Little Orphan Annie in the newsroom

Popular radio series characters of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s often visited or were visited by newspaper reporters and editors. Little Orphan Annie, decades before her Broadway debut, paid a visit to a local editor on the occasion of her birthday in 1935.

Of course a community’s outpouring of affection for the spunky orphan would be worth a story — even if her birthday present from Daddy Warbucks wasn’t a thinly veiled cue to hawk birthstone rings –as well as Ovaltine– to the kiddies back home.

The birthday party story spans four days in this collection at the Internet archive:
https://archive.org/details/LittleOrphanAnnie1
(The single episode player on this page is the second 15 minute segment in the storyline.)

While it’s not as adventurous a view of a journalism career as young listeners got from Superman or The Green Hornet, this group of episodes with Annie’s local weekly editor did give kids a hint of an idealized role of the newspaper in the community. In this case, the friendly editor brings together Annie and a businessman who needs her help — among other things, to keep paying his bill for newspaper ads! The editor’s conversation with Annie explains a bit about newspaper economics…

“That’s what I usually do after the paper comes out — spend the next couple of days collecting for the advertising.” — Mr. Caslon, the editor

And, of course, Annie herself was a child of the newspapers — a hit radio serial (1930-42) with millions of listeners, based on a hit newspaper comic strip (1924-2010). See more of Annie’s history at Wikipedia.

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Note: This is my first attempt posting an item here using the WordPress iPad app. I will be back to edit it and add additional links.

About Bob Stepno

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.
This entry was posted in 1930s, adventure, children, comics, editors, local news. Bookmark the permalink.

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