredited)
Walt Davis - Scragg Family Member (uncredited)
Rockne Deane - Scragg Family Member (uncredited)
Ron Dexter - Dogpatcher (uncredited)
Nick Dimitri - Muscleman (uncredited)
Donna Douglas - Chorus Dancer (uncredited)
Anthony Eustrel - Finsdale's Second Assistant (uncredited)
Bonnie Evans - Chorus Dancer (uncredited)
Roy Fitzell - Dogpatcher (uncredited)
Paul Frees - Radio Announcer (voice) (uncredited)
Marianne Gaba - Chorus Dancer (uncredited)
Aaron Girard - Scrawny Husband (uncredited)
Chuck Hamilton - Scragg Family Member (uncredited)
Valerie Harper - Luke's Wife (uncredited)
Brad Harris - Muscleman Luke (uncredited)
Len Hendry - Bullmoose's Secretary (uncredited)
Fritz Hess - Scrawny Husband (uncredited)
Hope Holiday - Chorus Dancer (uncredited)
Maureen Hopkins - Chorus Dancer (uncredited)
Jimmie Horan - Scragg Family Member (uncredited)
Beth Howland - Clem's Wife (uncredited)
Bob Jellison - Government Man (uncredited)
Robert Karl - Chorus Dancer (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp - Tall Bar Harbor Scragg (uncredited)
Ann Kunde - Dogpatch Townswoman (uncredited)
Jerry Lewis - Itchy McRabbit (uncredited)
Terence Little - Airforce Officer (uncredited)
Bert May - Dogpatcher (uncredited)
Fran McHale - Chorus Dancer (uncredited)
Torben Meyer - Butler (uncredited)
Gordon Mitchell - Muscleman Rufe (uncredited)
Charles Owens - Scrawny Husband (uncredited)
Joseph H. Pryor - Bullmoose's Secretary (uncredited)
Frank Radcliffe - Rufe (uncredited)
Mabel Rea - Chorus Dancer (uncredited)
Buddy Roosevelt - Scragg Family Member (uncredited)
Alex Ruiz - Scrawny Husband (uncredited)
Arthur Sacks - Scrawny Husband (uncredited)
Robert Smart - Bullmoose Yes Man (uncredited)
Dolores Starr - Zsa Zsa (uncredited)
Gloria Tennes - Party Guest / Dogpatch Girl (uncredited)
Mary O. Thomas - Party Guest (uncredited)
Mark Tobin - Rejuvenated Government Man (uncredited)

Click on image to zoom.
(2) Different 1950s Li’l Abner Musical Comedy Advertising Souvenir Programs (2) Different 1950s Li’l Abner Musical Comedy Advertising Souvenir Programs

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