After a week of confinement from the freezing weather, the sun thawed things this weekend and allowed us to venture out and see a couple of our grandkids in great performances. One was a high school production of Li’l Abner and the other was the musical Annie by the Temple Civic Theater. The shows were terrific. I especially liked them because they were based on a couple of my favorite comic book characters.
The comics were my favorite reading material as a kid. My favorites were Superman, Batman and Captain Marvel, but I read them all including; Dick Tracy, Orphan Annie and Li’l Abner. I didn’t appreciate Li’l Abner and Al Capp, the guy who created it, until I was older. Capp was a master of satire and poked fun at most everything, especially the government. Capp’s cartoon strip was frequently banned and today he would really be considered politically incorrect. He offended a lot of folks, but he was very funny. Capp created some great characters like; Marryin' Sam, Hairless Joe, Lonesome Polecat, Evil-Eye Fleegle, General Bullmoose, Lena the Hyena, Senator Jack S. Phogbound, Scraggs, Washable Jones, Nightmare Alice, Earthquake McGoon, and a host of others. Most notably were the beautiful, full-figured women like Daisy Mae, Wolf Gal, Stupefyin' Jones and Moonbeam McSwine. All these characters lived in the worthless, backwoods town of Dogpatch. Most of these characters were in the musical production, and brought back some great memories.
Then, to make the weekend perfect we saw my youngest granddaughter play one of the orphans in Annie. That one also took me back to my childhood. There they were on stage, Annie, Daddy Warbuck’s and the dog Sandy. Missing was one of my favorites, Punjab the giant. The comic strip also had political commentary. In the stage production, I was really taken back to my childhood reading when Annie said, ”Leapin Lizards.” That was one of her favorite expressions and one I loved.
Unfortunately, the comics are disappearing along with the newspapers. I was lucky to live in the Golden Age of the comics, otherwise I may not have learned to read. At least reading was more fun and the comics were a lot more exciting that Dick and Jane. Some of the comics are still okay, but they have become very anemic in most papers. I used to trade them and probably had some valuable jewels. Not long ago, the first Superman comic published in the 30s sold for a million dollars. I probably had that one, but let it go like many other investments through the years.
Anyway, it was good to get off the porch for a little while this weekend and see these great musicals based on the comics that also included my grandkids in the cast. Even the porch can get confining in this cold weather, but I would get off the porch in any weather for a repeat of this