Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Li'l Abner in Dogpatch Today
LI'L ABNER IN DOGPATCH TODAY was a one hour NBC variety/musical TV special produced by LAUGH-IN's George Schlatter. As you can see from the ad, Stephen Burns starred as Abner. Burns was one of those under the radar character actors who did a number of things during that period and then faded away. Daisy Mae was played by Debra Feuer who had a slightly better career and would later be married to Mickey Rourke.
Capp had already stopped his strip by this point but the special stayed true to its ideals in satirizing women's lib in connection with the famous Sadie Hawkins day. Polly Bergen and Kaye Ballard appeared as thinly veiled parodies of the real-life Phyllis Schlafly and Bella Abzug. In this case, Phyllis Shoefly and Bella Asgood! Louie Bye seems odd casting for Capp's General Bullmoose. The oddest casting listed in the TV Guide, however, is Rhonda Bates as the strip's ultimate sex symbol, the temptress Apassionata Von Climax!
Bates was around quite a bit in late seventies TV. She was over 6 feet tall and had a great, toothy grin and an undisguisable Southern accent. She was funny but, no offense, not sexy. And yet here she was following in the steamy heels of Tina Louise in the Broadway version and Stella Stevens in the subsequent movie.
Sadly, I have no memory of who played Mammy and Pappy Yolum. TV GUIDE doesn't say and I can find no info online at all other than the barest hint that the show ever existed.