Betty Boop is the main character of the series. She is a female cartoon character best known for her "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" catchphrase, which is usually followed by a "Bop", which is a high-pitched squeak that is often incorporated into her "Boop" routine and is notable for her baby-talk and scat singing. Betty is also known as Baby Boop or Bitsy Boop. Betty Boop is a light-hearted flapper reminding the audience of the carefree times of the Jazz Age. She was the first character on the animation screen to represent a sexual woman. All other cartoon girls of that time did not differ much from animated male characters, with only eyelashes, voice and outfit alterations to show their femininity. In Betty's earlier cartoons, male characters liked to put moves on Betty, and generally she provoked that. Besides, there was a certain girlishness in her personality, which was emphasized by her style of singing, sentimentality, and overall flapper-like behavior. Betty Boop's look was inspired by flappers of the 1920s, most notably Clara Bow. Betty and Clara were often compared to one another, most significantly in Hollywood on Parade No. A-8. After the series rolled on, Betty Boop's mannerisms and traits were later based on Mae Questel, who often did the voice on a regular basis, starting from 1931. One of Betty Boop's traits taken from Questel was impersonation, which was Questel's speciality. Betty Boop first appeared in the 1930 Talkartoon entitled Dizzy Dishes, which was released in 1930, as a plump anthropomorphic French poodle, and was first portrayed by Margie Hines. The character was retired in 1939, but was later rediscovered in the 1970s. Betty didn't quite make an impact until the 1980s, in which she became an iconic figure of the past, and is still very popular today, and has millions of fans all around the world.
Max Fleischer's Betty Boop
According to Max Fleischer, Betty Boop is made of pen and ink, and she lives inside the inkwell. When Betty is drawn, like her predecessor Koko the Clown, she is instantly brought to life. Most of the cartoons Betty Boop appears in are in the public domain.
Betty Boop Reimagined (2017)
On the 19th of October, 2017 Betty Boop was given a brand new design, in which also changed the shape of her head. The design first appeared in Elle magazine in early April, 2017. Since the new design made its debut, several manufacturers began rolling out products based on it. The new Betty Boop merchandise is titled Betty Boop Now, and had been in development for the past 18 months by King Features and the Fleischer Studios and the leading design partners. King Features creative team spent the past year and a half researching, refreshing and reimagining Betty. According to Carla Silva, King Features VP and GM, Global Head of Licensing; "As we continue to showcase Betty Boop Now, out licensees tell us they are excited to see that the new look resonates with today's young woman. With realistic proportions and apparel choice that show her sassy attitude and style, Betty Boop Now is more expressive. She has a wide range of facial expressions and a more animated mouth through which she can voice her opinion and make her thoughts heard. Young women can really respond to that portrayal of individuality." The franchise was first branded by a Boston-based company called Bare Tree Media who launched its Betty Boop Now iMessage sticker packs in July as a part of its promotional celebration for World Emoji Day. Tilibra created a set of collection of notebooks featuring Betty. This fall Zazzle began debuting the Betty Boop Now Collection of their website. And Acco/Mead have plans to use Betty Boop Now artwork for their 2019 calendar.
Betty is aged 13-16 in the original cartoon series from 1932-1934. In her earlier Talkartoons appearances she is portrayed as an anthropomorphic female dog (French poodle). From 1935-1939 Betty is shown living in her own residence, going to work and/or owning her own business. In the updated specials that were made in the 1980s (The Romance of Betty Boop and Betty Boop's Hollywood Mystery), Betty is identified as a woman. One reference in Betty Boop's Hollywood Mystery by Lola DaVille indicates that Betty is over the age of 16. Lola DaVille: "Seize that woman! How dare you steal my treasure you little guttersnipe! Somebody call the police." Betty's official age is not stated on her website but it could be assumed that her age range is somewhere around 18-20 due to her risqué nature, as in 2005 she was the official mascot for Hooters. Being a fictional character makes her age irrelevant. In fictional franchises, character concept design and character age range can be changed to suit the expectations of the demographic in which the said companies who own these fictional characters are trying to reach out to. In media today, Betty is classed as being an 80-year-old due to her creation in 1930. As of 2018, Betty will be an 88-year-old. The Betty Boop Zombie Love franchise that debuted in 2013 makes fun of Betty's age, only with that franchise Betty is undead. Films featuring zombies have been a part of cinema since the 1930s, with White Zombie (directed by Victor Halperin in 1932) being one of the earliest examples. According to an early Fleischer Studios promo featuring Betty, Betty Boop is 16 and will always stay 16.
