The other day, I showed a video of Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye singing Oscar-nominated "The Ballad of Cat Ballou." I mentioned that Kaye was best known for a couple of famous numbers in Broadway musicals, including the joyful, "Jubilation T. Cornpone," from Li'l Abner. Since he recreated that performance in the movie version, I thought it might nice to show it here.
Based on a popular comic strip in the '50s and somewhat into the '60s (when cartoonist Al Capp's very right wing politics started to get in the way of the good-natured humor), the story was centered in the extremely rural hillbilly life of town of Dogpatch. When transferred to the stage, it got a wonderfully witty and satirical score by lyricist Johnny Mercer and composer Gene de Paul.
Mercer was an especially prolific and admired songwriter, who won four Academy Awards -- "Moon River," "Days of Wine and Roses," "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," and "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening." And his other songs are voluminous and legendary -- "Lazy Bones," "Hooray for Hollywood," "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," "Autumn Leaves," "The Glow Worm," "Satin Doll," "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," "That Old Black Magic," "I Want to Be Around (to Pick Up the Pieces), "Jeepers, Creepers" and...oh, forget it, that's enough.
If you want to know about Li'l Abner, I defer completely on the subject to the leading authority, Mark Evanier. When the Los Angeles Reprise organization put on a revival of a show a few years ago, Mark moderated a couple pre-show panels on it, and it was a master class. He knows the inside and out of the show in the smallest detail, as his voluminous, scholarly pieces on the Broadway production and the Hollywood movie version prove eminently.
All that leaves is Stubby Kaye as 'Marryin' Sam' singing "Julibilation T. Corpone," about the most infarmously incompetent military officer the Confederacy ever knew.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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