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Little Audrey

little audrey, little audrey santos miracles
Little Audrey full name: Audrey Smith is a fictional character, appearing in early 20th century folklore1 prior to her appropriation as the star in a series of Paramount Pictures' Famous Studios cartoons from 1947 to 1958 She is considered a variation of the better-known Little Lulu, devised after Paramount decided not to renew the license on the comic strip character created by Marjorie Henderson Buell AKA: "Marge" Despite some superficial similarities between the two characters, the Famous animators were at pains to design Audrey in contrast to Lulu, adopting an entirely different color scheme and employing the stylistic conventions common to Famous Studios' later 1940s repertoire, as opposed to Buell's individualistic rendering of Little Lulu Veteran animator Bill Tytla was the designer of Little Audrey, reportedly inspired by his daughter Tammy who was also his inspiration for Famous' version of Little Lulu, which he also worked on and directed several shorts with that character2 The original voice of Little Lulu was performed by actress Cecil Roy who also provided the voice of Casper the Friendly Ghost Little Audrey was instead voiced by Mae Questel, who also voiced most of Paramount's other major female cartoon characters including Betty Boop and Olive Oyl


  • 1 History
    • 11 In folklore and juvenile humor
    • 12 Animated cartoons
    • 13 Television era
  • 2 The Famous/Harvey character
  • 3 In other media
    • 31 Comic strip
    • 32 Comic books
  • 4 Famous Studios filmography
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


View of the Melbourne, Australia Skipping Girl Sign nicknamed Little Audrey where the jokes were very popular

Coordinates: 37°48′41″S 145°00′39″E / 378113°S 1450108°E / -378113; 1450108 Prior to her adoption by Famous in 1947, Little Audrey had a long career in folklore as the butt of a series of mostly dirty jokes, some going as far back as the First World War

In folklore and juvenile humoredit

According to BA Botkin's A Treasury of American Folktales:

Little Audrey is a folk-lore character about whom thousands of nonsensical short tales during the past five or six years — have been told Sometimes Little Audrey parades as Little Emma or Little Gertrude, but she usually is recognizable by a catch phrase 'she just laughed and laughed' The amusing incident is typically a catastrophe3

Pierre Berton, in The Dionne Years: A Thirties Melodrama 1978, offers this example of a Little Audrey joke as was in fashion around the time of the Dionne Quintuplets birth in 1934:

Little Audrey's mother asks her to buy some groceries at the Safeway, and she laughed and laughed because she knew there was no safe way

One of the most famous goes like this:

One day, Li'l Audrey was playing with matches Her mother told her she'd better stop before someone got hurt But Li'l Audrey was awfully hard headed and kept playing with matches, and eventually she burned their house down

"Oh, Li'l Audrey, you are sure gonna catch it when your father comes home!" said her mother

But Li'l Audrey just laughed and laughed, because she knew her father had come home early to take a nap

As nasty as some of these jokes were, they were extremely popular, and it became inevitable that someone would appropriate the name of the character

Animated cartoonsedit

Audrey first appeared in the Noveltoon' Santa's Surprise 1947, where she was the most prominent member of a multicultural child cast working to clean Santa's workshop while he was asleep, and was briefly seen in the January 1948 Popeye cartoon Olive Oyl for President Her first starring vehicle was the short Butterscotch and Soda, released on July 16, 1948 In common with many animated shorts of the period, childlike fantasy played an important role in Audrey's early cartoons, which often used dream sequences as the basis of the storylines In this way, Audrey could ride the clouds with Mother Goose Goofy Goofy Gander, 1950, attend a wedding in Cakeland Tarts and Flowers, also 1950, or face an underwater tribunal of outraged catfish The Seapreme Court, 1954 Slapstick humor crept into the series with the release of Surf Bored 1953, which pitted the precocious little girl against a hulking but ultimately brainless life guard A total of sixteen cartoons starring Audrey were produced for theatrical release, several of which were re-packaged for television from the late 1950s on

