Cast & Crew
After Daddy Warbucks, an inventor, loses his money in the 1929 stock market crash, he is forced to abandon his loquacious adopted daughter Annie and seek his fortune gold mining in the West. Soon after Daddy's departure, Annie and her dog Sandy befriend the recently orphaned Mickey as he sits crying behind a gate. Annie comforts Mickey, who is about to be taken to the Helping Hands Orphanage, and explains with authority the whys and wherefores of orphan life. Although she assures him that he will love the orphanage, Mickey, who longs for grandmothers, face washings and spinach, follows her down the street and nearly gets caught for stealing apples. To keep him out of trouble, Annie takes Mickey home with her but finds feeding and caring for a small, demanding boy is not easy. Consequently, the next morning she delivers Mickey to the orphanage, where Dr. Griffiths treats Mickey's overstuffed stomach with castor oil and convinces Annie to move to the orphanage during Daddy Warbucks' absence. Soon after, elderly, wealthy Jenny Stewart arrives at Helping Hands in search of a child. To help Mickey be chosen by the contrary, stubborn old woman, Annie loudly accuses him of being a naughty boy unworthy of adoption. Jenny falls for the trick and requests Mickey, but Annie is scorned by the little boy, who cannot understand his friend's tactics. Annie is soon overcome by loneliness and, with Sandy in tow, sneaks to Jenny's mansion and finally convinces Mickey to forgive her. To amuse Mickey, Annie then does impersonations of the Marx Brothers in Horsefeathers and of Jenny, who is entertaining dinner guests in another part of the house. Eventually, Annie and Sandy are caught and thrown out by a furious Jenny. While leaning out of a second-floor window, Mickey cries for Annie to be returned and accidentally falls to the ground. As Mickey struggles for his life, Annie and Jenny make peace and become friends. Several months later, at a Christmas party thrown by Jenny and a recuperated Mickey, Annie and Daddy Warbucks, dressed as Santa Claus, are reunited.
D. A. Cutler
David O. Selznick
The comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" was inspired by the poem "Little Orphant Annie" by James Whitcomb Riley, published in The Little Orphant Annie Book (Indianapolis, 1908). Animation is used during a scene in which "Mickey" dreams that various objects in "Daddy Warbucks'" apartment transform themselves into living creatures. RKO borrowed May Robson from M-G-M for the production. According to a Film Daily news item, Eric Linden was cast in the picture, but his appearance in the final film is doubtful. In 1919, William Selig produced and directed Little Orphant Annie, which was based on the Whitcomb poem and starred Colleen Moore (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.2546). In 1938, Colonial produced another version of Little Orphan Annie (see listing below), and in 1982, John Huston directed Aileen Quinn and Albert Finney in Columbia Picture's Annie, a screen adaptation of the 1977 Broadway musical of the same name, which also was inspired by the comic strip.