Birth of Boop (1934)

Witnesses say song novelty antedated Helen Kane. A number of witnesses testified before Supreme County Justice Edward' J. McGoldrick today that they had heard Boop-Boop-a-Doop songs long before Helen Kane says she introduced them to the public. Miss Kane insists that she was the originator of the singing technique which she has claimed as hers since 1928, and that the technique was stolen by Max Fleischer, Fleischer Studios, Inc and Paramount-Publix Corporation in the promotion of the Betty Boop animated screen cartoons.

For this infringement on her alleged rights Miss Kane has appealed to the court for $250,000 damages. The first witness today was Alfred Evans, who said that he was in the employ of Rudy Vallée. He said that in 1927, a year before Helen Kane first offered a Boop to the American theater-going public he heard a few Boops from Edith Griffith, who affected a baby voice in her stage performances.

Another stage witness, who insisted that Helen Kane's Boops were not 100 percent novelties, was Marion Luber, a dancer who told the couty that early in 1928 a Negro child performer employ the Boop style of singing which Miss Kane considers her own.

Under cross-examination this witness said she did not recall the songs she heard Bay Esther sing, but that she remembered the child's songs were replete with Boops and Doops.

Testimony was offered at yesterday's session of court to convey the impression that Miss Kane adopted Baby Esther's Boops to further her own popularity as a singer.

Still another witness today was a mite of a girl who described herself as Little Ann Little, whose voice has been used by Max Fleischer, the cartoonist to give life to the Betty Boop of the screen renown.

She said she was 24 years old and in a voice closely resembled the squeak of a mouse ,testified that as far back as 1925 she was known on the stage as the "baby of the Greenwich Village Follies."

Little Ann Little:

"I sang cute baby songs and made breaks at the end of each bar," she explained.

"You did what?" asked Miss Kane's counsel.

"I made breaks - I gave a Boop or a Wha-Da-De-Da," she said.