Little Orphan Annie is a daily American comic strip, created by Harold Gray (1894-1968), that first appeared on August 5, 1924. The title, suggested by an editor at the Chicago Tribune Syndicate, was inspired by James Whitcomb Riley’s popular 1885 poem “Little Orphant Annie” which begins:
Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay, An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away.
Beginning when she was ten years old, Chicago actress Shirley Bell Cole (1920-2010) starred on radio’s Little Orphan Annie from 1930 to 1940. From 1931 to 1933, the radio show had two different casts, one in Chicago and one in San Francisco, daily performing the same scripts, many written by Ferrin Fraser. Floy Hughes portrayed Annie in the West Coast version.
Little Orphan Annie began in 1930 in Chicago on WGN (720), and on April 6, 1931, with Ovaltine as the sponsor, the 15-minute series graduated to the Blue Network. Airing six days a week at 5:45 pm, it was the first late-afternoon children’s radio serial, and as such, it created a sensation with its youthful listeners, continuing until October 30, 1936.