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In 1972, Martin Charnin bought the rights to the comic strip Little Orphan Annie. With Thomas Meehan and Charles Strouse, he created the Broadway musical Annie in 1977. After 2,377 performances, four national tours, and five Broadway Annies, the musical ended its run in 1983.
Eleven-year-old Annie has been living in an orphanage her whole life run by cruel Miss Hannigan. After unsuccessful escape attempts, Grace Farrell comes to take the child home to live two weeks with billionaire Oliver Warbucks during Christmas. The plucky orphan worms her way into the hearts of the staff and Mr. Warbucks and even the president of the United States! Even though Mr. Warbucks wants to adopt her, she is still looking for her real parents who left a locket with her when they dropped her off at the orphanage. Miss Hannigan's brother and his sleazy girlfriend pose as Annie's parents to gather the reward that Warbucks has offered to Annie's real parents.
In 1982, John Huston directed a film version of Annie, which was very different from the Broadway play in many details. Annie was played by Aileen Quinn. E.T. kept it from being the Epic Movie it was intended to be, but it wasn't a total bomb. This is largely due to the fact that it was an early VHS video store staple. A lot of '80s kids have the damn thing memorized.
In 1989, Charnin reunited the old team and they created a sequel to the play, Annie 2: Miss Hannigan's Revenge. Two name changes, tons of rewrites, and three Annies later, the play ended up off-Broadway as Annie Warbucks in 1993. You're probably hearing about it for the first time right here.
In 1995, a Made for TV Movie called Annie: A Royal Adventure! premiered on ABC. It is presumably a sequel to the 1982 film (at least that's how IMDb recognizes it), but it has none of the same cast and is not a musical (unless you count a single reprise of "Tomorrow" at the end). The film has a Sequel Goes Foreign plot in which Annie, Warbucks, and company travel to England with Joan Collins playing a Rich Bitch villainess. Features Emperor Palpatine as an Absent-Minded Professor.
1997 marked Annie's 20th anniversary on Broadway.
In 1999, ABC-Disney produced another TV movie version of Annie, which undid some changes the film made from the original play, but added some deviations of its own. It starred Alicia Morton.
In 2006, a Documentary film called Life After Tomorrow was released, revisiting many of the women who played orphans in the musicals.
The musical and its spin-offs include examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion or Adaptation Distillation: It depends on which version you're seeing.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Why on earth does the radio show have a ventriloquist act? Surely that's ridiculous. Well maybe, but that really happened.
- Artistic License History: FDR's disability was concealed from the public during his lifetime with a variety of tricks used to make him appear able-bodied at public appearanes. He would not have attended a large party in his now iconic wheelchair, as occurs at the end of Annie (or at least in both film versions).
- Award Bait Song: "TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-MAH-ROW!!!!!"
- The Brainless Beauty: Lily St. Regis
"I'm named for the hotel!"
- Enforced Plug: Spoofed when Annie and Warbucks go on a radio show to advertise for Annie's parents.
- Fiery Redhead: Annie.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Annie, and all her friends at the orphanage.
- Hail to the Thief: "We'd Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover"
- I Can Explain: Shortly after Annie's attempt to escape from Miss Hannigan's orphanage, a woman arrives and announces that she has been sent to talk to Miss Hannigan by the orphanage's board of directors. Miss Hannigan is in full self-justifying flight before the woman has a chance to explain that actually she's just come to arrange for one of the orphans to spend some time with Warbucks.
- Illegal Guardian: Rooster Hannigan and Lily St. Regis (or Miss Hannigan in the 1999 film) pretend to be Little Orphan Annie's "real parents" to scam reward money out of Daddy Warbucks.
- Ironic Echo: Miss Hannigan punishes any orphan she suspects of being dishonest: "What's the one thing I've taught you? Never tell a lie!" At the end, as Miss Hannigan is being carted away by the authorities, she pleads with Annie to witness that she's treated the orphans well; Annie's response is to apologize and remind her that there's one thing she's taught them...
- "I Want" Song: "Maybe"
- The Makeover: Annie's transformation from raggedy orphan to pretty little girl in "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here".
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: The recycling of Annies and orphans was usually matched with the onset of puberty.
- Only Known by Their Nickname:
- The orphans Pepper and Duffy, assuming those aren't their actual names.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: Her broken locket.
- The Pete Best: Kristin Vigard, we hardly knew ye...
- Plucky Girl: Annie.
"The sun'll come out tomorrow!"
- Ship Tease: Warbucks and Grace. (They get married at the end of the sequel.)
- That Reminds Me of a Song: Quite a few of the musical numbers, including "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile", where the orphans make a big number out of a radio toothpaste commercial.
- The Trap Parents: After Daddy Warbucks offers a reward for information about Annie's parents, they turn up to claim her and take her away; but it's not really her parents, just con artists trying for the reward.
- Also played with a bit in that Warbucks and company were aware of this trope and were rightfully suspicious of the many couples who showed up claiming to be Annie's parents. The con artists slipped through only because Miss Hannigan gave them confidential information about Annie.
- Villain Song: "Little Girls" and "Easy Street."
- Wealthy Ever After
- All-Star Cast
- Borrowed Catchphrase: Warbucks says "Leapin' lizards!" when he finds out Annie's "parents" were con-artists.
- British Stuffiness: Warbucks is initally stuffy in every version, but only in this version is he played by a British actor. The film explains that he was born in Liverpool.
- Driving a Desk: Back projection was still in vogue in 1982 and didn't look any more realistic than it did in the '30s.
