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About Betty Boop

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About Betty Boop

by Mark Lamendola
She just caught my fancy, so I did some research....

Betty Boop, the first female flapper cartoon, made her first appearance on August 9, 1930 in the cartoon Dizzy Dishes. She appeared in the Talkartoon and Betty Boop series of films produced by Max Fleischer and released by Paramount Pictures.

With her overt sexuality, Betty was a hit with theater-goers, and despite having been toned down in the mid-1930s, she remains popular today for this portrayal of sexuality. Betty Boop memorabilia maintains a high value and collectability to this day.

The voices of Betty Boop

  • Margie Hines (1930, 1938-1939)
  • Ann Rothschild (1931-1933)
  • Mae Questel (1931-1938, 1988)
  • Kate Wright (1932, 1938)
  • Bonnie Poe (1933-1934, 1938)
  • Desiree Goyette (1985)
  • Melissa Fahn (1989)
  • Tara Strong (commercials)
  • Cindy Robinson (presently the official voice)

Betty Boop is commonly considered to have been one of the first sex symbols on the animated screen, having arisen from the Jazz era. Notice her flapper look?

Because her fans were primarily adults, the cartoons featuring Betty Boops included many sexual elements and innuendos. You see this right away, in her big eyelashes and short dresses.

Her Minnie the Moocher character had a long run, appearing in songs and various cartoons. Minnie was a runaway, and her boyfriend had the odd name of Bimbo.

The original "Minnie the Moocher" episode established Betty Boop as a cartoon star. The eight Talkartoons that followed all starred Betty. And they led to the Betty Boop series that started in 1932. That series replaced the Talkartoons and rand for the next seven years.

There wasn't much Betty Boop after that, though there was a big lawsuit (filed by Helen Kane) in 1932. Then, in the 1980s, she suddenly became popular. It was cool to have Betty Boop memorabilia. People were buying Betty Boop on VHS. She even appeared in Who Framed Peter Rabbit in 1988.

Today, of course, the original creative folks behind Betty Boop are no longer with us. And, really, neither is the original Betty Boop. She's now in color (rather than black and white) and is a bit updated to fit with the times. She's also used differently than her creators might have imagined she ever would be. Yet, Betty Boop posters are very popular regardless of the era represented.

Also popular are the Betty Boop movies, and of course not just on old VHS being hawked at flea markets or some place like that. Yes, you can get Betty Boop on DVD. And not just stuff that was previously on VHS. There are still new releases coming out, and it looks like there always will be.

Betty has ventured beyond film and posters, though. In 2010, the United Football League made her their official fantasy cheerleader. The league's promotors plan a line of Betty Boop merchandise to be marketed and sold to the league's female demographic. Both men and women like Betty Boop. Her sexiness, once considered cutting edge, is cute by today's standards. That cuteness is probably why Betty seems right for our (raunchy) times.

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