Thursday, June 16, 2016


                                                It’s a typical day
                                                In Dogpatch, USA
                                                Where typical folks
                                                Do things in a typical way…

The above is the beginning of the opening number for the musical Dogpatch, USA.  I’ll write a little more about the musical later, right now let’s talk about Dogpatch in its hey day and how it is now. 

In 1975 we took our first family vacation with a three year old in a backpack or on a leash (if you knew how fast that child was you would understand the leash for certain) and a six month old in an umbrella stroller we visited both Silver Dollar City, and Dogpatch USA.  Both have definitely changed since then.

While SDC has grown from being a historical town with artisans demonstrating old time crafts to a full-fledged amusement park with top name entertainers performing throughout the season Dogpatch met the opposite fate.

That is…until recently.  While it is not back on its feet as an amusement park, it is being renovated with hopes that it will be some day be a thriving artisan center  with the proper volunteers and backers.

My husband I were very excited to discover we could actually once again go down to the town where Al Capp’s famous comic strip characters came to life.  On Saturdays you can go on a self guided tour to see the improvements being made.

1975 Honey House

2016 Honey House being renovated

I contacted the owner ahead of time and asked if we might take the quadcopter in and video the place.  Not only could we, he would love for us to because there were a few areas they wanted an aerial view of themselves. 

The honeysuckle

 and wild flower scents

 filled the air as we drove from the current entrance gate to the infamous Kissing Rock

In a way it was sad to see all the disrepair that still exists, but there was also the glimmer of hope with the ongoing repairs, new roofs and fresh coats of paint that are slowly being done.  That particular weekend there were only a handful of volunteers mowing, and painting.  But you could see the love for the old park in their eyes. 

In 1975 and 2016

If you would like to volunteer to bring this park back to life contact them through the Dogpatch USAfacebook page.

Bud Pelsor, the owner gave us a brief tour of where he wanted the videos done by the quadcopter, if we could do it safely and then left us to snap photos and fly the copter over the park. 

The day was pleasant and all went well until we changed batteries on the quad.  Unknown to us there was a malfunction in the filming and we didn’t get half the filming done.  Unfortunately we didn’t discover it until we were back in Missouri at our camper. 

I immediately contacted one of the volunteers, through the Dogpatch facebook page and asked if we could return on Sunday to try it again.  The response was immediate “yes”.  We were thrilled.

We were blessed with a second nearly windless, dry, clear day to try it again.  We got some great aerial footage.

Afterwards we went to Bud’s and chatted with him awhile.  He’s a personable man, who is very interesting and easy to talk to.  His beautiful large wolf/dog hybrid laid peacefully nearby as we chatted and a few of the volunteers milled around.  Making copies of the video for themselves from the flash drive we had given Bud.

All in all it was a wonderful two days to bring back the memories of vacations past, and seeing the steps toward the future.

I want to thank not only Bud, but the volunteers that chatted with us and made certain we got all the footage needed including, but not exclusive to Eddie, Steve, George and Michael.

Now a little bit about Dogpatch, USA both the park and the musical and how they came to be.

In 1934 Al Capp (Alfred Gerald Caplin 1909-1979) developed the first comic strip based on southerners.  While today it would be considered hugely politically incorrect in its stereotyping and phrasing it was a huge success not only in the USA, but around the world.  It was satirical to say the least.  Previously all carton strips had been about northerners.  It’s funny he chose to develop characters from the south, especially since he was a northerner himself and knew little to nothing about the south. 

I remember more than once my father mentioning that much of the strip was cleverly hidden political satire.  It was the first comic he read every Sunday morning and always had a laugh at the goings on of the Yokums and others.  Want to know more about Al Capp? Wikipedia has a very long and informative article on him.

The inhabitants of Dogpatch became so popular a musical was performed on Broadway in 1956, with a film production using most of the same actors for the characters appearing in 1959.

The opening number I mentioned previously not only pokes fun at the way of life of the inhabitants of Dogpatch USA it introduces the main characters.

It's A Typical Day lyrics

Soloists: It's a typical day
In Dogpatch, USA.
Where typical folks
Do things in a typical way.
First we rubs the sleep from our eyes,
Get's our grub, and shoos 'way the flies.
We spend what's negotiable,
Then we gets sociable,
Sittin' around swappin' lies!
And then we drops by to collect unemployment pay!

All: Which leads us to say it's a typical day
In Dogpatch, USA!

Lonesome Polecat: Lonsome Polecat, Indian Brave!
Hairless Joe: Hairless Joe, me needum a shave!
Both: We livin' an' sleepin' n' doin' housekeepin' in big subterranian cave!
While Kickapoo Joy Juice we makeum is heap "grade A!"

Skraggs: Take us boys what's known as the Skraggs,
Mammy said she had us as gags!
Can't git that depressin' an' homely unlessin' ya comes from a long line o' hags!
There ain't any widders or orphans we won't betray!

Moonbeam: Howdy boys, I'm Moonbeam McSwine,
Sleepin' out with the pigs is my line.
The fellas admire me,
But they don't squire me
Unless the weather is fine!
But I does allright when the wind blows the other way!

All: Which leads us to say it's a typical day, in Dogpatch, USA...It's a typical day
(echo: it's a typical day) in Dogpatch, USA! Where typical folks: echo: typical folks)
Does things in a typical way!

Marryin' Sam: You're no friend to Marryin' Sam,
If your name is Sir or Madame.
But if you're a bachelor,
Pack up yer satchel or I'll have you pushin' a pram!
For fifteen cents extra I furnish the bride's bouquet!

All: Which leads us to say it's a typical day, in Dogpatch, US...

Earthquake: Step aside for Earthquake McGoon!
Bustin' out all over like June!
I stands on the corner,
Enormous n' ornery,
Makin' the fairer sex swoon!
Spoken: My secret desire is to tangle with Daisy Mae!

Daisy Mae:Like he said, my name's Daisy Mae!
Cuz my ma, she planned it that way.
My one aim in life is to be a good wife,
And marry Li'l Abner someday!

All: She's practicin' up chasin' gophers an' antelopes!
She ain't never caught Li'l Abner, but she's got hopes!

Pappy: Mammy here's sassiety's queen,
And she heads the local machine.
Mammy: I'se sweet but I'se mystical,
And pugilistical,
Matter of fact the champeen!
Both: Li'l Abner we has both learned,
Still don't know how money gets earned.
His heart is the tenderest,
But neuter-genderest,
Far as young gals is concerned!
Abner: I gets purty tired of runnin' from Daisy Mae!

All: Which leads us to say it's a typical day, in Dogpatch, USA!!!!
TCM (Turner Classic Movies) now owns the rights to the movie and clips from it can be viewed here.

More info on the history of Dogpatch USA can be found on Wikiedia

Based on the popularity of the main characters they were soon appearing as “spokes persons” for various products such as Cream of Wheat.  As well as mascots for our military.

In 1968 the town of Dogpatch, formerly Marble Falls opened as an amusement park.  It was an immediate success, but a series of problems eventually lead to its demise as an amusement park in 1993.  

ABC did yet another version of Li’l Abner in 1971, this time it was the modern world coming to Dogpatch.
My family visited Dogpatch in 1975 and again in 1978.  Both our children enjoyed it immensely.  It is sad to see all the things that made the park so special either gone or deteriorated, but then Bud and his crew of volunteers are working hard to breathe life back into what was once a booming enterprise.
I hope you enjoy the photos and the video.

Jan who enjoyed the adventure. 

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