Betty has an affinity for the colors black and red, she wears a short dress, and a garter on her left leg. Her breasts are highlighted with a low, contoured neckline that shows off her cleavage. In color Betty wears a red dress and red high heels with gold hoop earrings and gold bangles on each arm.
Betty is known to have blue eyes but can sometimes be seen with green eyes in official artworks where as classic Betty Boop has black eyes with no color. Art featuring Betty Boop is printed in black & white the dotted lines indicating her eye irises do not appear. Betty's eyes are made up of only a black pupil and white eyeball. When printed in color Betty's irises print PMS 351 leaving the triangular highlights in the white pupils. The black dotted lines indicating Betty's irises never print. In special instances, the iris may be defined by a solid black line but only with permission of the Licensing Art Director. Betty Boop's eyes were altered in the Lancome Paris Star Eyes commercial, and she can also be seen sporting eye shadow.
Black (Classic), Blue/Aquamarine (Poor Cinderella & Official), Green (Official).
Betty's official hair color is black but she was a red head in the 1934 short entitled Poor Cinderella. At that time there were several different color processes being tried. Walt Disney has secured exclusive rights from 1932-1935 to use what was called the 3-strip Technicolor process. Because Technicolor was unavailable to them in 1934, the Fleischers turned to another color process called Cinecolor in order to make the film. The animators made Betty's hair red in order to take best advantage of the limited color in this process. Betty Boop's official hair color is black and her hair is red in Poor Cinderella (Cinecolor) and several 1930s Fleischer Studios Adverts.
Race & Religion
Betty Boop is Caucasian and is Jewish but unlike her parents Mr. & Mrs. Boop, Betty does not follow strict Jewish sects.
Betty Boop's Family
Grampy (Grandfather), Mr. & Mrs. Boop (Mother & Father), Billy Boop (Brother), Bubby Boop (Brother), Aunt Tillie (Aunt), Uncle Mischa (Uncle), Irving (Cousin), Buzzy Boop (Cousin), Junior (Nephew), Quintet Kiddies (Betty Boop's adopted children), 17 Kids (Betty Boop & Bimbo's children in The Bum Bandit, Wicked Queen (Betty Boop's wicked-stepmother in Snow White and Grandma (Betty Boop's Grandmother) in Dizzy Red Riding Hood. Some of Betty's family members can fall into the category of non-canon. In the 1930s Betty Boop comic series, in one strip Betty's whole family gather at her home, but in the comic it doesn't mention their relation to Betty. Tillie, Bubby and Billy later stopped appearing in the series, and the series then followed Betty alone on her career. It is assumed that the boy who makes a cameo appearance in the "family mob scene" is either Bubby or Billy, most likely being Bubby due to the hairstyle.
The character was originally created as an plump anthropomorphic French poodle, which was originally a take on Helen Kane, who's career had ended with Paramount a year later. The nameless character was only meant to have made a one-shot appearance, but the public loved the character so Paramount & the Fleischer Studios continued to develop the character. After the release of the 1930 short Barnacle Bill, Betty had became slimmer and her design was tweaked. Betty's skin tone was also shaded darker in two shorts that followed Barnacle Bill. The cartoons were Mysterious Mose and The Bum Bandit.
In 1931, Betty's snout had became a button nose, her official design was similar to that of her human form only she was still an anthropomorphic French poodle. In 1932 (Betty can be seen without her ears in various Talkartoon releases in 1931 but it wasn't official until 1932), her floppy, poodle ears became hoop earrings and the character was later changed into a human and then started appearing in her own series as the main protagonist. The original canine Betty Boop with the snout was classed as ugly by her creators, due to the fact that she pulled some really ugly faces in her first appearance.
