For the sequel see Little Orphan Annie (1932 Sequel)
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Little Orphan Annie is a comic made by Harold Gray.
The story opens in a dreary, Dickensian orphanage where Annie is routinely abused by the cold, sarcastic matron, named Miss Asthma/Agatha (later replaced by an equally mean woman named Miss Treat [a play on the word, "mistreat"]).
One day, the wealthy but mean-spirited Mrs. Warbucks takes Annie into her home "on trial." She makes it clear that she does not like her, and tries to send her back to "the Home", but one of her society friends catches her in the act, and she immediately changes her mind, to her disgust.
Her husband Oliver, who returned from a business trip, develops an instant paternal affection for Annie and instructs her to address him as "Daddy." Originally, the Warbucks had a dog named One-Lung, who liked Annie. Their household staff also takes to Annie and they like her.
However, the staff despises Mrs. Warbucks, the daughter of a nouveau riche plumber's assistant. Cold-hearted Mrs. Warbucks sends Annie back to "the Home" numerous times, and the staff hates her for that. "Daddy" (Oliver) keeps thinking of her as his "daughter". Mrs. Warbucks often argues with Oliver over how much he "mortifies her when company comes" and his affection for Annie. A very status-conscious woman, she feels that Oliver and Annie are ruining her socially. However, Oliver usually is able to put her in her place, especially when she criticizes Annie.
In a series of strips from 1926, (copyright, 1926, Cupples & Leon Company, New York; reprinted in book form as Little Orphan Annie and Little Orphan Annie in Cosmic City, 1974, Dover Publications, New York) the snobbish Mrs. Warbucks, returning from a trip to Paris (or as Annie and Oliver call it, "Eu-Rup"), brings home a snobby little boy (who has the same facial features and snobby demeanor as Mrs. Warbucks) named Selby Adelbert Piffleberry. His family was called the Herring Piffleberrys, ostensibly a wealthy European family.
Annie brought her a bouquet of flowers, but her arch-enemy, appalled that she was back in the house after she spitefully sent her back to the "home" the last time, insulted her, mocked her peace offering, and then flung the flowers to the floor in scorn, calling them "cheap weeds". She and Selby walk off haughtily, leaving Annie in tears and Oliver furious at their cruel and vicious behavior.
Later on, Selby would try the daisy routine on Mrs. Warbucks, but she (or perhaps another servant, it was never specified) would spank him because a bee flew out of the flowers and stung her on the nose. For this, Annie laughed at him.
Intent (and hell-bent) on making Annie's life miserable and relishing the opportunity to abuse her once again, in spite of her husband's vehement objections towards it; she blatantly shows her favoritism towards Selby by giving him Annie's old room (demanding viciously that the room be fumigated beforehand) and spiriting the girl to some room in the rear part of the house. While Annie wasn't too upset about being moved, accepting the situation cheerfully as she usually seems to do; Susanne, the maid, was angered that Annie had been moved.
It was clear that among the servants, feeling against Mrs. Warbucks ran high and public opinion was on the side of Annie and Oliver. Earlier on, the butler and the chauffeur voice their displeasure about Mrs. Warbucks and her terrible abuse of Annie, with the latter saying "Commoner nothin'! He (Warbucks) is a prince, see?! But wot a wife! If she were mine, I would bend a wrench over her nut!"
Selby tries to pass himself off as a classy and polished young man, considered by Mrs. Warbucks as a genius with a talent for the piano. She also thinks that he is absolutely perfect, and is one of those who wants everything just so.
His playing and singing annoys Mr. Warbucks to no end, and he throws the book he is reading down in frustration. Warbucks is clearly not fooled by Selby's so-called "manners". Annie also isn't fooled by him (as was proven when she tripped him and he fell on his face, after he snobbishly insulted her). The staff isn't fooled by him either, as it turns out, when Egbert, the Warbucks' butler, lets fly with his anger about the aggravating interloper driving him mad.
In fact, Annie refers to Selby as S-A-P, his initials, which she used as an insult (she called him S-A-P at his formal dinner to Mr. Warbucks' amusement and Mrs. Warbucks' dismay). She also knows full well the hatred that Mrs. Warbucks has always had for her.
