First, the name: “loafc”. It’s an acronym for the “Little Orphan Annie Flying Club”. Growing up in the late 1930’s and early 40’s, my late father, Robert F. Savadge (aka “Pop”), listened, along with most of America, to radio serials for entertainment. One of the first radio shows to appeal to juveniles was “Little Orphan Annie” (1930 – 1942). During the early days of World War II, Annie turned from adorable ex-street urchin into a bona-fide Nazi hunter. The show even used its popularity to organize children as “Junior Commandos” to collect newspapers, scrap metal and other recyclables to support the war effort. As a 7-year-old, Pop was a big Annie fan, so when the show introduced the “Little Orphan Annie Flying Club” he was ready to sign up. The Club was a way for the radio listeners to fight the Nazi horde along with Annie. Send in your 10 cents, wait 5 to 6 weeks and your membership package would arrive. The central part of the kit was an pretend airplane cockpit that would allow you to fly along with Annie on her adventures. Pop got his dime and sent off his application. Each day after school, he would rush to the mail box with anticipation, even though he knew there were many weeks to wait. But with every radio show he listened to, his anticipation grew. And just when he though he couldn’t stand it anymore, the package arrived.
But it wasn’t a package, it was just a thick envelope. That’s okay, he thought. Maybe this was only the first part. Surely there is more to come. So Pop tore into the envelope. Inside, he found a piece of cardboard, roughly shaped like an airplane instrument panel. Printed on it were many dials, switches and levers. At the bottom of the panel was a small cup. The instructions inside said to place a pencil (not supplied) into the cup to make the “stick” that would control your airplane. Pop was devastated. At that moment he knew nothing else was coming and that the piece of lousy cardboard was all he was getting for his ten cents.
And so the story of the The Little Orphan Annie Flying Club was born. It became a symbol for anything that proved to be a monumental disappointment to either one of us. And it was the best inside joke a father and son could share.