Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Impressionable Mind: Annie

I've been thinking a lot lately about the movies and books that had the greatest style impressions on me when I was a wee lass. You see, I loved reading about fancy clothes and I loved seeing fancy clothes in movies, and I have a feeling this planted the seeds for a later obsession with vintage clothing. I've come to the realization, however, that my taste was perhaps a bit questionable now that I look back on it all. So I'm now on a bit of a mission to see whether my girlhood fashion influences hold up to the test of time.

So let's start by looking at Annie (1982), which is basically the greatest movie OF ALL TIME. It's set in the 1930's, but it's the 1980's version of the 1930's. It's about a spunky little redhead who gets saved from an evil orphanage by a handsome millionaire who adopts her! What's not to like, really?

I was obsessed with this movie as a youngster. I remember watching it one day and then just immediately rewinding the tape to start it all over again. That's how good it is, people. First of all, the cast is comprised of the three women that I was sure were the most glamorous in the world: Carol Burnett, Ann Reinking, and Bernadette Peters. And their wardrobes are FABULOUS. (At least that's how I remember it.)

Ann Reinking is the classy one, obvs.

OMG, how fab is she? Just look at the hat and tie. (No wonder Daddy Warbucks falls in love with her. Sigh!) I still think this is a great look, though I'm willing to accept that I am biased here.

Carol Burnett is the evil Miss Hannigan who I realize now was portrayed as a slutty, money-grubbing drunk. This did not matter to my young self, and even though I knew she was mean, I coveted her wardrobe, especially the purple dress above. I also thought that she was a fabulous accessorizer.

This high opinion of Miss Hannigan's sartorial choices explains my later obsession with glitzy costume jewelry and my conviction, to this day, that drinking gin out of a bathtub is the epitome of bohemian chic. (Yeah, that actually explains a lot.)

So, okay, perhaps my taste was in question with Miss Hannigan.

But then in comes Bernadette Peters! She's like a way classier version of Miss Hannigan, like a gun moll or something. I'll admit it, I still love the look she's rocking here.

The hat? The lipstick? Gorge!

As for the menfolk, there's no doubt that Daddy Warbucks is the dreamiest.

But Punjab gets the fanciest costume, with an elegant bejeweled turban. Punjab is obviously very, very wise.

I was soooo jealous of Annie. She got a whole new wardrobe, which included a fabulous bathing cap.

(Okay, trust me, it was WAY more fabulous in my clouded memory.)

One of the best scenes is when Annie and Ann Reinking are getting ready to go out to the movies with Daddy Warbucks. Ann Reinking dances around in her slip, and is basically the embodiment of all that is feminine and glamorous.

And the best part is that Daddy Warbucks grows to love Annie and then he falls in love with Ann Reinking and Ann Reinking is totally gonna be Annie's new mommy! The movie ends with a fabulous dance number that I'm pretty sure included elephants and all the little girls from the orphanage got pretty new dresses.

Yep, I can't deny it, this movie pretty much lives up to all the awesomeness I had imbued it with in my childhood memory.

Any other Annie lovers in the house?


  1. You had me at Ann Reinking...as a dancer I adore her.

    I have a deep and abiding love for fancy bathing caps (from where, I don't know) and 40's cut trousers (from all the Katherine Hepburn movies I watched as a kid).

  2. Ah - but did you ever have an Annie dress? Aged 14 I persuaded my mother to sew me a McCalls "Annie Too" pattern dress, complete with frilly flounce at shoulder-level and another flounce at the hem. In chintz. I thought I was the cats pyjamas. And I wondered why the kids at school thought I was weird?!

  3. I used to be a huge Annie fan - am I the only one that remembers when it came on once a year? The thing that sort of ruined it for me, though, (and maybe I'm dating myself) is that the "facts of life" movie that our elementary school made the girls watch in fifth grade was narrated by the actress that played Annie in the movie. I couldn't handle hearing grown up "Annie" telling me about periods - it was weird and awkward. lol

  4. 'We love you miss hannigan!'

