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Bonnie Poe
Bonnie poe1

Name

Bonnie Poe, Crazy Poe, Izzy

Bonnie Poe was a New Yorker who voiced the animated character Betty Boop starting from 1933 at the age of 18. By 1935, she was 20 years old and had finished with the Betty Boop series and moved to NBC radio. Poe started doing Betty's voice on the Betty Boop Fables radio show on NBC. Her Betty Boop voice was a impersonation of 1920s singer and actress Helen Kane. Bonnie Poe's first role in the Fleischer cartoons can be heard in the 1933 Screen SongBoilesk as a flapper using the same voice she used for Betty Boop, alongside Billy Costello. Poe did the inital voice for Olive Oyl, but was later replaced by Mae Questel. Poe continued to do the voice for Betty Boop from 1934 to 1935. She later provided Betty's voice in two 1938 shorts when Questel was unavailable, and was subsequently replaced by Kate Wright and Margie Hines. Bonnie Poe can also be heard in a majority of the Fleischer Studios cartoons from 1933-1938, including the Color Classics releases. Apart from being a radio voice-over, Poe was also a nightclub singer with her age being given as 10.

$250,000 Lawsuit

Bonnie Poe Vs Helen Kane

Bonnie Poe served as defense in the Helen Kane lawsuit against Betty Boop. It was stated that Margie Hines, Mae Questel and Poe were as much Boop-Oop-a-Doop girls as Kane.

Trial

The latter however avered that they got their start "Booping" through contests which she sponsored.

Hollywood on Parade No. A-8

Mae Questel dressed up as Betty Boop, has to hide one withered arm

(Mae Betty Boop Questel dressed up as Betty Boop)

At the age of 18 (1933) Bonnie Poe appeared in a live-action short called Hollywood on Parade No. A-8 as Betty Boop, alongside Bela Lugosi as Dracula. She performed a song called "'My Silent Love". The controversy is that Betty is portrayed by Poe, such controversy coming from Helen Kane, the “Original Boop-Oop-a-Doop Girl,” a popular singer who capitalized on her novel coquettish voice to become an on-stage hit in the late 1920s through early 1930s. Kane sued over the impersonation of her as Betty Boop. Any such appearance as Betty Boop would have negated her claim. Above is an image of Mae Questel, who has to hide one of her 'withered arms', while dressed up as Betty Boop. Various books mistake Bonnie Poe for Mae Questel, who had previously played the character in the live-action short entitled Musical Justice.

Bonnie poe as Betty Boop 02

(Bonnie Poe dressed up as Betty Boop in Hollywood on Parade No. A-8)

The person playing Betty Boop in Hollywood on Parade No. A-8 could not have been Mae Questel, due to the fact that Mae had one withered arm and always had to hide it behind her back or have her hands on her hips, as seen when she portrayed Betty Boop in Musical Justice. Before being given the role of Betty Boop, Bonnie Poe was referenced in a 1933 newspaper stating that she would soon make her way to Hollywood.

Hotel Roosevelt Grill (1933)

Among those spotted this week in the Hotel Roosevelt grill where genial Reggie Childs and his WZJ-WOR orchestra play: Conrad Thi-bault, Lulu McConnell, Sisters of Skillet (very sad looking, by the way), the Harmonians, Frank Novak, Harriet Lee, Gladys Rice, Helene Daniels, Lanny Ross, Bonnie Poe and Ben Alley.

1933-1935

In 1933, Bonnie Poe was featured in a Brooklyn newspaper where she would give advice in a news column. Poe: "The trouble with modern marriage is that too many couples think a pair beats a full house." Poe: "An efficiency expert is a man hired to fire old employees by an executive who is too tender hearted to do it himself." In 1934, Bonnie Poe appeared in Rambling Round Radio Row as a Betty Boop performer. She performed a song called "Pudding Head Jones", and also added the scat lyrics "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" into her song. She was also known as Beth, Crazy Poe & Izzy. Her name has also sometimes been misspelled as Bunny Po. Bonnie Poe could last be seen in person with the other voices of Betty Boop in 1934, in the Fleischer Victory Newsreel. She helped Mae Questel with the Booping to the song "Don't Take My Boop-Oop-A-Doop Away", after winning the Helen Kane $250,000 Lawsuit. Poe then went to perform her Boop routine with Little Ann Little, Mae Questel and Margie Hines on the Paramount Stage in New York City. Poe also voiced Betty in 1938 two times before the role was taken over by Kate Wright and Margie Hines. Poe also provided the voice for Olive Oyl one last time in I Yam Lovesick, doing an impression of ZaSu Pitts for the very first time. Poe also did a radio interview with Billy Costello, the original voice of Popeye. In 1935, Bonnie Poe had a role on radio station NBC-W1OD, in a program called House of Glass, which was created by Gertrude Berg. Poe played the role of Dottie Martin, an out-of-work entertainer who temporarily juggled trays in a hotel.

1937

In 1937 Bonnie Poe made public appearances in nightclubs, where she was dubbed "The Original Betty Boop". In her routine she would sing, and do a bit of comedy. 

Betty Boop's Double Shift

Bonnie Poe's archived Boop Oop a Doop voice-over from the official cartoon series was used in the 2007 Nintendo DS Game Betty Boop's Double Shift.

Songs Performed as Betty Boop

Death

Bonnie Poe died from complications connected to pneumonia in 1993.

Filmography

1933

1934

1938

2007-2008

Gallery

Trivia

  • Margie Hines Van Beuren credits were erroneously attributed to Bonnie Poe.
  • According to Fleischer historian Ray Pointer Bonnie Poe also provided the voice for the Mae West-like character in the 1936 Popeye cartoon Never Kick a Woman.
  • Bonnie Poe can be heard in a majority of Betty Boop cartoons from 1933-1934 and lastly in 1938. 
  • Sometimes she would utter Poop-Poop-Pe-Doop instead of Boop.
  • In 1934, Bonnie Poe filed a $25,000 heart balm action against George Raft.

See Also

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