Betty Boop Cloned
Betty Boop's Residence
In the Betty Boop cartoon series Betty is seen living in a different home in each and every episode. In Bimbo's Express Betty is shown moving home, which indicates that she might do that on a regular basis, Where as in Minnie the Moocher Betty is shown to live with her parents. Following the later series Betty lives alone and sometimes with Pudgy.
Helen Kane Look & Sound-alike Contests
Paramount Publix & the Fleischer Studios held a contest to find local talent, which was sponsored by Helen Kane. In one contest second place went to Jo Miller in one of the many contests that had been held by Paramount. Helen Kane opened her "Helen Kane Impersonation Contest" and it was held through the country to all local girls in which was judged by Helen Kane and the audience. The girl who looked and sung like Helen and "Boop-Boop-a-Dooped" most successfully was the winner. Mae Questel won first place in the final Helen Kane impersonation contest held at the Riverside Theatre in New York. Second place was a tie with Bonnie Poe and Margie Hines. Helen Kane: "I held amateur contests for amateurs that I thought it would be fun and would stimulate business in the theatre. We had Helen Kane's "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" contests and these girls came in and I heard them personally myself, and selected them, and then they appeared at the theatre one night during the week and they sang and they were awarded $25, or maybe a dress." Margie Hines won three "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" contests and then went on to create the voice for Betty Boop." Helen Kane had even autographed a photo to Mae Questel that said, "To Another Me." All the girls who entered the contests were given cash prizes and jewelry. Mae later heard there was an audition for Betty Boop, so she auditioned for the role and was given a contract by the Fleischers, and started voicing Betty Boop in 1931, sharing the role with Kate Wright, Ann Rothschild, Margie Hines & Bonnie Poe. According to Little Ann Little who dubbed herself the original Betty Boop girl, she didn't enter an amateur Helen Kane contest and had been singing baby songs since 1925. The Helen Kane contests are a vital part of "Boop" history, because most of the women who entered became the official voice of Betty Boop.
The original voices of Betty Boop were, Margie Hines, Little Ann Little, Mae Questel, Bonnie Poe and Kate Wright. Melissa Fahn was initially the modern day voice of Betty Boop, but later retired from the role. In 2014, Betty was voiced by Heather Halley and Camilla Bard. Today Betty Boop is officially voiced by voice actress Cindy Robinson, who states that her Betty Boop voice is sultry and sexy.
Betty Boop has appeared in person in two official live-action shorts by Paramount Pictures.
Musical Justice (1931)
Hollywood on Parade (1933)
Betty is portrayed by Bonnie Poe in Hollywood on Parade No. A-8, alongside Bela Lugosi. Bonnie Poe performs "My Silent Love" in a live-action sequence. Poe is often mistaken for Mae Questel and Helen Kane during her role as Betty Boop in Hollywood on Parade No. A-8. Helen Kane made a small cameo appearance a year before Betty's live-action appearance in Hollywood on Parade No. A-2, and two years prior she was featured in Paramount on Parade in her own skit performing a "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" number.
