Harold Gray's iconic 1924 comic strip, starring a good-hearted waif so wide-eyed she had no pupils but plenty of scruples, ran for 86 years. Annie's picaresque serials navigated through the Jazz Age, the Depression, and WWII, as well as around Gray's libertarian pro-capitalist/ anti-union biases. Still, she struck a general populist chord using her pluck and tenacity against stacked odds, becoming an ethical force in the class struggle that certainly exceeded Gray's personal purview.
The girl-most-unlikely-but-most-liked surprised everyone again with the 1977 smash Broadway musical, lit by the buoyant anthem, "Tomorrow". The 1982 movie adaption about Depression-era waifs could have been a timely rebuke to the Reagan recession and his repeals of the New Deal, but John Huston's genial but staid effort plays more like a conventional '60s cinerama musical compressed to television dimensions. Yet in hindsight it's a generally entertaining film, especially for kids, with name actors having fun, and some winks for the grown-ups along the way. Punjab and The Asp, from the comic strip, also appear to add a little range to a particularly peach production.