Hoosier Romance and Little Orphant Annie Notes

Verbatim notes with the names of the various folders on Selig productions Hoosier Romance and Little Orphant Annie... with typos intact and all (my typos, that is). From the Margaret Herrick Library, Selig collection.

A Hoosier Romance

Folder 61

 In movie synopsis:

“NOTE. This is not an argument for communism. The story will be found unique inasmuch as it subtly represents propaganda for the big interests as against communism, yet the word communism is at no time mentioned. Withal, it is a powerful red-blooded story, of love, of romance, and adventure, that should make a strong pull at the box-office of our theaters on purely entertainment values.” (page 4).

 Folder 62

 Prose version of the film A Hoosier Romance, screen story by Harold E. McGhan.

Folder 64

Card in reel 5 “Ann #34 (between 319- and 211 ½) reads “In the gray dawn.” Reel 5 ( page 17 screen treatment for A Hoosier Romance) Directed by Colin Campbell #866.

 Folder 65

(Promotional material for Hoosier Romance.

“Director Calls Colleen Moore Readymade Star.”

“She was finishing her education i the Lakeview High School at Chicago a year ago. Today she’s a star.

            “Director Campbell, who saw her in a school entertainment when she played ‘The Unruly Pupil’ in Julia Crathorpe’s The Cornhuskers, knew that he had discovered a jewel.”

 Folder 95


 Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,

An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,

An’ shoo the chickens of the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,

An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;

An’ all us other children, when the supper things is done,

We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the moistest fun

A-list’nin to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,

An, the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you

                                    Ef you





--Little Orphant Annie,  by James Whitcomb Riley, illustrated by Ethel Franklin Betts, the Bobs-Merrill Company, 1892, 1898, 1900, 1903, 1907, 1908, William Selig Collection, folder 95. (Printed with Billy Miller’s Circus-show)


Folder 96




By Gilson Willets

La Salle Hotel


(Hotel La Salle in Chicago at Madison Street as evidenced by a scenario for A Hoosier Romance typed up on the back of the hotel’s stationary. (seen in Hoosier Romance, folder 63).


Intended to be a film in two reels.


A fairly straight-forward adaptation of Riley’s poem, featuring Annie being delivered to the home of Squire Goode by Uncle Tomp. Tomp treats her roughly and it is clear that she is mortally afraid of the man. He leaves her with Good and his wife and four children, two boys and two girls, ranging in age between 7 and 12.


Description: She is 10 or 12 years old.  “Annie is tall for her age, thin, gaunt, spindle ankles, awkward, gawky, slender wisp of a girl.” When first seen she is barefoot and half-starved “a soul warped the brutality and terrors suffered at the hands of Uncle Tomp. “Her hair (in the first scene) is ragged and unkempt. She wears (in the first scene) a raged calico dress with crazy summer hat (the hat being broken)

            “Altogether, Annie is a winning and lovable character. She is sad-eyed, weird, a little gypsy, mysterious, an elfinish figure. She rolls her eyes when she tells her spooky goblin stories…. She bright, impetuous humor, breaking into semi-hysterical laughter.” (Page 4)


(Uncle Tomp is the character authorized by Mrs. Riley in his story of the real Orphant Annie, Where is Mary Alice Smith? in Sketches in Prose.) Throughout all her visions of the goblins, Tomp appears in her imagination as their leader. The goblins appear from time to time in ordinary every-day scenes (either fading into the scenes or walking into them).

The film is intended to be set in the present, though the author says Riley told him that the real Orphant Annie lived in his house during the civil war era. Either period would work for the film. The home of the Goodes is described as having a great main room (the “hall”) with a winding staircase that leads up and out of any given scene, an image at which Annie marvels when she first sees it. As she climbs the stairs, she sees the goblins, who take positions on the staircase. They are invisible to everyone but Annie. When the children ask what the matter is? she points at them and intones:

“An’ the gobble-uns’ll git you

            Ef you don’t watch out!”

