Considering the remake of “Annie” with Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz did relatively well at the box office during the 2014 holiday season ($84 million domestically), I figured it would be a good time to point out a great theme park nod the original film.
The original film version of “Annie” was adapted for the big screen in 1982 after a successful Broadway run where it was adapted into a musical.
In reality, the franchise started off as a comic strip in 1924 by artist Harold Gray known as Little Orphan Annie. Even though the newest remake was set in modern times, the original 1982 film version was set during the Great Depression in Manhattan.
If you ever find yourself wandering through the streets of New York at Universal Studios Florida, you’ll see this sign. However, if you look closely you’ll notice the Hudson Street Home for Girls sign near the current Ben and Jerry’s location directly across from the arcade. Indeed, this is a small tribute to the original “Annie” film made back in 1982, but in reality it’s more of a tribute to a real location still in Manhattan today.
Opened in 1906, The Hudson Street Home for Girls was a place for young women to rent out a room for $4 a week. That would get you a single room with a bed, a table plus breakfast and dinner for the week. Through the generosity of a man named William Martin, he provided a place for girls of “marrying age” to live and as long as they paid the rent, they could come and go as they pleased.
Here is an actual quote from the New York Times about the Home for Girls: “Girls of gentleness and refinement do not care to be courted upon the open highway, nor in public parks, and thus the world is filling with spinsters who, according to Mr. Martin, had they a proper place in which to entertain their admirers, would develop into happy, excellent wives and still happier mothers.”
In reality, William didn’t want women living on the street and if they earned enough money and thus had a few skills to stay at the Home, then they would have a solid shot at marrying a man who could take care of them and they might be able to move out.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when Universal Studios Florida was built, it prided itself in the authenticity of looking like real locations within New York City, which makes it stand out from the backlot built at the Disney/MGM Studios. So is this a tribute to “Annie?” Yes. However, it’s more of a nod to a real location in Manhattan.
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