A Look Back at the Many Different Versions Of 'Annie' Through The Years

by Zach Seemayer 1:45 AM PST, November 05, 2014
Playing A Look Back at the Many Different Versions Of 'Annie' Through The Years

From a poem to a play to a number of high-profile films, Annie has been a very popular orphan. 

Columbia Pictures released a brand-new trailer for the upcoming musical comedy Annie, and in it we get a fun, lighthearted look at the world of orphans who are forced to be political pawns in order for a wealthy man to maintain his grasp on power and influence over the population. But, in a fun way, and also there's a lesson about love in there too.

However, this story goes back over 130 years through a long and complicated lineage of adaptation and interpretation in various forms of media. So let's take a look back at the history of Annie.

First it was a poem by James Whitcomp Riley called "Little Orphant Annie," written in 1885. Cartoonist Harold Gray then adapted the story into a daily newspaper comic strip called Little Orphan Annie. The cartoon ran from 1924 all the way until its cancellation in 2010.

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In 1930, the cartoon was adapted into a 15-minute radio program that ran for 12 years and had around 6 million listeners.

In 1930 and 1938, two different Little Orphan Annie films were created by different studios, adapting the recurring radio play into feature film format. Both films were poorly received by critics.

The story was then adapted into a Broadway musical of the same name in 1977, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, and was a smashing success.

In 1982, directorial legend John Huston adapted the Broadway musical version into a feature film simply titled Annie. The film starred Aileen Quinn as Annie, Albert Finney as Oliver Warbucks and Carol Burnett as Agatha, the manager of the orphanage.

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In 1995, director Ian Toynton made a low-budget sequel called Annie: A Royal Adventure! Despite being a sequel to a musical, A Royal Adventure has no songs.

In 1999, director Rob Marshall then did another adaptation of the Broadway play – and a semi-remake of the 1982 film – with his made-for-TV version of Annie starring Alicia Morton as Annie, Alias star Victor Garber as Daddy Warbucks and American Horror Story actress Kathy Bates as Agatha.

That brings us up to this incarnation of the beloved story of Annie, a lovable orphan who lives under the tyrannical rule of an abusive foster home caretaker.

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Quvenzhane Wallis, who became the youngest actress ever to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination in 2013, stars as Annie. Oscar winner Jamie Foxx stars as the wealthy man who saves Annie from her foster home, only now he's called William Stacks instead of Oliver Warbucks. Also, Cameron Diaz plays the foster home caretaker, but her name has been changed from Agatha Hannigan to Colleen Hannigan, for some reason.

It looks like this contemporary adaptation of the time honored story may be able to pull off the heart-string tugging moments found in the original musical, if only through the sheer talent of the cast.

Annie dances into theaters on December 19, just in time for Christmas.

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