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Li'l Abner

Li'l Abner was a comic strip in United States newspapers, featuring a fictional clan of hillbillies in the town of Dogpatch. Written and drawn by Al Capp, it ran from 1934 through 1977.

The comic strip starred Li'l Abner, the dumb but good-natured hillbilly whose main goal was evading the marital goals of Daisy Mae, his well-endowed girlfriend. Capp finally gave in to reader pressure and allowed the couple to marry. This was such big news, the happy couple made the cover of Life magazine.

Abner's home town of Dogpatch was peopled with an assortment of memorable characters, including Marryin' Sam, Wolf Gal, Lena the Hyena, Indian Lonesome Polecat, and a host of others. Perhaps Capp's most popular creations were the Shmoo, creatures whose incredible usefulness and generous nature made them a threat to civilization as we know it. Another famous character was Joe Btfsplk, who wanted to be a loving friend but was "the world's worst jinx", and always had a small dark cloud over his head.

Li'l Abner also featured a comic-strip within the comic-strip, titled Fearless Fosdick (a parody of Dick Tracy).

Situations often took the characters to other parts of the globe, including New York City, tropical islands, and a miserable frozen land of Capp's invention, "Lower Slobovia."

At its peak, Li'l Abner was read daily by 70 million Americans (when the US population was only 180 million). Many communities staged "Sadie Hawkins Day" events, after a similar annual race in the strip. A musical comedy adaptation of the strip opened on Broadway in 1956, and was made into a motion picture; see: Li'l Abner (musical).

In 1968 a theme park named "Dogpatch USA" featuring Capp's characters opened in northwest Arkansas and remained a popular attraction until it closed in 1993. Several attempts have been made to reopen the park but at the present time it lies abandoned.

Capp had a platoon of assistants in later years but drew the faces and hands himself. Frank Frazetta, later famous as a fantasy artist, drew the beautiful women in the strip's later years. Li'l Abner lasted until 1977, and Capp died two years later.

Li'l Abner is also the name of a famous steak house in Tucson, Arizona. Named after the cartoon character, its only options are 1 pound and 2 pounds steaks.