I has now been six months since I stepped away from Little Orphan Annie, much longer than I had intended to. It occurs to me that it would be nice to have all those posts in one place. As soon as I get them moved here, I will continue from where I left off (February, 1938).

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Did Tracy tell you that? Yeah, if you throw enough jokes out one after another after annother, some of them are bound to score. (It's like an episode of MST3K in that respect.) We both found ourselves laughing out loud more during the second half than the first, and the post-credits sequence had the most laughs overall. I'll probably post something more about it later over in "What Movies Have You Seen Today?"

Yes,I get all my reports on your activities from her.  

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Did Tracy tell you that? Yeah, if you throw enough jokes out one after another after annother, some of them are bound to score. (It's like an episode of MST3K in that respect.) We both found ourselves laughing out loud more during the second half than the first, and the post-credits sequence had the most laughs overall. I'll probably post something more about it later over in "What Movies Have You Seen Today?"

OCTOBER 1938: Jack wakes up two hours after Ace has left and follows in pursuit. Ace, expecting the ambush, is carrying a gun. Not knowing Ace in on the road, Gudge plans to murder him tonight at their nightly meeting by the well. Shanghai sees him sees him walk into the orchard and decides to take Ace’s place. Meanwhile, four men with machine guns attempt to overtake Ace, but he fires first and rams their car into the cliff face. Jack catches up to find the truck okay, the cargo intact, the hired killers dead, and Ace mortally wounded. Jack and Ace have just enough time to say their farewells before Ace dies. The next day, Gudge is nowhere to be found. Later, Annie sees Shanghai with a wheelbarrow full of dirt going to fill in the old well.

And that’s just the first week of October!

I'm always amazed at how violent those stories were.

The next day, Gudge is nowhere to be found. Later, Annie sees Shanghai with a wheelbarrow full of dirt going to fill in the old well.

Aha! Never let a well go to waste.

OCTOBER 1938 (con’t): Looking for Gudge to ask him some questions about the incident, the sheriff comes across Shanghai continuing to fill in the well. Shanghai makes repeated “inside” references regarding Gudge that only he is privy to, but on two occasions he suggests that Gudge will be heard from again. (?) Over the next several days, many of the townsfolk discuss Gudge with Shanghai as he continues to fill the well. The job takes him the rest of the month. When he is finished, he asks Jack if he can get a ride on one of his trucks to a port city to “see the lights.” He meets with a group of rough-looking sailors led by a man named “Shark” in a seedy waterfront dive. When he returns, he goes from person to person, saying his goodbyes, then he slips off into the night, but first he sends an anonymous letter to the police telling them to look in the well for Gudge’s body.

With Ace gone, Jack and Rose grow closer.

NOVEMBER 1938: It took Shanghai Peg three weeks to fill in the old well. It takes the entire town more than two weeks to dig it up. That’s because, in addition to rock and dirt, he also threw in old bed springs, barbed wire, railroad ties, etc., and pouring in cement every once in a while. IF they would have asked me, I would have advised the townsfolk to dig a new hole, through dirt, right next to the well Shanghai filled, but it’s too late now.) When they finally reach bottom they find a sealed steel drum addressed to Judge Button. It contains a confession, signed by Gudge, the the murder of Caleb Alden thirty years ago. It also contains property deeds all legally signed back to Mrs. Alden. Now financially secure, Mrs. Alden sells the donut business and Rose marries Jack.

DECEMBER 1938: Four big shots roll into town in a limousine. Annie overhears them discussing… her! She eavesdrops and learns they plan to kidnap and ransom her for $10 million, then kill her. The men, led by a man named Axel, tell the authorities she’s royalty and they have been sent to retrieve her. Annie runs away. The men track her with dogs. She knows she’s being trailed and tries a few tricks. She shakes one of the dogs, but the other finds her. (Big Sunday cliffhanger!) Sandy fights the other dog, but it’s a killer twice his size. Annie comes to Sandy’s rescue with an ax.

When Axel and his men catch up, the other dog is reluctant to follow so they shoot it. The men split up and search, never realizing how close she is. They quit searching by foot and resume searching by car. Annie avoids the roads, but she does spend a night under an overpass… the same one Axel and his men stop on. Axel goes to look under the bridge, but is thwarted by a skunk.

By this time it is Christmas. Annie looks in the window of a roadhouse, but Axel and his men are eating there. The state police arrive and take the men to another room to question them, and Annie sterals their turkey dinner. The men are not arrested and set out the next day to find when Annie ate the turkey. For the next several days they track her, but she remains just one step ahead the whole time.

