Monday, March 24, 2008

Al Capp - "Father" of 'Li'l Abner'

Al Capp was a cartoonist who created the 'Li'l Abner' comic strip in the mid-1930s. Among the other characters in the strip were 'Mammy and Pappy Yokum' (Abner's parents) and his girl friend 'Daisy Mae'. I read the daily comic strip in the New York Daily News newspaper and looked forward to seeing the characters in full color in the Sunday edition.

Some of the humor may have been lost on me, as I was not even into my teens yet, but I did like the odd assortment of other characters who'd appear in the strip (such as 'Marryin' Sam' and the 'Shmoo'), as well as the silly names of places like 'Lower Slobbovia'.

In 1964, my local church had a "celebrity auction", which was a popular event during the 1960s. Charitable organizations would write to celebrities and ask them to donate a personal item to be auctioned off, to raise money for the group. Many celebrities would donate signed photos, but some others would actually send something personal, such as a handkerchief (clean I hope!) or an old wallet (void of money, of course!).

Al Capp's secretary replied to the head of the church's Guild with this letter:

The "attached picture" was not actually a picture, but rather a printed drawing of Al Capp sitting on Li'l Abner's lap, and signed by Capp. I did not attend this auction, but my Mom did, and she bought this for me, paying something like $1 for it.

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