Tribune Media is ending Little Orphan Annie’s newspaper run after 85 years.
In the changing media landscape, however, Little Orphan Annie has run into adversity not even she could overcome. The sun will come out tomorrow, but the tomorrow after June 13 will be the first in generations to dawn without “Annie” appearing in a daily newspaper.
The final Sunday panel of the strip, once seen in hundreds of papers but now run by fewer than 20, will end with Daddy Warbucks uncertain over what happened to Annie in her latest run-in with the Butcher of the Balkans. And, leaping lizards, what about her dog, Sandy? Arf.
The cliffhanger is actually a show of faith that there’s still life in the old gal. At least that’s the view of Tribune Media Services, a division of Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co., which launched the strip during the Calvin Coolidge administration and profited mightily as it parlayed pop-icon status into an oft-performed hit musical, a hugely popular 1930s and ’40s radio series, movies and merchandise.
“Annie is definitely not dying,” said Steve Tippie, TMS’ vice president of licensing. She “will definitely have a life beyond this newspaper incarnation. ?The daily newspaper strip will go away. Now, that doesn’t mean that Annie won’t come back ? whether it’s (in) comic books, graphic novels, in print, electronic. It’s just too rich a vein (not) to mine.”