Adams, Edie. (1927–2008) & Palmer, Peter. (b. 1931) [Mercer, Johny. (1909–1976)]
"Li'l Abner" - Signed Program
Rare signed program from a 1956 out-of-town tryout of the musical comedy Li'l Abner at the Shubert Theatre in Boston. The title page is signed by much of the cast, including Peter Palmer, who played Abner in both the stage and film versions of the show, and Edie Adams, who would go on to win a Tony for her performance as Daisy Mae. 16 pp. In very fine condition, 6 x 9 inches (15.2 x 22.9 cm.).
Al Capp, creator of the popular comic strip Li'l Abner, spent ten years developing his hit comic strip into a musical. Numerous creative teams came and went, including Arnold Horwitt and Josh Logan, Arthur Schwartz and Alan Jay Lerner, and even Rodgers & Hammerstein—albeit in that case as producers rather than writers. Ultimately Capp signed a deal with Norman Panama, Melvin Frank, Gene De Paul, and Johnny Mercer in 1955. The producers auditioned over 400 actors for the title role before casting Peter Palmer, an unknown singer Panama and Frank had seen on The Ed Sullivan Show. Edie Adams was offered the part of Daisy Mae fresh off her star-making turn as Eileen in 1953's Wonderful Town. Li'l Abner opened at the St. James Theatre on November 15, 1956, and was a moderate success. A film version from Paramount Pictures followed in 1959.
From the collection of Paul McMahon, a critic, photographer and artist who worked for more than 13 years touring with Marlene Dietrich as the icon’s stage manager, announcer, dresser, secretary and escort, and later spent 25 years as an arts and entertainment reviewer and photographer with Gay Community News, Esplanade, Tommy’s Connection, The Mirror, Bay Windows and other publications.