JANUARY 1939: Annie is spotted by a road crew led by Mose Meddle, who point Axel and his men in Annie’s direction. Gray asks and answers: “Where may the oppressed and hunted find justice? Why, in the dictionary.” Annie hops aboard a box car of a freight train with Axel hot on her heels. The friendly hoboes in the car pass Annie into a train heading in the opposite direction. Both trains pull out. 100 miles away, the hoboes beat up and rob Axel and his men, then throw them out at 6- mph onto a cinderbank. They cause a ruckus in the next town and are sentenced to 90 days on a road gang.

Annie’s train slows as it approaches a town, and she and Sandy jump off. As they are walking into town, Annie is clipped by a reckless driver. It is early in the morning, and Sandy brings a nearby farmer to help. The man is George Buckle, his wife is Victoria (described as ”forceful”), his brother is Tuck (described as a “morose ex-soldier”). Victoria never does housework and is gone to “civic meetings” most of the time, but she definitely runs the house. She won’t let Sandy inside. Annie settles in to doing light housework while she recovers.

FEBRUARY 1939: Victoria does no housekeeping and no cooking, but she does negotiate good deals for their crops. George and Tuck subsist off canned beans. Annie settles in to doing the housework and cooking the meals. She even makes a peach pie. She nixes any help with doing the dishes. One night, a tramp breaks in and Sandy chases him away. He comes back with a piece of the thief’s trousers in his teeth, including a wallet with $40 in it. After that, Sandy is in good with Victoria and allowed to sleep in the house. The Buckles’ cow suffer a sleet storm. The February 12 strip is political, too philosophical to summarize here. Victoria enrolls Annie in school. The school bus driver is Sam Summer. Annie’s teacher is Miss Trill and is said to have an “inferiority complex.” Victoria’s brother, Melvin Putty, a wastrel and self-described “writer” (who has sold only one story for $5) comes to live with them.

MARCH 1939: Annie gets to know Melvin Putty. Annie thinks well of pretty much everyone (until they cross her), but the readers know he’s a big phony. Gray explores the Buckkle family dynamic. Most of the tension arises from the conflict in personalities between Tuck and Melvin.

1000 miles away, two G-men spot four familiar faces working on a road gang. They surreptitiously snap a few pictures, but Axel notices. He knows they must escape or be hanged. He takes advantage of the lax security to turn the tables on his jailers and escape just before the net closes. They rob a local store of four suits of clothes and luggage, then leave the door locked behind them. They buy four tickets for New York City at the train station, but don’t use them. They mingle with the crowd from one of the incoming trains, then go back into town and check in to the local hotel.

By the time they are settled in, the G-men have identified Axel and his men as foreign agents and return to pick them up. They arrive at the jail to find it locked up. They pick the lock and find the marshal and the guard locked in one of the cells. They ask around at the train station, but Axel’s trick doen’t fool the G-men. Axel doesn’t expect it to, and he and is men check out of the hotel just before the G-men track them there. The G-man pretty much guess how they ended up on the road gang and decide to trace the freight train in the opposite direction, which is exactly where Axel and his men are heading. Meanwhhile, Melvin longs for “action” and “raw, surging adventure.”

APRIL 1939: After following the railroad for 1000 miles, Axel is just about to give up when he spots Annie on the Buckles’ farm. The g-men are right behind him, and he knows he’s being followed. They split up. The G-Men follow two on common errands, but the other two go on to send a coded message summoning a plane. They continue to keep Annie under surveillance, and Sandy knows.

The day arrives. Sandy is in the house. Annie is in the barn helping with the chores. Victoria and Melvin are both asleep. Axel hires some drivers for his car to decoy the G-Men. Axel’s men confront Annie in the barn. Recalling his bayonet training from the war, Tuck brings a pitchfork to a gun fight and comes out on top. Meanwhile, Annie has run out the back way… directly into Axel’s waiting arms. The G-Man arrive… just in time to see Axel’s plane taking off from the field. You’s think that would be enough action for the month, but this is only April 9th!

Sandy follows Annie scent to where she boarded the plane, then he sits down and howls. Axel’s plane has a 3000 mile range; he could be anywhere. The G-Men deduce Annie connection to Warbucks. Last anyone heard, he was somewhere in the Orient, but no one knows where.

Axel flies to plane to a large estate somewhere south of the border… maybe Mexico, maybe Central America, maybe South America. He thinks he might keep Annie alive after all. After they land, he turns her over to Dona Delores, who promptly slaps her hard on the face. Then she takes Annie into another room and pretends to beat her up. She claps her hands together while Annie screams. What Axel refers to as his “hacienda hideaway” is actually Dona Delores’ family home, but Axel doesn’t know it. He also doesn’t know that her full name is Dona Delores Venganza (vengeance). Dona Delores was away at school when Axel took over the estate and killed her parents. She returned pretending to be an adventuress.

Axel is having trouble reaching Warbucks. Apparently, Warbucks’ radio is down.

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