    What's not to love about Annie? I totally wanted to be Annie when I was a child. Mostly because of Punjab, I have to confess. I thought he was the best friend anyone could ever have.

    And thank you. Now I have 'It's a hard knock life' singing in my head...

  5. Beth from Upstate NYOctober 6, 2009 at 8:20 AM

    Oh yes, my grandma and grandpa took me to see the stage version of "Annie" in Chicago, and I get teary eyed at the mere mention of it. Although I must say that the movie version's FDR played the role quite flat; the stage actor exploited all the campy humor possible for the President who grinned our way out of the Depression.

    Bathing caps were a pain to wear, as I recall, because you always ended up with a big air bubble at the top of your head that made it hard to submerge. Boys didn't have to wear bathing caps, even if they were -eek!- long-haired hippies.

  6. Unfortunately, I didn't get into Annie later till I had kids because I was a 17 at the time and was busy my friends and other teenage pursuits.

    I did grow up watching old movies with my mom, though. I would always dance around the living room right along with them when they had singing and dancing in them. I imagined I was famous. Those were magical moments for me. I loved all of the fancy clothes they wore.

    I've always loved Bernadette Peters. She is so stylish and confidant and full of life. And I love how feminine and stylish Ann Reinking is.

  7. My two daughters LOVE Annie. They go through spurts of watching it every night for a week. It then goes on the shelf for a couple months and out it comes again! Drives my husband crazy! Although Carol B. freaked dd1 at first and she didn't want to watch it. It wasn't until dd2 began watching it, then she had to prove that she wasn't scared to her younger sis.

  8. I am a huge Annie fan, and have tried to share my love for Annie with my girls. Unfortunately, they don't find the charm of it, and I find myself watching it alone as they will have nothing to do with it. I can't help but wonder what's wrong with them.

  9. Love Annie. One Halloween, my mom made me an Annie red dress in corduroy. I think I was about six years old. We used an eyebrow pencil to draw on some freckles and I wore a curly reddish-brown wig, and black patent leather mary janes. I also had a plastic version of Annie's heart shaped Tiffany's locket. I think it came with the LP soundtrack that I listened to over an over again. Oh yeah, I was way into Annie. I also loved Grace and Miss Hannigan but Lily & Rooster scared me.

    I also remember seeing that "facts of life" film strip in fifth grade that was narrated by the grown up Annie. It was weird.

  10. I am a huge musical theater fan, with a degree in theater. I listen to the Broadway station on sirius radio all the time. And yet, I've never seen Annie. Is that weird?

  11. I adored Annie when I was little; my mom kindly taped it off TV for me, and I watched it until the tape warbled in parts...Oh it's a Hard Knock Life...

  12. Just bought this one for the girls, it's one of my all time favs. They might be a smidgeon too young for this yet, but I can't wait to share it with them. I hope they like it!

  13. "The sun will come out tomorrow. . ."
    We went to see tha as a school trip last spring. The children's theater in Richmond put it on - they did an AMAZING job with it!! My twins got a little antsy at the age of 5 1/2, but they took a lot from it and really enjoyed it. My older son was really impressed by it all and managed to basically sit still at the age of 7 1/2!! Now, for three young boys to sit and appreciate a play that lasted for about three hours -- THAT says something!!!!!!

  14. LOL I too have had "It's a hard-knock life" in my head since I saw the first picture. I had the full cast of Annie dolls, I remember Punjab's little white turban the best, kind of like I remember the little purple nylon socks that came with the Donny Osmond doll (I was in that kind of 70s-into-80s generation)... maybe because they were the easiest things to lose. But I don't think we had a VCR yet so I don't think I've seen the movie more than once in life, and now I think I have to find it.

    But it was a source of enjoyment but also torment because at the time I had total Annie hair, and had had since kindergarten. Ginger red helmet hair. Up to that point it was just my hair, same hairstyle as my mom & grandma, didn't think too much about it, until all the Annie propaganda and suddenly, was I trying to look like Annie? It was like my hair had been branded by someone else and I wasn't sure how I felt about all the attention. I got a lot of Annie-themed gifts that year... One other memorable one was the sheet music. That might still be in the piano bench at my mom's house.