The kids stare at her in wonder; the parents cluck their tongues and say “the poor little girl!” (page 6)


The Goodes welcome Annie into their house, and with time she becomes part of the family, although she is still constantly haunted by visions of Tomp and the goblins. Her hair also always remains in disarray, in spite of Mrs. Goode’s attempts to impose some order on it. She has been with the family a time and her behavior remains odd, though she invests al her jobs with a “solemn earnestness.” (page 7) At times, she does into a daze and sees hem appear in scenes around her, often when there is nobody else around. Tomp often appears first, and then summons the rest. She can usually shoo them off with a warning wave at them.


As written, the film depicts portions of the poem with selected portions appearing as intertitles while the action that follows is illustration. The children want Annie to tell them stories, and she does.  When the two boys refuse to say their prayers, she tells them of the boy who would not say his, and was taken away one night by the goblins.


When she tells the stories, the goblins in each recreated story appear in life, and Annie has to shoo them off. Sometimes the kids see the goblins (or imagine they see goblins) and sometimes they do not.


When it is time for the children to go to bed, Annie tells them “Forget all about the Goblins out there. They have gone.” However, peering out the window, the audience sees that she can still see the goblins. Mrs. Goode hugs Annie before taking the kids upstairs to bed.  When they are gone, Annie sees all the goblins appear in the closed windows, led by Tomp. He grabs Annie to carry her off, but when Annie cries for help, the goblins turn on Tomp and throw him out the window instead.  Then they all transform from goblins into fairies who dance with garlands of flowers.  They dance with her, drape garlands on her and strew flowers at her feet as the scene fades to black. “NOTE: Thus we leave Annie happy. She here learns that all the Goblins are after all just Good Fairies that are guarding her from her Uncle Tomp.


Throughout the film, she is given to mischievous fits of laughter, imagining herself flying her broom like a witch at one point, or else seeing goblins and reacting to them while other people are in the room; to which the Goodes just shake their heads and think “poor girl.”


Scenes were set up to illustrate lines from the story.


Folder 97


Note: clarifies Annie is about 14, but looks 10 or 12.


Scenario for five reels “Dramatization of poem by James Whitcomb Riley and the story of Little Orphant Annie as told by Mr. Riley in Sketches in Prose, page 183, under the title Where is Mary Alice Smith? When I saw Mr. Riley, he authorized us to use this story, as the true story of Little Orphant Annie. Hence in the scenario, the verses of the Poem are bound together by the story n the Sketches in Prose.” (cover)


(Film is a composite of poem Little Orphant Annie and Riley’s “real-life” story of Annie; real life story framing stories that form the poem.)


Every line of the poem is quoted as n the Deluxe edition—a total of five verses. Verses are numbered, with Number One being the new first verse written by Riley for the deluxe edition beginning “Little Orphant Annie, she knows riddle rhymes and things.” (page 2)


The 5 reel version introduces new characters, such as Aunt Lizabeth (wife of Tomp) who is as souless as her husband. She mistreats Annie as well. (Sketches… page 186) Also introduces Dave Jefferies, who is her unofficial advocate and who she loves as a little girl loves a “big, devoted strong young fellow”


After a prolog, the film is to open with titles:


                        “Little Orphan (sic) Annie!----------Name of Actress”


At the orphanage Annie tells her stories. Around the orphanage, she protects the smaller kids and dogs and cats from bullies, warning the bullies what will befall them if they do not shape up. If they refuse, Annie summons ringmorees or witches from the sky who takes them away. At dinner, she keeps telling her stories, and we see her imagination at work through photographic trickery. It all establishes the Annie is happy at the orphanage.


Uncle Tomp is introduced declaring to the orphanage matron that while Annie is old enough to leave the place, he doesn’t want her. She tells him he has no choice as next of kin. When he takes her, one of the children comments that the gobble-uns have got Annie now. On the ride home she stares at Tomp and sees him briefly turn into a Goblin-Devil.


At home, Aunt Lizabeth dislikes her. She is put to hard work, she is made to sleep in the upstairs loft. Annie envisions them as a Devil-Goblin and a witch.


We meet Dave when he spies Tomp beating Annie and he intervenes, warning Tomp never to abuse the child again. Smitten, Annie sees Dave as knight in shining armor.


