Vintage 1938 Little Orphan Annie Decoder Pin Old Time Radio OTR Premium

little-orphan-annie-decoder-pin-1938-vintage-otr-old-time-radio-premium-1little-orphan-annie-decoder-pin-1938-vintage-otr-old-time-radio-premium-2Created by Harold Gray and first appearing in 1924 in the New York Daily News, the Little Orphan Annie comic strip would go on to become one of the most popular syndicated strips in America history.  Ultimately adapted into a long-running Old Time Radio (OTR) program, films, and a Broadway play (itself becoming a major motion picture), the comic itself ran for over 75 years in thousands of Sunday and daily strips until its cancellation on Sunday June 13, 2010.  While Gray died in 1968, the last of the other cartoonists who took up the strip – Ted Slampyak – remarked “it’s kind of painful. It’s almost like mourning the loss of a friend.” Slampyak left Annie a way back, though, with the final panel of the last strip noting “”And this is where we leave our Annie. For now—”

The OTR program began airing on April 6, 1931 and lasted until 1942.  Initially sponsored by Ovaltine (a fact perhaps most famously depicted in the 1983 film A Christmas Story – where the main character, Ralphie, is a big fan of the show and anxiously awaits the arrival of his decoder badge), the flavored milk supplement company devoted nearly half the shows airtime to pitching their product.  This heavy-handed advertising was a  point filmmakers brought home to little Ralphie.  And, as the movie depicts, the badge really could be used to decode very short messages that aired during the last few moments of the show.  Unlike the film, however, the messages were actually previews for the next episode and not, as Ralphie dejectedly observed, “crummy” commercials).

This particular badge is from the 1938 season of the show and was available to those who redeemed Ovaltine proofs of purchase.  It is in excellent condition, still works, and will be shipped with the utmost care. A little piece of American pop culture history from the Golden Age of Radio.

Ralphie using his Little Orphan Annie decoder badge for the first time, courtesy of youtube:

Price: $99.99