Annie's actual real-world strip was cancelled by the Tribune syndicate in 2010 --it was down to less than 30 papers, which is hard to imagine from the perspective of 1943, when it appears in hundreds of papers around the world. The storyline ended on a cliffhanger -- Annie and Sandy were presumed lost at sea -- and the story wasn't resolved until Daddy Warbucks showed up in "Dick Tracy" a year or so later to get Tracy in on the case. Since then, Annie and company have shown up in Tracy once a year or so to engage in joint adventures with Tracy, and, as noted, other Tribune syndicate characters occasionally turn up as well. One such crossover even brought in a non-Tribune character, "The Spirit." (Tracy has also fought alongside the Green Hornet, which means that, since the Hornet is the Lone Ranger's grand-nephew, this shared universe goes back to frontier times...)
I remember, in the 70s, after Harold Gray died, that Annie fell on very hard times. There were a couple of different artists who tried to carry on, none of whom could ever capture the feeling of the strip, and eventually the syndicate canned the replacements and went to Harold Gray reruns from the '30s. I remember picking up my Sunday News at the drugstore, and being amazed how much of an improvement there was with the reprints compared to what we'd been getting. They started the reruns with strips from 1937 or so, and I seem to remember them running up until around the start of the Nick Gatt story before they gave the strip to Leonard Starr, who rebooted it to be more in line with the movie. He did a fine job, but for my fifty cents a week, it was never the "real" Annie.
Got it, thank you - I was way off on the timeline you were talking about.