Later, at the country store, when Dave sees the Squire Goode and his wife, he points out Annie to them, describes the abuses she endures, They take pity on her, tell Tomp they will take her off his hands if he delivers her to them tomorrow. Dave takes her to the store and buys her a hat, and she sees him again as a knight, sees herself as a lady of the Ivanhoe period.


Her arrival at the homestead is much as described in the original 2-reel version, only instead when she sees the stairs she sees her departed mother at the top. As she climbs the stairs she sees gates, her mother dressed as she last remembered her, and her mother is surrounded by angels.


Portions of the poem are illustrated, though without the appearance of goblins in the scenes.


The fist tale she tells the kids is a witch tale, with herself as the main character, and Tomp and Lizabeth as the Goblin-Devil and Witch, who summon demons from the sky.  They chase her until she finds Dave, who shoos them of and gives her a ride back to the Goode house. Back in the house, goblins manifest themselves in the kitchen. She warns the kids the goblins will take them (and etc.)


At night, preparing for bed, she listens to the boys in the room next her hers and imagines that Bill, the oldest child, is not saying his prayers. With the two girls, she sneaks into the boy’s room to tell them all a story. She tells them about the boy who would not say his prayers (illustrated in the movie). When she is done she looks up and we see what she does: trapeze with goblins, reaching for Bill. None of the children see this, and she shoos them away by grabbing Bills Teddy Bear and waving it at them. Bill drags Annie downstairs, declares they golins will get him if he doesn’t pray, and drop to his knees before them. Annie winks at Mr. and Mrs. Goode.

In town, Annie and the Goods meet Dave, then Tomp and wife. Frightened, she begs Dave to take her away. They ride into the forest and he tells her by a brook he’s going to visit “the finest girl in the world.” Annie is jealous until she realizes he’s talking about his mother. When she’s older, Annie declares, she’ll marry Dave and his mother will be THEIR mother.


We see Dave on a train; realize he is going very far away to visit his other.


Next the Girl who mocked everyone is illustrated, this time with oldest daughter Nellie making fun of people at church. The Two Big Black Things, when they take Babbie away, take her by the hand and shoot up through the ceiling, showering Ma, Pa and parson and wife with plaster bits and dust. When Annie looks up into the tree under which she and the children are sittig, it becomes alive in her imagination with goblins. Annie points at Nellie and warns An’ the goble-uns (and etc). Convinced, Nellie runs back to church to make amends.


At his mother’s house Dave is preparing to leave. He gives her his savings. Outside a window, two evil tramps witness this and have an idea to steal it. A third stands lookout as the first two sneak inside. Once Dave has left, his mother returns to discover the trams and she screams. Dave hears her, returns, and the engage in an all-out dust-up. One gets the better of Dave, fells him with a blow to the head. The tramp hastily departs.


At the general store, Annie awaits word from Dave. When she sees Tomp and Dave’s employer approach, she lights out. Tomp is angry. Dave’s boss reads aloud the news that Dave is seriously hurt. Tomp sees he can use that information to get some revenge against Annie. He rides out to the Goode house and tells Annie that Dave is dead.


Annie collapses and everyone rushes to her.


Several days pass with Annie in her bed in a state of delirium, clutching the hat Dave bought for her. She declares the goblins have taken Dave, and sees a vision of him fighting goblins. She sees herself standing at the top of the stairs, and says to the children; “Someday, after you’ve searched everywhere and can’t find me, you’ll look sorry-like and holler out, kindo skeert, and say: ‘Oh, where is little orphan Annie?’” She watches them from above, staring at them through the banisters. “And then you’ll listen and hold your breath—and then somepin’ll holler back—from away fur off and say: ‘little orphan Annie’s gone to the Good World where her mother is.” Again she descends the stairs, and then turns back when she sees her mother at the top in the Good World.


Back in bed, where she had had this vision, the doctor says she will indeed be in the Good World, as she has a perfect case of broken heart.