She was the only character in the series to have their own theme song with vocals "''Little Audrey Says''", by Winston Sharples and Buddy Kaye Some other characters and certain one-shots in the series had their own themes, but were entirely instrumental Two Noveltoons spin-offs, Casper the Friendly Ghost and Herman and Katnip had their own vocal themes, but only after leaving the series

Television eraedit

The pre-October 1950 Little Audrey cartoons were sold to television distributor UM & M TV Corporation in 1956 The post-September 1950 cartoons would be sold to Harvey Comics, when they acquired the rights to the character in 1959 Today, they are the property of DreamWorks Animation, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, and distributed by Universal Television Meanwhile, Olive Oyl for President would become property of Warner Bros via Turner Entertainment Co

The Famous/Harvey characteredit

Little Audrey's last name is Smith4

Little Audrey has reddish brown hair with ribbons making three pigtails She wears a little dress with puffed sleeves, white ankle socks, and black Mary Jane shoes In the short subjects, the dress and ribbons are blue, but by the time of her Harvey comics runs, they are red

The comic "Little Audrey & Melvin and Cousin Suzie's Dance Party" issue unknown reveals that Audrey has a cousin named Suzie, who has a friend named Bubu The first several issues of the comic book also reveals she has a brother nicknamed "Patches"

In other mediaedit

While the jokes remained popular well into the 1980s, the Famous/Harvey character had an entirely different career:

Comic stripedit

Animation historian Jerry Beck notes that Famous Studios' animator Steve Mufatti drew a short-lived "Little Audrey" comic strip for magazines in 1951, which were syndicated by King Features These strips were also reprinted in 1952-55 by Harvey Comics5

Comic booksedit

Little Audrey was never as successful as Famous' best-known creation, Casper the Friendly Ghost, but the character had considerable success in printed form The first Little Audrey comic book series was St John Publications from April 1948 to May 1952 Featuring stories which depended more on situation comedy than on fantasy, the comics featured artwork done in a style approximating the original Famous character designs most of them by Steve Muffati The series met with moderate success on the newsstand, running for approximately twenty-four issues until Little Audrey was licensed by Harvey Comics in 1952

Initially, Harvey's comic-book version closely followed its animated template, but the character was redesigned during the mid-1950s to conform more closely to the company's in-house style The general storyline was simultaneously overhauled to provide Audrey with supporting characters such as Melvin Wisenheimer, her ugly, prankish arch-rival, and Tiny, a young black boy Domestic comedy gradually took over the scripts, as Audrey was shown in conflict with parents, teachers, and other authority figures

Harvey purchased the rights to all of Famous' original properties - Little Audrey included - in 1958, also acquiring the rights to the post-1950 Audrey cartoons It was during this time that the "definitive" Audrey came into being, taking on the signature red dress and appearance most often associated with the character By 1960, Little Audrey was the best known of Harvey's female characters due to her multi-media presence comic books, television/theatrical animation and - briefly - newspaper strips, although her popularity was later eclipsed by the company's other female characters, Little Dot, Wendy the Good Little Witch and Little Lotta

Later comic series were titled Playful Little Audrey The name under which the character has been trademarked in 1961 and Little Audrey & Melvin In the latter, Audrey and Melvin become less antagonistic and Audrey demonstrates affections for and jealousy towards him, much like Little Lulu had done with Tubby Tompkins

During her most successful period, Audrey starred in at least four of her own titles and was a back-up feature in Richie Rich, Casper, and Dot The character lasted until 1976, when an industry-wide distribution slump brought an end to most of Harvey's line and most children's comics in general Since that time, the character has undergone several revivals and made scattered television and video appearances, most notably in The Richie Rich Show 1996 and Baby Huey's Great Easter Adventure 1998

Famous Studios filmographyedit

All cartoons listed are entires in the series unless otherwise noted Credited directors for each short are noted

