Little Ideological Annie
How a cartoon gamine midwifed the graphic novel—and the modern conservative movement.
In the 1982 movie Annie, billion-aire munitions industrialist Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks arrives in Washington to meet the Roosevelts, whose calls he usually refuses to take. They want his help organizing the New Deal, which he thinks a preposterous scheme with no hope of success. But Warbucks goes for the sake of his ward, Annie—it’s her first chance to see the White House. A musical being a musical, all it takes to melt his heart is Annie’s singing of “Tomorrow,” that anthem of stagestruck preteen girls everywhere, with Franklin and Eleanor.
FDR was certainly on the mind of Little Orphan Annie’s creator, cartoonist Harold Gray, during the 1924–68 run of the strip. He despised FDR and let his comic’s estimated thirty million daily readers know it. Liberals attacked Gray, not only for his views but also for
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