$250,000 Infringement Lawsuit
In May 1932, Helen Kane filed a $250,000 infringement lawsuit against Max Fleischer and Paramount Publix Corporation for the "deliberate caricature" that produced "unfair competition", exploiting her personality and image. While Kane had risen to fame in the late 1920s as "The Boop-Oop-A-Doop Girl," a star of stage, recordings, and films for Paramount, her career was nearing its end by 1931. Paramount promoted the development of Betty Boop following Kane's decline. The case was brought in New York in 1934. Although Kane's claims seemed to be valid on the surface, it was proven that her appearance was not unique. Both Kane and the Betty Boop character bore resemblance to Paramount top-star Clara Bow. The most significant evidence against Kane's case was her claim as to the uniqueness of her scat singing style in which she had adapted from an African-American child performer from Chicago who went by the name of Baby Esther, but was better known as Little Esther. Testimony revealed that Kane had witnessed the seven-year-old Little Esther Lee Jones, using a similar scat singing style in her act at the Everglades Nite Club. An early test sound film was also discovered which featured Esther Jones performing in this style disproving Kane's claims that she was the first to "Boop-a-Doop". It later came out that Kane's style was not unique, and other performers had done it before her. Kane is said to have adapted the scat singing style she heard as performed by Esther and had made it famous. The origination of the style points to Baby Esther's predecessors Florence Mills and Gertrude Saunders, and general African-American night clubs where the scat singing technique is said to have originated. The only claim Kane had that was valid in court was that her "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" routine had antecedent Betty Boop's, as her look was not unique and the baby singing style was quite common among a number of singers. Grim Natwick who created Betty Boop, admitted that he had used a photograph of Helen Kane to create Betty Boop for the 1930 Talkartoon short Dizzy Dishes, but in court Helen couldn't prove this, with most of her claims being thrown out by the judge.
Victory Newsreel (1934)
Max Fleischer responded to the Helen Kane by releasing a Fleischer Victory Newsreel, which featured five of the women who provided the voice for Betty Boop. Mae Questel, Margie Hines, Little Ann Little, Bonnie Poe & Kate Wright. Max Fleischer stated that the women all had a "certain something in their voices." Mae Questel took the lead role and sung "Don't Take Our Boop-Oop-a-Doop Away", with backup from the four other voices of Betty Boop. "You can say our voices are awful, or my songs are too risqué. But don't take our 'Boop-Oop-a-Doop' away!" The song featured was a dig towards Helen Kane, as the song best known as Betty Boop's signature song was originally written for Helen. Helen Kane later told the press that she was shocked and disappointed, adding that both she and her friends felt that Betty Boop was a deliberate caricature of her. Kane went on to tell the newspapers that it wasn't the money, it was the fact that they had stolen her idea. Helen Kane: "I am MAD! MAD! MAD! I am so mad! I am going to spend a lot of money appealing this case. They have stolen my idea! I don't need money. I sued these Betty Boop people for $250,000, I don't want a cent of it. All I want is vindication. It has broken my heart."
Helen Kane Using Betty Boop's Image Without Permission
Helen Kane never provided the voice the animated character Betty Boop, but is often mistaken for the voice of Betty Boop. Helen later went on to use Betty Boop for her posters, two years later in 1935 for her Fox Brooklyn shows. The show even featured a Betty Boop cartoon. Max Fleischer was told by one of the newspapers at the time to sue Kane, but he didn't and let her use Betty Boop without permission, even though Helen Kane initially had wanted Betty Boop stopped by an injunction. Helen Kane was originally flattered by the character Betty Boop, until she got mixed up for being the voice of Betty Boop and also being dubbed a Betty Boop impersonator. Helen stated the following: "I have become a ghost... Recently in Hollywood when some children ran to open the door of my car they greeted me as Betty Boop. Betty is just one stroke removed from Mickey Mouse." After Kane had attempted to sue the Fleischer Studios, from there on Max Fleischer had no nice words to describe the actress. A Brooklyn newspaper that Max Fleischer read regularly, stated that they were not supposed to mention Helen in favor of Mr. Fleischer. Max Fleischer had started his career as a newspaper cartoonist, and after the Fleischer Studios had became a famous studio, he was very well known in Brooklyn.
Betty Boop Comic Strip
In 1934 Betty Boop's comic strip was launched. The strip was re-released in 2015 by Titan Comics and it also featured The Original Boop-Boop-a-Doop Girl by Helen Kane. In 2015, Dynamite Comics announced a new deal with Fleischer Studios and King Features to publish a new Betty Boop comic.
