Arkansas July 19, 2015
11 Most Memorable Fictional Characters From Arkansas
These fictional characters from movies, television, and radio shows all have one thing in common despite their vastly different genres – they’re all from Arkansas! From 1930s bumpkin radio stars to 21st century zombie survivalists, all of these characters can claim the Natural State as their home.
11. Caesar Martinez of "The Walking Dead"
This Arkansas-based character, a gym instructor, was written as a survivor of the outbreak during the third and fourth seasons of AMC Network's hit television series The Walking Dead.
10. Mr. Garrison of "South Park"
The animated, eccentric, and flamboyant South Park schoolteacher was claimed to be an Arkansas native in the Season 3 episode "The Brown Noise".
9. Daisy Mae Yokum of "Lil' Abner"
One of many of the colorful cast of characters in Al Capp's fictional world of Dogpatch (debatable on its Arkansas, Tennessee, or Kentucky geographical location), Daisy Mae was an example of the comic's appeal to the sensuality of the non-stereotypical girl of the Ozarks.
8. The Arkansas Traveler as played by Bob Burns
The stage persona of Arkansas-based comedian Bob Burns was a self-effacing, rustic bumpkin with amusing stories about "the kinfolks" back home in Van Buren, Arkansas. The Arkansas Traveler enjoyed a lengthy reign as a famed radio character in the 1930s and 40s.
7. Lum & Abner's Radio Show
These characters were based on life in the small town of Waters, Arkansas, near where local comedians Chester Lauck and Norris Goff grew up. The comic duo's teaming as "Lum & Abner" proved immensely popular via radio entertainment. In 1936, Waters changed its name to Pine Ridge after the show's fictional town.
6. Sadie Hawkins of "Lil' Abner"
Another character in the Lil' Abner country-fried universe, Sadie Hawkins's passionately aggressive Ozark mountain girl character translated to what are now referred to as Sadie Hawkins Dances where girls take the formality of asking boys to dance.
5. The Clampetts of "The Beverly Hillbillies"
The beloved family from the classic TV show The Beverly Hillbillies had their fictitious beginnings in the Ozarks, somewhere near the Arkansas-Missouri border, before they took on life in California.
4. Lil' Abner
As stated earlier, the fictional town of Dogpatch was described, and once mapped, in the Arkansas Ozarks region (hence the eventual location of now-defunct theme park Dogpatch USA in Marble Falls), and Al Capp's strapping, corn-fed country-boy protagonist confused comic readers all throughout the 1930s until the 50s with his strange dialect & his family's quirky country ways.
3. Doyle Hargreaves of "Sling Blade"
Doyle is a fictional character from "Sling Blade", but you may be surprised to find many an Arkansan who's perhaps a little ashamed to claim they might know someone as bullying and cruel like "that Doyle".
2. Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes of "A Face in the Crowd"
Elia Kazan's classic film on the study of the rise and downfall of an Arkansas radio star featured the late, great Andy Griffith in the role of Rhodes, a loud and spirited Arkansan who took his brash sense of humor on the road and made it into a national brand.
1. Karl Childers of "Sling Blade"
It's been nearly 20 years since the world has been introduced to the unsettling yet quirky personality that Billy Bob Thornton portrayed in "Sling Blade" as Karl Childers, the memorable Arkansan who was a former mental patient and enjoyed a good meal of french fried potatoes.
It’s a little funny to think that all of these Arkansas-based characters, and the diverse genres they cover, still have one thing in common – the characters all have a distinctive way of talking that lets you know they’re a Natural State native!