little Anny Ruiny
“we all love little Anny Ruiny, or, we mean to say, lovelittle Anna Rayiny”
The words little Anny Ruiny (and the similar sounding lovelittle Anna Rayiny in the same phrase) bring to mind the spunky lass Little Annie Rooney, a young lady who appears in various entertainment mediums.
Little Annie Rooney is the subject of a popular song written by Michael Nolan in 1890. Here are the first two verses and chorus:
A winning way, a pleasant smile,
Dress’d so neat but quite in style,
Merry chaff your time to wile,
Has little Annie Rooney.
Ev’ry evening, rain or shine,
I make a call twixt eight and nine,
On her who shortly will be mine,
Little Annie Rooney.
She’s my sweetheart, I’m her beau;
She’s my Annie, I’m her Joe,
Soon we’ll marry, never to part,
Little Annie Rooney is my sweetheart!
Little Annie Rooney also was the title character in Mary Pickford’s 1925 silent film, as well as the title of a black-and-white cartoon produced by the Fleischer Brothers Studio in 1931. In the cartoon, the song “Little Annie Rooney” is sung repeatedly, the audience gets to learn the song’s chorus by singing along with the bouncing ball, plus, for added amusement, one of the Fleischer’s cheeky “not-Mickey” mice is used as a footstool (Take that, Walt!).
In addition, (and of note to this Joycean cartoonologist), there was a Little Annie Rooney comic strip run by King Features Syndicate between January 10, 1927 and April 16, 1966. The strip was conceived by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst to be a knock-off of Harold Gray’s popular Little Orphan Annie comic strip (August 5-1924-June 13, 1910).
Similarities were striking: Orphan Annie had a faithful dog named Sandy and the catchphrase “Leaping Lizards!,” while Little Annie had a faithful dog named Zero and the catchphrase “Gloriosky!”
Sounds rather… familiar to me.
(Gloriosky is a word I only knew of though exposure to the film West Side Story’s song “Officer Krupke” but it turns out, it’s not the same word. Lyricist Stephen Sondheim spells his “Gloryosky” with a Y, not an I!)
The strip burned through two artists in three years: Ed Verdier drew the strip for the first two years, and was replaced in 1929 by Ben Batsford, who in turn was replaced the next year by Darrell McClure. McClure settled into the job and drew Little Annie Rooney for the rest of its 36-year run. While the strip never came anywhere near the popularity of Little Orphan Annie in the funny pages, Little Annie Rooney is fondly remembered by four decades of comics readers.