At that point, with the children weeping at the foot of the staircase, Dave turns, his head bandaged. He asks the kids where Annie is, they direct him upstairs. He mouts the stairs two at a time, runs to her bed and speaks her name just as she seems to have passed. Her eyes reopen, and she stared at him as if reviving from a trance.


In the end, Bobbie (the boy who wouldn’t pray) is returned to his parents in Annie’s story. Babbie is returned to her family. Babbie and Bobbie help people around them like the poem suggests. Annie sand the kids watch the French window blown open by the storm, and Tomp and Lizabeth appear, beckon to all the goblins. Annie closes the window on them, tells the kids to go to bed with her trademarked warning. She watches them leave, and then when she starts up the stairs Tomp and Lizabeth grab her, and summon the goblins from all about. Annie calls to the goblins for help, and the wrest her away from Tomp and Lizabeth, seize them and hustle them towards the French window. They are thrown out, and outside they run off, chased by the goblins.


Back inside, the remaining goblins turn into fairies. Titania appears before her, waves her wand in Annie is in a bridal gown. She waves her wand again and Dave is beside her. One more time and Dave’s mother is behind her, welcoming Annie to her family.


“Note: Consistent with the fact that his is a child’s play of pure imagination, dealing principally with imaginary Goblins that get little children if they are not good, we end the play with the spectacle of the Goblins changed into fairies, representing the final flight of Annie’s impish and elfin imagination.

“The End”




Folder 98


Synopsis of Little Orphant Annie

Depicts Annie witnessing the death of her mother, her spirit rising up the Good World. The Goodes are now the Joneses, Uncle Tomp is Uncle Tompks. The story is streamlined. This time the film is set in about 1862 And when Lincoln calls for volunteers, Dave enlists. He buys Annie a hat with which she waves goodbye to her hero.


(“Annie is never Polyannish. She is impish but withal very lovable.”)


One day she is caught in a storm, takes ill, and while she is mostly recovered, she is still not 100%. She goes to the store one day, where Tompks tells her Dave is dead. Distraught, she wanders off into the forest where farmer Jones finds her. It is too late. She has a fever, she’s delirious. A storm rages, and Annie sees witches in the air, gnomes watch. She sees Dave crushed under a wagon, catches a flash of her mother. The children make vigil for her on the staircase; the doctor comes to care for her. She lapses into a coma, and though the family does not realize it, her spirit has left her body. She appears to the children as an apparition, much like the stair scene in the previous version. Outside, the witches are still there, but they’ve turned white, and they carry a laughing Annie to a garden where her mother is waiting. The Dave enters the picture in his suit of armor. Back in the house mother Jones summons the children to say their goodbyes.


This copy is signed by Colin Campbell with an address of 1517 Orange ??? Ave. Hollywood.


2 James Whitcomb Riley…novels… poems

When made as a silent picture, Colleen Moore played “Annie”


Folder 99


Lists of title cards and lines in film. In these, Annie finds out Dave is dead from newspaper announcement. Family name seems to be Goode again.


Folder 100



Presented by


William N. Selig,

From the poem by

James Whitcomb Riley



“Little Orphant Annie”                       Colleen Moore

Annie’s Mother                                   May Gaston

Uncle To,mps                                      Harry Lonsdale

Aunt ‘Lizabeth                                    Lillian Hayward

David Jeffries                                     Thomas Santschi

The Good Squire                                 Lafayette McKee

The squire’s good wife                       Eugenia Besserer

                                                            Doris Baker

                                                            Lillian Wade

Children                                              Billy Jacobs

                                                            Bennie Alexander

                                                            George Hupp


            “The eyes of the theatrical world were focused on the Colonial Theater in Akron when Robert McLaughton’s new drama, based on the poems of the late James Whitcomb Riley, and called Little Orphant Annie, was presented for the first time. The play was presented by the Feiber & Shea Stock Company and produced by Ralph Cummings, New York director….”

--“’Little Orphant Annie’s’ Premier at Akron, Ohio Witnessed by Famous Stage Folk,” Grosset & Dunlap’s Business Promoter, Special Fall Announcement, November 1916, page 5.