  15. Yeah, I only watched that movie eleventy-billion times. I wore out my VHS copy. Loved. It. Though, I have to admit, my favorite dress in the whole movie was Annie's yellow dress at the end.

  16. I have been thinking about getting Annie on DVD for a few months now. I LOVED Annie. I owned the picture book that came out with the movie. I read it over and over and over again. I remember reading every bit of info there was on the actresses. Probably in Tiger Beat. I still remember that all the orphans were cast from girls who tried out to be Annie. And that the actress who played Annie actually has brown hair and wore a wig. My favorite song from the movie was Carol Burnett's Little Girls. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  17. I too grew up on Annie. In fact, it was the very first movie I ever saw in a movie theatre. I was ALONE with my parents as they had dropped my sister and brother off at a summer camp and we were in a 'big city'. So they took me. I will never forget that. I loved it so much they bought me the Annie soundtrack on record. My uncle was able to record it to tape so that we could listen to it non stop on the 3 day drive home. I think my brother just about killed me.

    Anyways, when I first saw Vogue 1104 I could not explain why I was so drawn to it. It is not really a style I can wear but now I see that it is a Miss Hannigan dress. That explains a lot.

  18. Annie is indeed probably the greatest movie OF ALL TIME! I especially loved Ann Reinking's clothes.

  19. This movie is a total favorite of mine too. So much so, around the same time I saw the live Broadway stage production. I still have the Playbill and my movie soundtrack (on vinyl, of course)!

  20. I've always loved Bernadette Peters!
    @Roobeedoo, If you'd like another Annie dress I have an "Annie Too" pattern for sale in my etsy shop, FemmeFataleVintage!

  21. do you know about the movie "life after tomorrow"? (http://www.lifeaftertomorrow.com/) it was fascinating.

  22. I missed this post the first time round - just saw it again on the 'you might also like' link.
    I LOVED Annie - the whole film regardless of details so thanks for the inevitable trip down memory lane. In fact, at Christmas dinner this year my brother and I were singing the soundtrack... very random. Bernadette Peters was my favourite - she was so cute but so naughty (child catching criminal!). I'm going to watch this again SOON!

  23. Hi! I found your nice blog googling and archiving about Annie. Oh! Im so hooked up nowadays. This is the time where Ive got this obsession with Annie. It varies. One minute I want to watch The Sound Of music, Another time Im into Zombieland. So nowadays Im into Annie. I love this film with all my might. I just bought a DVD. Im gonna give it as a gift. But I might change my mind and keep it for myself. LOL. When I was younger. I must admit I was not as hooked as I am now. I would rather think that this film is hilarious in so many levels and I get to appreciate it even more as a grown up. It is not only a kid's film . It is for all ages. Actually I love Ann Reinking as Grace as much as Aileen as Annie. My favorite dress of hers was the yellow dress she was wearing when she and Daddy Warbucks were taling in the garden having a cuppa. It was one of my fave scenes. I totally agree with you, that Ann Reinking is the epitome of a smart well dress lady in that film. She is the most flawless dancer ever. Just perfect. I love your blog as I totally agree with everything you wrote in it. Thank you very much for posting this. More Power!

  24. Gertie, I stumbled upon your blog when looking for ideas for my Halloween costume (Miss Hannigan), and now I'm hooked! You've inspired me to dust off my sewing machine and get back at it. Granted, I'd only ever gotten advanced enough to make pillows for my apartment before, but you've got me wanting to take a dressmaking class! Adore your writing, and your style in general. Keep it up!

  25. My name is Annie, and I grow up in the 80s... I was not a fan of Annie, I was Annie! My aunt bought me the doll and I had the same medallion than in the film. I had the pretty little red dress too. I rented this movie last month to show it to my sons, they thought I was crazy knowing all songs by heart (in French) and singing them loud. It is my lifetime's best movie!


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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