# Title Directed by Story by Animated by Scenics by Original release date
1 "Santa's Surprise" Seymour Kneitel Larz Bourne Myron Waldman and Wm B Pattengill Robert Little December 5, 1947 1947-12-05
As Santa delivers presents to Audrey an all-American girl who lived in New York City and other children from different parts of the world a Dutch boy, a Chinese boy, an African-American boy, a Russian boy, a Hawaiian girl and a Spanish girl, they slip into his sleigh to repay him by cleaning up his house In this story, poor Santa lives a hermit-like existence , without wife or elves to help him maintain his household The kids escape in Santa's sleigh just as he awakes on Christmas morn to find a spotless house and a note that reads, "Don't forget us next year!"
2 "Olive Oyl for President" I Sparber Joe Stultz and Larry Riley Tom Johnson and John Gentilella Tom Ford January 30, 1948 1948-01-30
Audrey appears briefly in a sequence where she's seen pushing a baby carriage, while licking a gigantic ice cream cone nestled inside of it
3 "Butterscotch and Soda" Seymour Kneitel Larz Bourne and Bill Turner Al Eugster, Bill Hudson, and Irving Spector Robert Owen July 16, 1948 1948-07-16
Audrey is confined to her room by her family's maid for wanting to eat candy instead of a nutritionally balanced lunch She then dreams about going to a candy land, feasting on every scrumptious confection imaginable, and getting sick to her stomach while candy monsters narrate her painful plight in a swing song, admonishing her for the pig she's made of herself, which eventually puts her off sweets
4 "The Lost Dream" Bill Tytla Steve Muffatti, Bill Turner,
and Larz Bourne
George Germanetti and Harvey Patterson Shane Miller March 18, 1949 1949-03-18
Audrey has dreams about how dreams are made and cannot resist the temptation to open the Black Door
5 "Song of the Birds" Bill Tytla Bill Turner and Larry Riley George Germanetti and Steve Muffatti Robert Little November 18, 1949 1949-11-18
Audrey is enjoying her air rifle, until she shoots down a baby bird and is filled with remorse until she sees it survived The other birds, however, don't believe she's sincere about her reformation even after she destroys the rifle, until the baby bird proves it
6 "Tarts and Flowers" Bill Tytla Bill Turner and Larry Riley George Germanetti and Steve Muffatti Robert Little May 26, 1950 1950-05-26
While waiting for her cookies to bake, Audrey dreams about a marriage between the Gingerbread Man and Angel Cake about to be terminated by the Devil's Food Cake
7 "Goofy Goofy Gander" Bill Tytla I Klein George Germanetti and Steve Muffatti Anton Loeb August 18, 1950 1950-08-18
When Audrey is sitting in the corner for not paying attention in school, unlike another kids in class; she magically shrinks as Audrey dreams about the Mother Goose Land about to be threatened by a couple of comic book crooks
8 "Hold the Lion Please" I Sparber I Klein Steve Muffatti and George Germanetti Robert Owen August 27, 1951 1951-08-27
Audrey really wants a pet, but she can't afford one At the zoo, she tries to get a baby kangaroo and seal, but their mothers won't let her Audrey then befriends a lion, who scares away the townspeople
9 "Audrey the Rainmaker" I Sparber I Klein Steve Muffatti and Bill Hudson Tom Ford October 26, 1951 1951-10-26
Audrey is so annoyed by the rain, she wishes so strongly it would "never rain again" that her wish is granted Months later, a drought hits the continent hard as a result of her wish, and the flowers in her garden are dying A living drop of water takes her to the Land of the Rainmaker to ask the Rainmaker's forgiveness and to let it rain again
10 "Law and Audrey" I Sparber I Klein Steve Muffatti and Morey Reden Tom Ford May 23, 1952 1952-05-23
Audrey plays baseball with Pal, but she hurts and angers a police man several times, that he chases her, but Audrey rescues him from drowning in a pond
11 "The Case of the Cockeyed
Seymour Kneitel I Klein Steve Muffatti and Morey Reden Robert Connavale December 19, 1952 1952-12-19
Audrey dreams she's a detective complete with deerstalker hat on a case of the murdered Cock Robin She chases the suspect: a cuckoo bird a caricature of Harpo Marx Mary Canary confesses that she only shot Robin with a cupid arrow
12 "Surf Bored" I Sparber Larz Boune Steve Muffatti and Morey Reden Robert Connavale July 17, 1953 1953-07-17
Audrey takes Pal to the beach, regardless that dogs are not allowed As Audrey tries to incessantly keep Pal, she has to rescue the life guard from a giant octopus
13 "The Seapreme Court" Seymour Kneitel Larz Boune Tom Golden and Morey Reden Robert Owen 1953 1953
Audrey falls asleep on a small grass-field island; while fishing, she goes to the seabed and is tried as a criminal in a fish court of law for the murder of fishes with a fishing hook When she is sentenced to the eel-lectric chair, she tries to escape and finds that the events were only a dream
14 "Dizzy Dishes" I Sparber I Klein Tom Golden and Bill Hudson Anton Loeb 1954 1954
While using her contraption to wash dishes for her, Audrey dreams about aliens with the power to disintegrate Only Audrey, with her superweapons, can stop them
15 "Little Audrey Riding Hood" Seymour Kneitel Larz Boune Tom Golden and Morey Reden Robert Connavale October 14, 1955 1955-10-14
Audrey is sent to take a cake to Grandma At Grandma's house, a burglar is robbing the place, and hides in the bed from Audrey Once uncovered, the burglar chases Audrey until Grandma comes to her rescue
16 "Fishing Tackler" I Sparber I Klein Tom Golden and Bill Hudson John Zago March 29, 1957 1957-03-29
Audrey and her dog Pal try to spend a peaceful day fishing, while avoiding the mean old truant officer
17 "Dawg Gawn" Seymour Kneitel Carl Meyer Tom Johnson and Nick Tafuri Robert Owen December 12, 1958 1958-12-12
Pal so much wants to go to school with Audrey, but she shoos him away Audrey then has to rescue Pal from a sadistic dogcatcher

