Friday, October 18, 2013

Little Orphan Annie a great comic strip figure by Harold Gray based on the poem of James Whitcomb Riley. The Riley recording sessions and what the end result was.

Today the image of Little Orphan Annie is as well know to us all as our own names. It was the creation of Harold Gray. He made the cartoon character of Little Orphan Annie. The original story is often forgotten. It was written by the Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley. The original title of the poem was Little Orphant Annie. However through some mistyping it came out as we know it today. James Witcomb Riley recorded most of his major poems in 1912, including Annie. He was one of the few poets of the that time to do so. More on that later.

Harold Grey (1894-1968)
Various pieces of Little Orphan Annie Memorabilia. This comic strip first appeared on Aug 3, 1924.

One of the many early cartoons of Annie.

The slight typo in the name changed the spelling but not the idea. Riley by the time he was to make the recordings was in ill health. Attempts had been made to make recordings in 1911. He had suffered from a stroke and his ability to project his voice was greatly compromised. However the Victor Talking Machine Company recording Sooy and his team were able to make recordings of the weakened old man. Thus the reason the records are quite soft was due to this problem. They also were not made in a studio, but in the poets home.

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) Below a copy of his original recording of the poem from around 1912

by: James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)
      To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
      The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
      The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.
      ITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
      An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
      An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
      An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
      An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
      We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
      A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
      An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
      Ef you
      Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
      An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
      His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
      An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
      An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
      An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
      But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
      An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
      Ef you
      An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
      An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
      An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
      She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
      An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
      They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
      An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
      An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
      Ef you
      An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
      An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
      An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
      An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
      You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
      An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
      An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
      Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
      Ef you

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