Annabel Little and Betty Boop

Max Fleischer and Paramount Studios had the cartoon heroine Betty Boop on the screen for eight years but this was never in the script.

Betty Boop is studying to be a minister.  Honest to pal the little lady is devoting her life to religion. By Betty Boop we mean of course Ann Little Werner (Little Ann Little) who did the animations for that cute little movie cartoon trick with the sqeaky voice and the esquire figure. 

Ann who resides at 1850 Fifth avenue north and is an instructor at the Pauline Buhner school of dance, has already completed six months of Bible study.

her goal is to be an ordained minister and preach the Gospel from a pulpit.  

"I used to bring joy to the outer man and now I want to bring joy to the inner man," she says.

Ann started in show business in 1925 as a member of the pony chorus with the Greenwich Village Follies in her native New York city, She was also an RKO discovery and at one time had her own program over the NBC network as Singer Little Ann Little.  But it was as the voice of Betty Boop that Ann became a star.

"I head that Paramount was holding tryouts for a tiny girl with a sqeaky voice for the Betty Boop role and I tried for the job and got it," Ann recounts.

From 1932 until 1940 we made 18 cartoons a year.  Sixteen thousand drawings were made to complete one seven minute reel.  After the film was completed it was my job to fill the dialogue with songs and chatter on the soundtrack.  In addition I made personal appearance tours as Betty.  

I used to get loads of fan mail especially from children and men.  The kiddies always believed that I actually went back into the inkwell after the reel had been down.

Present day youngsters never had the pleasure of knowing Betty Boop on screen but in her hey-day she was as popula, if not more so than Mickey Mouse.  She was forever in trouble but always managed to dive back into the inkwell before Koko the Clown or the giant could natch her away.  

As she ran fleeing from the huge hand of the giant her tiny scream had the audience in a tizzy until good triumphed over evil.

In the 30's Helen Kane, the singer, sued Paramount for one-quarter million dollars claiming the boob-boop-a-doop idea was hers.  The case went to the New York supreme court and the Judge ruled in favor of Flesicher.  Kane appealed the case and again lost the case.   Betty Boop would still be bringing joy to the hearts of movie-goers if Fleischer had not become ill and retired from movie-making.

Betty Boop was always close to his heart and he would never sell the rights to any other studio, Ann says.

Ann moved to St. Petersburg five years ago with her late husband who was a retired employe of Consolidated Edison. He died six months ago, during the war.  Ann entertained the patients at the goverment hospitals and did other volunteer war work.

She is very tiny, being only four feet-ten inches and weighs 100 pounds, only five pounds more than she did when she was starred in the 30s as Betty Boop.  And she still retains that Boop-Boop-a-Doop sqeaky voice that makes you want to protect her from that brute, Koko the Clown.


  • Ann only voiced Betty in one cartoon, then went on the road as Betty Boop in person.  The reason for this is when the $250,000 suit against Helen Kane, Mae Questel, Bonnie Poe and Margie Hines was featured in a photograph, claming that they did the most voice-overs in the Betty Boop cartoons. Ann could be seen in the crowd of the newsreel, and also attended court tp testify,. 
  • Margie Hines was the original voice of Betty Boop and did most of the voice-over from 1930-1932, shared with Questel.

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