Did you know that Annie originated right here in Chicago? In the suburbs, actually. Just a half hour away from the Paramount in Lombard. In 1924, a fellow named Harold Gray created Little Orphan Annie while living in Lombard and working as a cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune. Can you believe that back then he was only making $15 a week? Who knew Little Orphan Annie would become such a success. His cartoon eventually translated into radio, film and merchandise. Soon after, the creator of Little Orphan Annie could kiss his $15/week salary goodbye and say hello to being a millionaire.
While sketching the famous red-head, Harold Gray lived at 215 S. Stewart in Lombard but then moved after his Annie cartoon took off. In 1927, he bought a house for his parents at 119 N. Main Street and also lived there for a couple years before moving out east. Not only did Harold Gray include his political views in the popular cartoon but also references to Lombard and replicas of the Main Street house in his drawings.
The beautiful Main Street house, known as “The Little Orphan Annie Home,” still stands today and is part of the Lombard Historical Society. How cool that something so big happened so close to home. This exciting history tidbit comes just in time for our production of Annie at the Paramount Theatre. See for yourself how the Little Orphan Annie cartoon progressed into a hit Broadway musical. The show runs November 21 through December 30. We hope to see you and your family there.
Thank you to the Lombard Historical Society for bringing this unique piece of history to our attention.