Sunday, August 30, 2009

Video: Al Capp's Evil-Eye Fleegle

Here's a cameo by Evil-Eye Fleegle, a character from Al Capp's Li'l Abner, in the 1950 US Armed Forces Special Weapons Project training film Self Preservation In An Atomic Attack (1950).

The entire movie, which runs just under 18 minutes, is at the Internet Archive.

Who was Evil-Eye Fleegle, a character so recognizable in 1950, but gone from popular memory today? Here's an explanation of the character and his "whammy" powers from Steve Krupp's Curio Shoppe (© Denis Kitchen):

EVIL-EYE FLEEGLE had a unique and terrifying skill. When he concentrated, destructive rays emitted from his eyeballs. An ordinary "whammy" could knock a grown man senseless. A "double whammy" could fell a skyscraper, leaving Evil-Eye exhausted. His dreaded "quadruple whammy" could melt a battleship but almost kill Fleegle himself. Unlike most regular characters in the strip, Evil-Eye Fleegle was not a native of Dogpatch. He was in fact from Brooklyn NY. In a memorable guest appearance on the Fearless Fosdick TV Show in 1952, Evil Eye's Brooklyn accent is unmistakable. There were even licensed plastic replicas of Evil Eye's face produced in the 1950s, to be worn like lapel pins. Battery operated, the wearer could pull a string and direct a small light bulb "whammy" at whomever he chose.
Fleegle made an appearance in a short-lived 1952 Fearless Fosdick TV show. ASIFA has a lot more on Fosdick (with tons of great art by Mr. Capp and his assistants). It was a puppet show:

In 1952, a puppet show based on Fearless Fosdick premiered on NBC on Sunday afternoons. Thirteen episodes were filmed featuring the Mary Chase marionettes. The TV show was presumed lost for decades, but vintage kinescopes have recently begun to resurface. According to publisher Denis Kitchen, there are currently efforts underway to release these exceedingly rare Fosdick episodes on a set of DVDs.

Above: a TV Guide cover story about the Fearless Fosdick puppet show, from the ASIFA site.


Nick Fechter said...

That old school animation brought me some good memories, thanks for sharing Mike :)

Unknown said...

He had only a single, double, and triple whammy. Only his mother could do the quadruple.