Fleischer's Animated News
The Romance of Betty Boop (1985)
Betty Boop is a girl adored by her neighbors and a hard worker. She sells shoes in a shoe store along the day, and sings at the Club Bubbles at night. Desirée Goyette was picked to voice Betty out of 55 actresses. Betty Boop changes her outfit several times and has a pet parrot called Polly instead of her regular pet pooch Pudgy the dog. Betty doesn't wear her garter belt throughout whole film even though the hays code rules are long gone and the garter is one of Betty's main trademarks, Betty's garter re-appears in the next film Betty appears in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which was made 3 years after The Romance of Betty Boop. Betty's design in the film resembles Grim Natwick's drawings that he drew of Betty in the 70s & 80s. This is the first time Betty has sung Helen Kane's signature song "I Wanna Be Loved By You" and made it her own. According to information given, the people who worked on the film were thinking of Marilyn Monroe and her appearance in Some Like It Hot, when they added the musical sequence to the film.
The Betty Boop Movie Mystery (1989)
Betty Boop works as a waitress in a diner with her friends Bimbo and Koko the Clown. Melissa Fahn provides the voice for Betty Boop and has replaced Mae Questel & Desirée Goyette. In Los Angeles, Betty Boop works as a waitress along with her friends Koko and Bimbo. This is the first appearance of Bimbo since 1933, who appears the color blue instead of black. The movie was made a year after Betty's cameo in the 1988 animated Disney film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Betty's outfit has been changed to purple instead of the usual red and her jewelry is silver instead of gold, with her garter being visible. Unlike The Romance of Betty Boop, The Betty Boop Movie Mystery attempts to follow Max Fleischer's original surreal style of the original Betty Boop cartoons.
Betty Boop Scrapped Film (1993)
In 1993 Richard Fleischer who was the son of Max Fleischer of the Fleischer Studios wanted to make a feature out of his father's star character "Betty Boop" but those plans were later scrapped. Jazz was a major part of most of the old Betty Boop cartoon shorts. In the storyboard in the link above Betty Boop performs a song called "Where Are You" with her estranged father Benny Boop. Sue Raney substitutes for Betty & Jimmy Rowles stands in for Betty's father Benny Boop. Bernadette Peters was to have voiced Betty in the actual movie which would make the storyboard a pilot but before the recording sessions started the film was abandoned. According to Mary Kay Bergman she had auditioned for the role and had been given the part, until it was abandoned. The music was written by Benny Wallace and lyrics by Cheryl Ernst Wells.
Betty Boop TV Series (1996)
Richard Fleischer was shopping around for a Betty Boop TV series where Betty would be a intergalactic flight attendant, but plans for this were later scrapped.
Betty Boop's Misguided Tours Scrapped TV Series (1998)
Betty Boop's Misguided Tours was a TV show about Betty Boop as a tour guide on a bus that travelled to various places around the world. The show was supposed to have been hip and edgy. The show was pitched to MTV and HBO. The project was scrapped.
Betty Boop CGI (2001-2002)
In 2000-2001 a new Betty Boop TV series was going to be created in CGI (Betty Boop CGI) by The Fleischer Studios, King Features with help from Mainframe Entertainment Inc., but plans for the feature were later scrapped. The concept would have had Betty as a leader of her own band, traveling from gig to gig. Variety told Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and Madonna to watch out.
Betty made cameo appearances in television commercials and the 1988 feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). While television revivals were conceived, nothing has materialized from the plans. In 1993 there were plans for an animated feature film of Betty Boop but those plans were later canceled. The musical storyboard scene of the proposed film can be seen online. The finished reel consists of Betty and her estranged father performing a jazz number together called "Where are you?" the music by Benny Wallace and lyrics by Cheryl Ernst Wells. Jimmy Rowles and Sue Raney provide the vocals for Betty and Benny Boop. In 2007-2008, Betty appeared in the Nintendo DS Game Betty Boop's Double Shift. In 2009 she appeared in a mobile game by Namco called Betty Boop Movie Mix Up. A Betty Boop Musical is in development for Broadway with music by David Foster.
Nintendo DS (2007-2008)
The first ever playable Betty Boop game was released in early 2007-2008 by DSI Games entitled Betty Boop's Double Shift. In a review Nintendodojo gave the game very poor ratings, it was also criticized for the unresponsive touch controls.