- Heel Face Turn: Miss Hannigan, in only this version. To the confusion of many a kid viewer, she's rewarded when the romantic loose ends are tied up. In the stage musical and in the 1999 film, she never tries to save Annie and is sent to jail along with Rooster and Lily.
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: The baddies do this to the orphans who find out about their plot.
- Movie Bonus Song: Four of them; "Dumb Dog", "Let's Go to the Movies", "Sign", and "We Got Annie". None of them are included in the 1999 version.
- Product Placement: Parodied; when Daddy Warbucks goes on the radio, his message has had an advertisement put into it by the studio. He reads it without thinking about it, catches on, and snaps.
- Serendipity Writes the Plot: The setting was moved from Christmas to the Fourth of July because filming was scheduled for the summer.
- Stuffed Into a Trashcan: "All right, who's next?"
- That Reminds Me of a Song: "Let's Go To The Movies!" (which replaces "N.Y.C." from the musical)
- Would Hit a Girl: One of the boys Annie saves Sandy from attempts to punch her, but misses.
Examples specific to the sequel musical:
- Obstructive Bureaucrat and Tyrant Takes the Helm: Ms. Christmas/Commissioner Stark. Somehow Warbucks is powerless in the face of a figurehead/minor politician.
Examples specific to Annie: A Royal Adventure!
- Excited Show Title
- Made for TV Movie
- The Other Darrin: Everyone, naturally. It's supposed to be a sequel to the 1982 film, but none of the original cast returned. (Of course, the original kids would be too old, but none of the original adults returned either.)
- Remember the New Guy?: You remember Annie's best friend Hannah from the first movie, right?
- Sequel Gap: Came thirteen years after the 1982 film
- Sequel Goes Foreign: Annie goes to England!
- Sequel Non Entity: Grace is gone, with no explanation
- Unexpected Successor: Joan Collins wants to blow up Buckingham Palace in order to become this trope.
Examples specific to the 1999 movie:
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: "Miss Hannigan's gone forever!"
- Bad Bad Acting: Rooster and Miss Hannigan pretending to be Annie's parents slips into this when Warbucks gives them the check for $50,000.
- But He Sounds Handsome:
Miss Hannigan as Mrs. Mudge: And the very nice and very attractive lady at the orphanage said we'd find Annie here.
- Catch Phrase: In-universe, "I love you, Miss Hannigan" is forced onto the girls by Miss Hannigan.
- Conflict Killer: The film opens with Annie breaking up a fight between July and Pepper.
"Lay off July! If Hannigan wakes up, she'll get sore!"
- Denied Food as Punishment: Right after You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile:
Girl with glasses: What about our dinner?
Miss Hannigan: What about it?
Girl with glasses: You didn't give us any.
Miss Hannigan: 'Cause I knew you was gonna be bad tonight, so I punished you ahead of time. Now scatter!
- Dirty Coward: When Lily and Rooster are found out and Miss Hannigan is standing alone, she tries to pin the blame on Rooster.
"It was his idea. He made me do it. Annie, Annie, tell these people how good I've always been to ya, huh?"
- Dumb Blonde: Lily St. Regis, so freaking much.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Sandy goes into a barking frenzy whenever he sees the Mudges.
- Freudian Excuse: The lyrics of "Easy Street" imply that Miss Hannigan and Rooster learned their villainous ways from their mother.
I remember the way our sainted mother
Would sit and croon us a lullaby
She'd say, "Kids, there's a place that's like no other"
You gotta get there before you die
You don't get there by playing from the rule book
You stack the aces, you roll the dice
Mother dear, oh we know you're...down there listenin'
How can we follow your sweet advice
- Implied Death Threat: Downplayed.
Annie: (to Pepper after she makes fun of Annie's parents' note) Do you wanna sleep with your teeth inside your mouth or out?
- Ironic Echo: Miss Hannigan makes the orphan girls say "I love you, Miss Hannigan" all the time. Later, as she and Rooster are leaving the Warbucks mansion with Annie in tow, posing as her parents, the girls arrive at the door just in time to expose her true identity by shouting, "We love you, Miss Hannigan!"
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pepper. She beats up July for defending Molly, makes fun of Annie's note, and engages in a minor Kick the Dog moment when she tells Molly that "we ain't got mommies and daddies. And we ain't ever gonna have 'em. That's why we're called orphans," but on the other hand, she is happy for Annie along with the rest of the girls when the latter is allowed to go to Warbucks' home for Christmas, and assists the other orphans in foiling the villains' plot.
- Kids Are Cruel: Mostly averted, but the orphan girls do get a moment when they all laugh at Annie's note.
- Leitmotif: Pieces of "Maybe" and "Tomorrow" seem to serve as one for Annie through the film. Rooster and Lily are followed around by "Easy Street".
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: When the orphans are left in the care of Lily St. Regis, she plays poker with them and ends up owing them $479.39.
Lily: What?! Where am I gonna get that kind of loot?! ...Hey, why am I worryin'? I'll be rollin' in it once Rooster and Hannigan get back from Warbucks.
Molly: That's where Annie is!
- The girls proceed to force Lily to spill the beans, then trick her into going to the Warbucks mansion and demanding her share of the money from her cohorts.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Rooster. Subverted near the end when it's revealed his real name is Daniel.
- Politically-Correct History: Grace is played by a black actress (Audra McDonald) and her romance with Warbucks is left intact. He even proposes to her at the end.
- Remake Cameo: Andrea McArdle, the original Broadway Annie, appears as the star-to-be in "N.Y.C."
- Team Mom: Annie is this for the orphan girls, particularly regarding Molly, the youngest.