Leaping lizards! Little Orphan Annie canceled!

Leaping lizards! Little Orphan Annie canceled!

Always wears a sunny smile,
Now, wouldn’t it be worthwhile,
If you could be
Like Little Orphan Annie?

Okay, she’s not as old as Betty White (seriously…Little Orphan Annie is two years younger), but she has been a major cultural force.

A streetwise orphan with an indomitable spirit, she first appeared in the comics on August 5, 1924.  In 1930, she began her radio run…she would be one of the stars of the first electronic mass medium.

1932 saw the first movie, and there would be another in 1938.

In 1977, Annie hit Broadway…and Tomorrow became one of the songs community theatre directors hated to hear (over and over again) at auditions.

The musical became a movie in 1982 (with Carol Burnett, Albert Finney, Tim Curry, Geoffrey Holder, and Bernadette Peters, among others). 

There was a major television adaptation in 1999, with Kathy Bates, Alan Cumming, and Kristen Chenoweth.

What has made the comic strip such rich material?

Certainly, there is Annie’s spirit.  She makes the most of what she has…and that ain’t much, to use the vernacular.  :)  She’s very independent…she will break the law, but she helps others.

She’s also hardly the only interesting character…those include:

  • Daddy Warbucks, Annie’s millionaire father figure
  • Sandy (her dog)
  • Punjab, a helper of Warbucks’ with supernatural powers
  • The Asp, another supernatural helper of Warbucks
  • Mr. Am…who has been alive for millions of years, and may even be God

The stories are also much harsher than you might think…and probably more philosophical.  Oh, Annie is probably like you think she is…but you might be surprised at some of the things that happen.

It has just been announced that the comic strip will have its last publication on June 13 of this year.  It’s been struggling for some time…but even cancellation won’t stop the little girl with the big frizzy red hair and pure white eyes.  She’ll live on in limitless school plays and movie reruns.

After all, the sun will come out…never mind. 😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

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