Betty Boop & Bally Technologies (2011-2015)
Betty Boop has appeared in several slot machine games with Bally Technologies starting with Betty Boop's Love Meter which was then followed by Betty Boop's Fortune Teller, Betty Boop's Firehouse and Betty Boop's 5th Avenue. Two of which were ported to the ipad/iphone for itunes. The game features Cindy Robinson who is the official voice of Betty for the Bally game releases. Robinson has provided the voice-over for Bally for five years running. The slot machines are often feature CGI openings and Betty speaks directly to the player. Bally has a vast history with the cartoon character Betty Boop, during the 90s Bally hired a Betty Boop impersonator known simply as Angelia, who worked as a MGM Betty Boop impersonator. She started out as Betty in 1993 and later went on to portray Betty in person for Bally where she was a integral part of promoting the slot machines for casino managers and none other than the Fleischer family, including Max Fleischer's son Richard Fleischer. Angelia worked with Bally from 1999-2000, then retired from portraying Betty in 2003. For the opening of Betty Boop's Love Meter, Betty can be heard stating "Bally and Betty back together again!". The Bally slot machines featured at Casinos are known to be quite popular with guests.
Betty Boop Dance Card (2014)
In 2014 Betty Boop was featured in Betty Boop Dance Card by game designer Mickey Blumental of Fowl Moon Studios, in an IOS rhythm action card game on the iPhone & the iPad. The game was quickly followed by Betty Boop Bop and Betty Boop Beat. Initially it was set for a PlaySation Vita release, which somehow never came to fruition. The game opening sequence features Heather Halley as Betty Boop and David Babich as Bimbo. In the game Betty's voice and singing vocals are provided by Camilla Bard.
The Betty Boop Movie
In 2014, it was announced by Simon Cowell that he would be producing the Betty Boop the Movie partnering with Animal Logic. Leaked emails suggest that the role of Betty was originally to have been played by Lady Gaga and suggested that the film will be a live action hybrid along the lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It has been suggested that the Syco Entertainment & Animal Logic Betty Boop film feature had been cancelled. Instead Betty was set to make a brand new TV appearance in 2018, which also did not happen. Syco & Animal Logic have yet to comment, which indicates that the film is canceled. Although the immediate release for the film is still featured on the Animal Logic website. It has been indicated that the project might still secretly be in the works, although according to Sony who were originally working on the film, it was weirdly sexualized yet childlike, and they felt that they shouldn't go through with it. Sony went on to say that it was just weird and they didn't want to chase it. It is a known fact that Betty Boop is a sex symbol, and without her risqué nature, she has no appeal, as her sex appeal is what made the original cartoons a hit. Sony claimed they didn't know who to market the film towards and they also wondered what audience the film would appeal to.
Normaal Animation Betty Boop Series (2018)
Betty Boop was originally set to return in a new series Betty Boop Series (Normaal Animation) in 2018 by Normaal Studios. Betty Boop takes center stage in a new animated series being developed by Normaal Animation (Peanuts), marking the first time the iconic character will star in her own show in three decades.
Betty Boop Musical (2018)
A Betty Boop Musical has been in the works since 2002. Jason Robert Brown was hired to write the music for the show but was later fired. Five years later there was a whole new creative team featuring David Foster. In 2014 David Foster posted an update on the Broadway show and said that they were in their first reading for the musical. According to information the Broadway musical was originally set for fall 2018.
Betty Boop Toys & Games
Betty Boop Toys & Games & Products, include Betty Boop Precious Kids Dolls, which are the official Betty Boop dolls. The first Betty Boop Doll was made in 1931, a replica was remade by Danbury in 2005, Danbury Mint still make porcelain Betty Boop dolls which are collected by fans of Betty Boop, although the Danbury Mint Betty Boop dolls are very expensive. Betty Boop's Love Meter was released for the iPad in early January 2012.
- In 2013, according to Mark Fleischer there were no plans for any new Betty Boop cartoons.
- Several Betty Boop projects have been in the works some for many years now, but have either been canceled or pushed back for a later release date.
- Betty still continues to appear on merchandise, and in the last few years or so, the Betty Boop franchise has collaborated with a number of famous collaborators.