Li’l Abner and Dogpatch – A Pop Culture Mystery

Show of hands – who used to regularly read the Li’l Abner comic strip when it appeared in many newspapers until 1977? Go ahead, don’t be shy or embarrassed!  Who knows the  Li’l Abner comic strip well enough to give a detailed description of it to others? Who is old enough to at least know about the comic strip because of generational pop culture crossover (i.e. having an older relative tell you about it)?

Lastly, who ONLY knows about Li’l Abner because of the Dogpatch restaurant in Munising, MI?




Some “drive-by” shots of Dogpatch in Munising, MI.


Me? I fall into to the “generational pop culture crossover” category. My grandma was a fan of this comic strip. I also fall into the “I’ve been to the Dogpatch Restaurant in Munising, MI” category.

I would say the first time I visited this place, I was 9 years old – and yes, Grandma was with us. I looked like this:


My grandma is in the red, and my brother is next to her. We’re on the Pictured Rocks boat cruise, 1981.

The most recent time I paid a visit to Dogpatch – and actually ventured inside – was 2000, and I was with my husband. He was…terrified of the place. He decreed we would never go  in there again. It was a rainy day, we were just passing through – and I believe we just got beverages, no food. I had some coffee (which wasn’t that good, but I am kind of picky about coffee).

I’m not sad or disappointed about his “decree,” though I do tease him about it a bit!

Will the pop culture references invoked by Li’l Abner eventually go completely dead as the folks who remember reading the strips continue to die off? Their offspring (no spring chik’uns themselves) are also getting long in the tooth, as are their young’uns.

Sigh. It will be up to Wikipedia – and us remaining folks – to “explain” Li’l Abner to the young’uns! Or they’ll just have to pay a visit to Dogpatch!


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