With that in mind, Selby declares war against Annie. He begins this by targeting Sandy by wrapping him in barbed wire and tying a tin can on his tail, knowing full well that action would infuriate Annie, who is quite devoted to her dog.
Annie cleaned up and fixed her pet's wounds, and then, vowing vengeance against the snobby brat for injuring her pet, she put Oil of Tar in his hair tonic; mixed itching powder in with his talcum powder; and poured a half bottle of ink into his shower bath. This left Selby itching and dirty and angry.
This also allows for Mrs. Warbucks to encourage Selby to thrash Annie, believing that Children should be able to settle disputes in their own way. In her case, she was hopeful that her favorite would destroy their mutual enemy. Warbucks, to give his girl an edge, teaches her some boxing moves he learned when he was younger and was stationed in Port Said.
The shower incident leads to him attempting to thrash her with a riding crop, his weapon of choice (he tried to use the same crop on Sandy, but he failed). She whirls on him and punches him squarely in the face following up with the left that Warbucks taught her.
Then, while the gleeful billionaire cheers her on, she bangs his face and head against the floor saying that she would stop only when he hollered "Enough" (which he does after a time) or until she gave out, (she taunted him by saying "An' I feel real strong yet, see?!"). This sends Mrs. Warbucks in, upset and hovering over Selby (she cries, "My DARLING!", which she also did, after Oliver threatened Selby with a thrashing).
Selby is injured pretty badly, and while he is in his bed, Mrs. Warbucks screams at and demands that Oliver have more sympathy for Selby (during that time, he was gleefully whistling and humming the popular song, "Yessir, That's My Baby" in honor of Annie who had beat him up). It is clear that Warbucks believed that Selby brought what had happened to him on himself and that he got exactly as he deserved.
Annie feels guilty for injuring him as badly as she did, however. She attempts to apologize to him, but Selby calls her a vermin and rebuffs her apology. She apologizes just the same, but she also said that she was sorry that it was stopped before she knocked his head clear off.
He was revealed to be an advance scout (a flunky, really) who was working for a conniving businessman named Count De Tour, who had his eyes on the Warbucks' fortune. Warbucks had De Tour's group blocked in South America over some businesses of.
It would later be revealed that he was the younger (and less worthy; the black sheep) brother of the true count, who was a very nice guy. The real Count had mysteriously disappeared, an act supposedly engineered (but could not be proven) by his nastier brother, so that he could become the count. With his brother's disappearance, he claimed everything.
The fraudulent Count maneuvers his way into the house by telling Mrs. Warbucks, whom he met while she was in Europe, what she wants to hear, pouring it on saying that she had charm and in any capital of Europe, she would have been queen; with the ultimate intent of stealing Warbucks' fortune. He tries to achieve this aim by playing cards with Warbucks and cheating (using the cold-deck method). He and Annie team up to stop the cheating.
At one point, the malefactor even has his flunkies try to murder Warbucks with an ambush attack, but with Annie and Sandy's timely help, they would rout the would-be killers.
Proving that he would stoop to any lengths to make Warbucks and Annie look bad, the villain also tries to frame the orphan for theft by taking Mrs. Warbucks' diamonds and hiding them in Annie's dressing table drawer. However, Annie puts the skids on the scheme by hiding the purloined jewelry under the Count's mattress. Annie then explains what happened.
Much later, de Tour stomps on Annie's dog, Sandy's tail. And as such, the dog bites him on the leg.
This leads Mrs. Warbucks to seek revenge against Annie by ordering two of the house's footmen to kill Sandy by placing him in a bag and then taking him out and shooting him. (She did this while her husband was out of town) Mrs. Warbucks tries to silence Annie, ordering her back to bed, while the two footmen, who are very upset over what is going on, attempt to carry out the orders of their heartless mistress.
However, Warbucks comes in unexpectedly (he returned from his trip ahead of time) and puts a stop to the despicable scheme. He angrily scolds Mrs. Warbucks, who feebly attempts to justify her vicious orders by saying that it was a miracle that the Count did not die of poison (Warbucks contradicts her by saying it was a miracle that SANDY didn't die of poison). He then summarily fires the footmen who were ordered to kill the dog on the spot.