Note 1: These cartoons were rebroadcast as part of The Harveytoons Show aka Casper and Friends, which aired in Canada on the now-defunct network Teletoon Retro
Note 2: The first two cartoons Santa's Surprise and Olive Oyl for President are respectively part of the Noveltoons series for the first, and the Popeye the Sailor series instead for the second
Note 3: The cartoon Song of the Birds is a remake of the homonym Max Fleischer Color Classic cartoon The Song of the Birds, which was released on March 1, 1935


  1. ^ http://nlagovau/nlanews-article23385143
  2. ^ Cartoon Brew article "Facebook Fun" Dated: April 5, 2010 - containing the original 1946 model sheet of Little Audrey by Bill Tytla
  3. ^ Botkin, BA Random House, 1944
  4. ^ "The ETC Sitter," Playful Little Audrey #75 April 1968 Confirmed in "Little Audrey & Melvin and The Secret of Silent Island" issue unknown, where Audrey's friend Lucretia visiting her uncle Bruce Bagley refers to Audrey's mother as "Mrs Smith"
  5. ^ "Paramount/Famous Studios Original Titles, Cartoon Research website Accessed December 12, 2011

External linksedit

    • Little Audrey at Don Markstein's Toonopedia Archived from the original on November 10, 2015
  • ArchiveOrg:
  • Song of the Birds 1935 does not have Audrey but inspired the later adaptation
  • Santa's Surprise 1947
  • Butterscotch and Soda 1948
  • The Lost Dream 1949
  • Tarts and Flowers May 1950
  • Goofy Goofy Gander August 1950
  • Seapreme Court 1954
  • YouTube:
  • Little Audrey Riding Hood 1955

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