"Save for a rainy day."
She saves, but every time it rains
She spends what she puts away.
She knows her proverbs, A to Z,
And knows the good they bring.
But when she has to follow them,
Well, that's another thing.
Oh, Little Audrey says
"While the sun is out, make hay."
Though she's not immense,
There's a lot of sense
In what Little Audrey has to say.
Little Audrey is a folkloric character who "starred" in a plethora of mostly bad jokes dating back to the turn of the 20th century that went something 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."
Starting in 1947, she became a cartoon character from Famous Studios, made during The Golden Age of Animation. Her creation was spurred when the studio grew tired of paying royalties to produce Little Lulu cartoons and decided to create a similar character they could use for no cost and whose name also happened to be more famous. (During World War II there are many examples of bomber planes and even tanks named after her.) Audrey was originally voiced by Mae Questel, who also voiced Betty Boop and Olive Oyl in the Popeye cartoons. During her Famous Studios years, she starred in a fair amount of cartoons between 1947 to 1958. In 1948, Audrey would receive her own comic book series by St. John Publications. Then in 1952, Harvey Comics obtained the rights to Little Audrey, and has been the character's sole publisher ever since.
After many years of disuse, Audrey has returned as one of the tritagonists (alongside fellow Harvey stars Little Dot and Little Lotta) of the Netflix series Harvey Street Kids.
- Santa's Surprise: December 5, 1947 Public Domain.
- Olive Oyl For President (Not a Little Audrey cartoon, but she does make a brief cameo in it): January 30, 1948
- Butterscotch And Soda: July 16, 1948 Public Domain.
- The Lost Dream: March 18, 1949
- Song of the Birds (a semi-remake of the 1930's Max Fleischer Color Classics short of the same name): November 18, 1949
- Tarts and Flowers: May 26, 1950 Public Domain.
- Goofy Goofy Gander: August 18, 1950 Public Domain.
- Hold the Lion, Please: August 27, 1951
- Audrey the Rainmaker: October 26, 1951
- Law and Audrey: May 23, 1952
- The Case of the Cockeyed Canary: December 19, 1952
- Surf Bored: July 17, 1953
- The Seapreme Court: January 29, 1954 Public Domain.
- Dizzy Dishes note : February 4, 1955
- Little Audrey Riding Hood: October 14, 1955
- Fishing Tackler: March 29, 1957
- Dawg Gawn: December 12, 1958
- Adaptation Dye-Job:
- Harvey Comics changed her from a redhead to a brunette.
- The color of Audrey's dress varies across media. In the cartoons, she wears a blue dress. In the St. John Publications comics, her dress is yellow. In the Harvey Comics, Audrey's dress is red.
- Alien Invasion: The dream theme for "Dizzy Dishes".
- All Just a Dream: Most if not all of her shorts. Not so much in the comics, although there are a few memorable ones; Audrey figures out how to do Shapeshifting and disguises herself in various ways (including an adult version of herself); in another, she channels electricity; in another she has Super-Strength, mostly for knocking things over (she wakes up yelling "Whee! I can wreck anything!" and promptly knocks over a lamp); having read about King Midas while her mom's making fudge ("A Sweet Touch", Little Audrey & Melvin November 1965), she dreams of having a magic candy touch, which is just great until she dives into the ocean and it turns into fudge; she's suffocating until she wakes up and her mom's standing there with fresh fudge and she runs away saying "I'm up to here in fudge!"
- Beach Episode: "Surf Bored".
- The Cameo: As noted, Audrey cameos in the Popeye cartoon "Olive Oyl For President."
- Captain Ersatz: Little Audrey was created so Paramount wouldn't have to pay Lulu's creator Marge Henderson Buell royalties for rights to the character.
- Cheerful Child: Audrey, when she's not being a brat, is a sweet, adventurous and imaginative little girl.
- Comedic Spanking: Audrey got it from her parents on a regular basis.
- Couch Gag: Much like her predecessor Little Lulu, Audrey's earlier cartoons had sight gags during the titles. The second one, the last before the title card, usually had Audrey doing something in relation to the short. It made its last appearance in "Audrey the Rainmaker".
- Disproportionate Retribution: In "The Seapreme Court"; Audrey is wrongly tried for the suffering of many fish in the sea just because she's the first human they've manage to capture, and is sentenced to the Eee-lectric chair. Thankfully, it was all just a dream.
- Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: In "The Lost Dream", the Sandman and Audrey's dream warn Audrey not to open a door marked "Danger". She does so anyway, and she releases nightmares into Dreamland.
- Dream Land: Pretty much a theme in several Audrey cartoons.
- Dunce Cap: Audrey wears one in "Goofy Goofy Gander" after getting caught reading comic books in class.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: The Famous Studios theme song, "Little Audrey Says", had a swing arrangement with a more prominent brass section and sax in "Butterscotch and Soda". It was sped up with more vocalization beginning with "The Lost Dream" and used until "Dizzy Dishes".
- Eat the Camera: Inverted, in "Butterscotch and Soda"; the camera zooms out of Audrey's screaming mouth when she hallucinates her pet bird turning into a vampire bat.
- Electric Torture: The 'Eee-lectric' chair that Audrey gets sentenced to by the end of the cartoon 'The Seapreme Court'.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Many of the shorts end with Audrey laughing.