This leads to Annie scaring Mrs. Warbucks with a Halloween pumpkin on a stick in retaliation for the viciousness she has pulled against her pet.
By this time, Warbucks has had more than enough of de Tour, and had gotten wise to his conniving. He then pulls him into the sitting room and proceeds to confront him about his crimes, his taking over his brother's identity and his attempts to have him robbed and killed. He then tells him to prepare to leave, but not take too much time about doing so.
This makes Mrs. Warbucks extremely livid and she would naturally lash out at Annie. Berating her about the count and Warbucks falling out, she throws a lamp at her in rage (she was infuriated that she and de Tour want Annie sent back to the "home", where the two villains believe she belongs, and Oliver nixing that suggestion wrathfully).
Undaunted, and not caring that he is losing against Oliver (whom he had, to his peril, totally and completely underestimated his intelligence), de Tour again tries to goad Warbucks into a fight by slapping him in the face in preparation for a duel. Which was de Tour's biggest mistake.
Warbucks then gives him a "duel", with Annie cheering him on, by summarily knocking the false count into the Grandfather Clock, yelling "Slap me on th' jaw, will yuh?! Duel is it?! I'll give yuh all th' duel you want right now! How d'ye like it?!"
When the Count, much the worse for wear after the so-called "duel", in which Oliver clearly won, called him "a savage. a lout, a yokel and a buffoon", Annie, who was just as angry at de Tour as Warbucks was, defends him by kicking the pseudo-Count in the shin.
The furious Count de Tour threatens to leave the "accursed house and this accursed country" in a fury (Selby had already been removed from the scene earlier on, with no explanation of what had happened to him. It was presumed that he had been sent back to Europe after this scheme failed so miserably).
This throws Mrs. Warbucks into a huge temper tantrum, ranting and raving about her dreams and hopes of being in the Four Hundred and being in the very tip-top of Society (where she has always aspired and wanted to be, but could not due to Oliver and Annie) were dashed after the Count was humiliated by Annie and Oliver.
Oliver had finally told her that he wasn't a real count, but she didn't care (it was clear she never cared about him) and thusly didn't believe her husband's words, believing that he had been called "Count" in Paris, that MADE him the Count, as far as she was concerned.
So furious is she that she cannot see her dreams fulfilled, that she trashes the room she is in. She also plans to leave Oliver because of her irrational hatred of Annie.
This sets Mr. and Mrs. Warbucks to arguing over Annie once again. This makes the orphan feel very guilty about what happened, and in order to keep the peace and to prevent Mrs. Warbucks from leaving Oliver, Annie sadly writes Oliver a letter and she and Sandy both leave the house.
A worried Warbucks finds her letter and determinedly goes out to try to find his "daughter", after he berates Count de Tour (who doesn't leave after all) and his wife over their cruelty; their abuse and their villainy towards Annie.
When the false Count tries to step in and stop him from searching for Annie, this finally makes Warbucks lose what is left of his patience with both his wife and the interloping con-artist.
Warbucks angrily kicks him into a vase (leaving an imprint of his shoe on his backside) while berating him again for his brazen interfering, and he storms out the door, smashing the windows. He vows that when he and Annie returned, there would be some major changes made, and he made sure his nasty wife knew that loud and clear.
After what seemed to be a fruitless search for many days, he would eventually find her in the snow; and after a good meal at a restaurant he knew, they go and pay a visit to their old friends, the Silos, where they would celebrate Thanksgiving.
Main Article Annie (1928 film)
In 1928 the film Annie was adopted as a film.
Main Article Annie: A Royal Adventure!
In 1995 a sequel was adopted to the one mentioned above. Main Article Disney adoption
In 1999 a film was adopted made by Disney.
Main Article Annie 2014 film
In 2014 another film was adopted. This time Annie has access to technology and lives in today's world.
- All the characters now appears as minor characters in a detective fiction comic called Dick Tracy.