Little Audrey facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsLittle Audrey
Little Audrey in a scene from "The Seapreme Court" (1953)
|First appearance||Noveltoon Santa's Surprise (December 5, 1947)|
|Created by||Seymour Kneitel
Bill Tytla (design)
|Portrayed by||Mae Questel
Tabitha St. Germain
Little Audrey (full name: Audrey Smith) is a fictional character, appearing in early 20th century folklore prior to starring 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 (a.k.a. "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, on which he also worked and for which he directed several shorts). 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.
The Famous/Harvey character
Little Audrey's last name is Smith.
Little Audrey has reddish brown hair with ribbons making three pigtails (two low and one high). 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. In Harvey Street Kids, she wears a pink shirt with jeans.
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 media
While the jokes remained popular well into the 1980s, the Famous/Harvey character had an entirely different career:
Little Audrey was going to have a cameo in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but rights to the character could not be obtained in time.
Animation historian Jerry Beck notes that Famous Studios' animator Steve Muffatti 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 Comics.
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 24 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 prankish hero/boyfriend, and Tiny, a young African American 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 had 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 Little 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 filmography
All cartoons listed are entries 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|
|As Santa delivers presents to Audrey (an all-American girl who lived in Manhattan, New York City) and other children from different countries (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|
|Audrey appears briefly in a sequence where she is 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|
|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 (such as the spoof of The Lost Weekend), 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 has 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|
|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|
|Audrey is enjoying her air rifle until she shoots down a baby bird and is filled with remorse, then she sees that it survived. The other birds, however, do not believe that she is 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|
|While waiting for her cookies to bake, Audrey dreams about a marriage between the Gingerbread Man and the Angel Food Cake that is 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|
|When Audrey is sitting in the corner for not paying attention in school, unlike the other kids in the class; she magically shrinks, then Audrey dreams that Mother Goose Land is 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|
|Audrey really wants a pet, but she cannot afford one. At the zoo, she tries to get a baby kangaroo and seal, but their mothers will not 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|
|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|
|Audrey plays baseball with Pal, but she hurts and angers a policeman several times so that he chases her, but Audrey rescues him from drowning in a pond.|
|11||"The Case of the Cockeyed Canary"||Seymour Kneitel||I. Klein||Steve Muffatti and Morey Reden||Robert Cannavale||December 19, 1952|
|Audrey dreams that she is a detective (complete with deerstalker hat) on the 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 Bourne||Steve Muffatti and Morey Reden||Robert Cannavale||July 17, 1953|
|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 Bourne||Tom Golden and Morey Reden||Robert Owen||29 January 1954|
|Audrey falls asleep on a small grass-field island; while fishing, she goes to the sea bed 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 (a chair made from electric eels), 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||4 January 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 Bourne||Tom Golden and Morey Reden||Robert Cannavale||October 14, 1955|
|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|
|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|
|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 (a.k.a. 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.
Little Audrey Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.