The stage production of "Lil Abner" opened at the St. James Theater in New York on November 15, 1956 and ran for 693 performances. Edith (Edie) Adams won the 1957 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actress in a Musical for "Li'l Abner" for portraying Daisy Mae. Stubby Kaye, Julie Newmar, Robert Karl and Hope Holiday recreated their stage roles in the movie version.
The success of Li'l Abner (1959) brought about the inspiration for the popular TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (1962-'71) A then unknown Donna Douglas appeared briefly in this film (about a half hour in) with the lines: "Yeah Mammy, we wants to get citified... we wants to broaden our horizons" She of course went on to play the role of Elly May Clampett, a character modelled in part after L'il Abner's Daisy Mae. The 'Dogpatch' influences also extended to another Beverly Hillbilly character... Clampett Matriarch Daisy 'Granny' Moses was even closer to Mammy Yokum. Her spunkiness and potion making were right out of Dogpatch.
Several of the Dogpatch wives send their husbands off to Washington then, later, take part in the Sadie Hawkins' Day race and capture bachelors. This is a direct holdover from the stage show where there were a limited number of actors available.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Jerry Lewis's cameo was shot with the provision that Paramount would not use his name when marketing the film. This provision was followed but his likeness was used in one of the most prominent marketing stills for the film.