Voice Of Little Oprhan Annie Remembered

Little Orphan Annie's voice is no more. Shirley Bell Cole, who voiced Annie in the popular radio show of the 1930s, died last month. She was 89.

(Soundbite of music)

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

This music is from an earlier time. It's the song that welcomed listeners to the Little Orphan Annie radio program during the 1930s.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man #1: (Singing) Who's the little chatterbox? The one with pretty auburn locks. Whom do you see? It's Little Orphan Annie.

SIEGEL: Little Orphan Annie, who of course was adopted by a millionaire she called Daddy Warbucks. Well, today we learned of the death of the woman who played Little Orphan Annie, Shirley Bell Cole. She died last month at age 89. In this episode from 1936, Annie and her friends are stuck on a jungle island and they're attempting to send a radio signal out to let Daddy Warbucks know where they are.

(Soundbite of radio program, "Little Orphan Annie")

Ms. Shirley Bell Cole (Actor): (As Annie) Leaping lizards, do you suppose this (unintelligible) is going to do anything for us? Here we've been working it for three days now. Do you suppose any sound we're sending is getting anywhere?

Unidentified Man #2: (As Character). I hope so, Annie. I can't guarantee it.

SIEGEL: Well, the sound the program sent out did get somewhere. "Little Orphan Annie" was a phenomenal success. With the money that she earned, Cole supported not only her family, but several others throughout the Great Depression. Shirley Bell Cole played Annie from the time she was 10 until she was 20. And people returned day after day to listen.

Unidentified Man #3: And everybody wants to be here right on time tomorrow to see if daddy can find some way of tracing Annie now that he's heard their feeble radio signals. Until tomorrow then, goodbye.

(Soundbite of music)

SIEGEL: And this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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