Archive for Thursday, October 12, 2006

Little Orphan Annie

October 12, 2006

With the upcoming production of "Annie" at the Eisenhower Ridge Theater beginning on Saturday, I started remembering the comic strip and radio show "Little Orphan Annie" that I read and listened to as a kid.

This was in the early 1930s, and I was a member of the Little Orphan Annie Secret Society. I sent for the secret decoder and Orphan Annie ring. We were all fascinated by radio shows then, and I never missed an episode. We got to use our own imagination then about what things looked like and what the people looked like.

Annie often traveled to exotic locations, battling gangsters, pirates and smugglers, while receiving occasional assistance from a rich businessman, Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks. Along with Annie's dog, Sandy, they lived in a fictional town called Simmons Corners with Mr. and Mrs. Silo.

Annie's favorite saying was "Leapin' lizards," and Sandy barked "Arf" to everything she said. Annie attributed her lasting youthfulness to the fact that she was born on leap day, Feb. 29, so she only aged one year in appearance for every four years that passed.

Harold Gray, of Chicago, drew the original comic strip in 1924. Originally it was Little Orphan Otto, but because there were so many little boy heroes, Gray changed the gender and the name. The strip was entertaining as well as political. The original name came from a poem by James Whitcomb Riley.

The first "Annie" musical on Broadway started in April 1977 and ran through Jan. 2, 1983. It was made into movies several times, as well as being on the stage hundreds of times.

This production of "Annie" is a benefit for the Kansas Children's Service League. This organization promotes awareness of the need to adopt older children.

Lexie Hofer, a very energetic and talented young lady who lives in rural Lansing, plays the leading character, Annie.

The dates are Oct. 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28 with matinees Oct. 15 and 22 at the Eisenhower Ridge Theater, Building 152. We plan to see the show and hope you do too.

P.S. See you at the Grove on Saturday.

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