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Artist Denies Miss Kane Was His Inspiration (1934)

Max Fleischer testifies he saw her once in 1928, but he was not influenced.

The great Boop-Boop-a-Doop trial went Booping along in supreme court today with Artist Max Fleischer denying he had used Helen Kane as an unwitting model for his animated Betty Boop cartoons.

Betty Boop, Fleischer testified, is purely a product of the imaginations of himself and members of his staff.

Asks $250,000

Miss Kane, who claims to have originated the idea of interspersing a catchy little "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" now and then when snging a song is seeking $250,000 damages from Fleischer, the Fleischer Studios, Inc. and Paramount Publix Corporation on the ground the Betty Boop cartoons are based on her personality and style of singing.

Asked if he had ever seen Miss Kane perform before he began drawing Betty Boop cartoons in 1930, Fleischer recalled an entertainment at which she sang in 1928. Her numbers were rewarded by "great applause," he added.

"Aren't you influenced," Miss Kane's lawyer asked, "by the people you meet in life when you create a cartoon character?"

"Not exactly," replied Fleischer. "Is the hairdress of Betty Boop one of the figments of your imagination?"

"Yes," said the artist. The attorney previously had observed that Betty Boop and Miss Kane affected similar coiffures.

"When you saw Miss Kane in 1928," he pursued, "did you look at her nonchalently or studiosly?"

Defense counsel objected and Justice McGoldrick told Fleischer he need now answer.

In creating Betty Boop, the cartoonist said his principal contributions had been the rolling eyes and mature figure.

Feather Gets in Way

Miss Kane, who says she has been "Booping" since 1920, listened closely to Fleischer's testimony. She wore a flaming red hat with a long brown feather that had a habit of tickling her attorney's ear when he bent over to confer with her. Further testimony as to whether the cartoons constituted "unfair competition" will be presented tomorrow.

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