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Baby Esther

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Esther Jones
Baby ESther JONEZ

Name

Baby Esther

Baby Esther was a popular entertainer at Harlem's Cotton Club in the late 1920s. Baby Esther interpolated words such as 'Boo-Boo-Boo' & 'Doo-Doo-Doo' in songs at a cabaret. Helen Kane saw Baby's act in 1928 and used it in her hit song I Wanna Be Loved By You in 1928. An early test sound film was also discovered, which featured Baby Esther performing in this style, disproving Kane's claims. Baby Esther's manager also testified that Helen Kane had saw Baby Esther's cabaret act in 1928. Supreme Court Judge Edward J. McGoldrick ruled: "The plaintiff has failed to sustain either cause of action by proof of sufficient probative force". In his opinion, the "baby" technique of singing did not originate with Kane.

GalleryEdit

InformationEdit

Information provided by Ray Pointer(Fleischer Historian):  The film of "Baby" Esther was a double system sound technique like Vitaphone. Lou Fleischer told me the whole story. The film did not "break" at the point of the Boop-Oop-a-Doop part. They did not show this in court. What happened was the print has been spliced in several places due to breakage and went out of sync at the crucial point due to the lost frames. Lou and Kitty Pfister, head Film Cutter stayed up all night locating spots to insert black film slugs to replace the lost frames to put the crucial spot back in sync. A new married print with optical sound was produced, the Paramount News Lab being kept open all night waiting for this to present as evidence the next morning. The remark about Justice McGoldrick being "bribed" is a conclusion not based on fact. There was enough remaining evidence to prove Miss Kane's case. However since there is a Film Faily Trade Ad that places a picture of Helen Kane next to an early version of Betty Boop. Further evidence can be found in the tampering with the original negative to "Stopping the Show", which was built around Mae Questel's stage act impressions, which prompted Max Fleischer in hiring her. This is the first official Betty Boop cartoon which consists of a series of contemporary celebrities.  Each is introduced by a photograph of that celebrity with animated lips and the voice of that celebrity coming from the picture. Only the voice of Maurice Chevalier is authentic.  The voice of Fanny Brice is an imitation by Mae Questel. Oddly, the sequence begins with Betty going right into "That's My Weakness Now", a song made popular by Helen Kane.  This song is not set up by the celebrity picture on the easel as the others are. You hear an audio splice from the audience applause going to the song.  At two points there is a Long Shot, one of which Pans from the stage to the audience. In the backround is an image on a easel that looks like the image of Helen Kane. Why else would it be there? This direct reference to Helen Kane was deliberately removed from the negative so that a new print could be shown in court that would not indicate an edit. But it clearly was removed from the negative. Paramount took advantage of the ignorance of film technology on the part of court, which accepted what they saw not knowing what had been done to alter the evidence.

Lou WaltonEdit

Lou Walton (Sometimes his second name is mistaken for Bolton) was Baby Esther's manager.  Baby Esther did not attend the trial, but Lou Walton spoke in the Fleischers and Paramounts defence.


Defence Attorney: What sounds did she (Baby Esther) interpolate?

Lou Walton: Boo-Boo-Boo! (Recited Bolton)

Defence Attorney: What other sounds?

Lou Walton: Doo-Doo-Doo

Defence Attorney: Any others?

Lou Walton: Yes, Wha-Da-Da-Da (Said Bolton tiring a little)

The court stenographer broke down at this point, He threw his hands into the air as a gesture of despair and announced he would need aid in spelling the "meaningless sounds" .

Bolton could not give him any aid, Philips did however. 

Other defence witnesses were Bonnie Poe and Margie Hines who's voices were used in the Betty Boop films.




The Afro American Newspaper (1934)Edit

In 1934 the Afro American newspaper stated:

Baby Esther originated the Boop-a-Doop style of singing, and Helen Kane white movie an radio star barefacedly swiped it and made a fortune from it a court trial reveals as Miss Kane sues imitators, "Mae Questel, Bonnie Poe, Little Ann Little, Kate Wright, Margie Hines of the Boop style. T'would be logical now for Baby Esther to sue Miss Kane to even things all around.

The Boop Song Is TracedEdit

Witness in Helen Kane's Suit Says Negro Girl Originated Style.

Evidence that syllables similar to Helen Kane's "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" were sung before she began to use them was offered before Supreme Court Justice McGoldrick yesterday in the trial of Miss Kane's $250,000 suit against Max Fleischer, the Fleischer Studios and the Paramount Publix Corporation on the grounds that they imitated her (Helen's) style in the Betty Boop cartoons. Lou Walton, theatrical manager testified that Baby Esther a Negro girl under his management has iterpolated words like "boo-boo-boo" and "doo-doo-doo" in songs at a cabaret here in 1928.

Oyla (Cosplay Artist)Edit

A photo of a cosplayer by the name of Olya Gussy  who posed in several photographs as Betty Boop in which went viral and has been seen by millions of people on the internet where the photo has been mistaken as Baby Esther, and or Helen Kane.

$250,000 LawsuitEdit

TriviaEdit

  • Scholar Robert O' Meally said, Betty Boop was an imitation of a imitation and had, as it were, a black grandmother in her backround.
  • Baby Esther was presumed dead by 1934, just when the lawsuit had ended.
  • Lou Walton testified for the defense. Bolton testified that nine years ago in Chicago he taught Baby Esther a negro child under his management to interpolate "do-do-de-do-ho-de-wa-da-de-da" between the bars of music in popular songs, which means the scat lyrics produced wasn't actually Boo Boo Boo's & Doo Doo Doo, but later adapted to Boop.
  • Esther's manager also testified that Helen Kane & her manager saw baby's act somewhere between 1928-1929.
  • Baby Esther made funny expressions and interpolated meaningless sounds at the end of each bar of music in the songs that she performed to the audience in the Cotton Club in Harlem.
  • Baby Esther's photograph was taken by an African American photographer by the name of James Van Der best known for his portraits of black new yorkers, most of the photographs he took were around the Cotton Club in Harlem. Esther posed for James with a bouquet of flowers, the photograph taken is classed as Harlem Lady and Harlem Girl and or Pretty Girl and also College Girl which would indicate that if the photo was taken somewhere around 1927-1928, Baby would have been a young woman, most likely a teenager, as in her early cabaret acts in the early 20's she was a child performer.
  • Baby Esther is not to be mistaken for Little Esther another African American child performer who debuted in the 1950's, and is better known as Esther Phillips.
  • The second name "Jones" was the real second name of "Esther Phillips".

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