No more tomorrows for comic strip with Little Orphan Annie

CHICAGO — Come this summer, there will be no more tomorrows for “Annie.”

After 85 years, Tribune Media Services announced Thursday that it will cease syndication of the comic strip featuring the iconic redheaded orphan Sunday, June 13. Instead, the company will bring Annie into the Internet age by pursuing new audiences for her in digital media and entertainment, such as mobile readers and graphic novels.

“I’m going to miss the girl a lot,” Jay Maeder, the strip’s writer, said Thursday. “I wrote her for 10 years. She was a fairly large part of my everyday life.”

“Little Orphan Annie” made its newspaper debut on Aug. 5, 1924, first written and illustrated by creator Harold Gray. The strip later was renamed simply “Annie,” telling tales of the spunky orphan adopted by Daddy Warbucks and joined by her lovable dog, Sandy.

Annie was famous for wearing a red dress with white collar and cuffs. Over the decades she became the center of the 1930s radio program “Adventure Time with Orphan Annie,” a 1977 Broadway musical and several movies.

Fewer than 20 newspapers in the United States currently take the comic strip, and Tribune Media Services vice president of licensing Steve Tippie said the cost of creating the strip started to outweigh its revenue. Tippie said the company is considering future live-action and animated television and film projects for the character.

Lil Wayne faces discipline for contraband

NEW YORK — Lil Wayne’s efforts to keep up the beat behind bars have gotten him in trouble in jail, an official said Thursday.

The Grammy Award-winning rapper faces potential discipline after jail officers found a charger and headphones for a digital music player stashed in his cell Monday, city Correction Department spokesman Stephen Morello said. Lil Wayne is serving a yearlong sentence after pleading guilty to a gun charge.

The items are considered contraband, as inmates can listen to music only on radios and headphones sold at the jail commissary.

Smith boyfriend to auction items

NEW YORK — Anna Nicole Smith’s former boyfriend is unloading 250 personal belongings from her estate at a Las Vegas auction.

The items Larry Birkhead is auctioning include outfits worn by the late model, paintings and a collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia.

Birkhead says it cost more than $100,000 to store Smith’s things for three years so it makes sense to get rid of some. Proceeds will go to charity and a trust fund for the daughter Birkhead had with Smith, Dannielynn Birkhead.

Helping Birkhead with the auction is former Smith attorney and partner Howard K. Stern, the executor of her estate.

Julien’s Auctions will run the sale June 26 at Planet Hollywood.

Smith was the 1993 Playboy Playmate of the Year. The Texas native became a clothing model before landing her own reality TV show. She died in 2007.

Palin lookalikes doff glasses

CHICAGO – This was, if nothing else, free-market capitalism at work.

On the same night that Sarah Palin spoke before thousands in Rosemont, northwest of Chicago, a Chicago gentlemen’s club held a Sarah Palin lookalike contest. Price of a Palin ticket: $54 to $297. Price of a faux-Palin ticket: $10 to $25.

The lookalike contest winner, a Brazilian stripper who gave her name as Eloah Rocha, earned what the club said was a $2,500 first prize.

The contest was essentially seven professional dancers with ties to the Admiral Theatre taking turns doffing their obligatory glasses and most of the rest of their vaguely Palinesque get-up.


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