- Evil Is Petty: Pinhead and Birdbrain, the comic book characters Audrey reads about in "Goofy Goofy Gander", beat up a pig and steal his penny in her dream.
- As noted above, Audrey is this to Lulu.
- Likewise, Audrey's friends and family are quite similar to Lulu's:
- Melvin = Tubby
- Lucretia = Annie
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith = George and Martha Moppet
- Force Feeding / I Taste Delicious: The candy people in "Butterscotch and Soda" when Audrey's dream turns into a nightmare.
- Guilt-Induced Nightmare: In "The Seapreme Court", Audrey goes fishing for fun and has a nightmare wherein several sea creatures arrest her. She is put on trial and eventually gets sentenced to the eel-ectric chair. When Audrey awakens, she releases a fish that she caught into the water and snaps her fishing rod.
- Heart Beats out of Chest: Has this happen in the cartoon "Hold the Lion, Please", when she stumbles into a lion cage and comes face to snout with the beast.
- Holy Halo: When Audrey graduated to her own Famous Studios series, the opening credits had an illustration where Audrey puts a tack on an unsuspecting student's seat. She waits with a smile on her face and a halo above her head.
- Kangaroo Court: "The Seapreme Court".
- Level Ate: Audrey's dream in "Butterscotch and Soda" has her end up in a world made of sweets.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In "Song of the Birds", after shooting down a baby bird with her toy gun and thinking she killed it, Audrey becomes deeply remorseful and spends the whole night sobbing. Thankfully, the bird turns out okay.
- Nursery Rhyme: The cartoon "Goofy Goofy Gander" has 'Mother Goose rhymes' as the theme for Audrey's dream adventure.
- Only One Name: Until the comics, where her last name is Smith.
- Public Domain Animation: a few shorts have slipped into the public domain and can be found on a number of cheap VHS and DVDs.
- "Butterscotch and Soda" has several references to The Lost Weekend.
- Audrey's candy addiction mirrors Don Birnam's alcoholism. The title is even a play on the mixed drink Scotch and Soda.
- The maid discovers bags of candy outside of Audrey's window and lifts a line from the film when she confines Audrey to her room for the weekend. The bags are labeled "Friday", "Saturday", "Sunday", "Monday" "And Always", a nod to "Sunday, Monday or Always" which Frank Sinatra had then recently covered.
- Audrey imagining her pet bird turning into a bat and swooping down on her is based on a scene where Don hallucinates a bat swooping down on a mouse. Audrey discovering the bag on her light fixture is also lifted from the film.
- "Butterscotch and Soda" has several references to The Lost Weekend.
- Signs of Disrepair: On a comic book coloring page, Audrey leaves an amusement park in disarray. She crosses out the first "M" and writes a "B" over it on the sign, making it say "Abusement Park".
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: The 1950 short "Tarts and Flowers" has the villainous Devil Food Cake interrupt a wedding to steal the bride right as the priest says, "If anyone knows why these sweet things should not wed, speak now!"
- Spiders Are Scary: In the comic books, Audrey's father is a very nervous man (this is partly put down to his job) and Audrey usually tries to take pains not to frighten or upset him, often leading to Unwanted Assistance. In one story he tries to cure himself and asks Audrey to try to scare him, so she uses a giant rubber spider on a stick, saying "he gets the willies when he sees spiders." (He's secretly watching her to see what she does ahead of time, so he can be prepared!)
- The Remake: 1949's "Song of The Birds" was a remake of the 1935 Color Classic "The Song of The Birds".
- The Rock Star: A multi-episode tale, curiously enough this was not All Just a Dream but meant to be entirely real. Audrey and her friends discover toy musical instruments abandoned in a vacant lot, so they "impramize" and make up tunes, with lyrics about demanding an increased allowance, going on strike, etc. A music promoter hears them and thinks "Holy Gene Pitney!!" and immediately gets them signed up with a record company. The entire life cycle of the Rock Star is shown, the kids record an album and do a concert tour to promote it. All the songs are about "gimme, gimme, gimme" and the melodies are so infectious that every child who hears it is hypnotized becoming selfish, greedy brats with endless demands to their worked-to-death parents. The band finally witness some of this on their travels and promptly decide, not to change their music, but to quit. Audrey has one last song:There's a lot I need, it's trueBut there's one thing I've learned — so must you;Or you're nothing — and you'll never learn!
- In "The Reluctant Beagle" (Little Audrey & Melvin, November 1965) Melvin is mistaken for Stingo Stark from the famed British group The Beagles, and has to go along with it fearing the mobs of hysterical fans will beat him to death if they find out he's not. Fortunately, he has a pleasant singing voice and knows some Beagle songs, impressing the mayor and other adults. The fans aren't fooled, though — Audrey realizes they know he's a fake because the real Beagles sing "rotten"!
- The Television Talks Back: In "Tarts and Flowers", Audrey listens to cooking instructions on a radio. The announcer says "Beat it." which Audrey takes to mean leaving before he clarifies the cake mix should be beaten.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In "The Lost Dream", when she opens a door clearly marked "DANGER" in Dreamland despite repeated warnings not to do so, and unleashes several hellish and maniacal creatures for her troubles. She then snaps back to reality.
- Would Hurt a Child: Audrey's Electric Torture at the end of The Seapreme Court