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Sings Her Boop-a-Doop in Court (1934)


Helen Kane demonstrates to the Judge just how it is done officially.

Attending the Supreme Couty today was as good as going to the movies or a night club - better, for it didn't cost anything and there was Helen Kane (in person) singing "Boop-Boop-a-Doop!"

Just for a moment, just for three or four "Boops" the movie and vaudeville star demonstrated to Justice Edward J. McGoldrick how she interpolates the little series of Boop-a-Doops that she made famous.

She took the witness stand in the trial of her suit to collect $250,000 from Paramount-Publix Corporation. Max Fleischer, the cartoonist and Fleischer Studios Inc charging that they appropriated her style of singing in their "Betty Boop" animated cartoon.

The court didn't intend of her to sing. It just happened Miss Kane had been telling how she started her theatrical career in 1920 with the Four Marx Brothers at $65 a week and how she worked up to $20,000 a week in the good days of 1930.

"Now, Miss Kane how do you interpolate the Boops in your songs?" asked Samuel R. Welytz, her attorney.

"Well," Miss Kane shurgged her shoulders and started at the ceiling a moment. "It's hard to say, It's a form of rhythm I created." She began tapping the floor with one slim foot.

"If you know anything about music you know there's a bar of music and at the end there's a stop. Well, instead of letting the orchestra play I used to say, 'Boop-Boop-a-Doop!" She suddenly pursed her lips grinned at the Justice and Booped heartily. Defense counsel jumped up with objections. Justice McGoldrick suddenly bent low over his desk and pencilled notes. Reporters and spectators grinned at Miss Kane and she grinned back.

"Any place I could put it in I did," she went on. "Like this: 'Boop-Boop-a-Doop! Boop-Boop-a-Doop!"

"Objection! Your Honor, objection!"

But Miss Kane was not going to have her talent lost on the desert air of objections. "Put it down! Put it in shorthand!" she shouted at the stenographer. Her own counsel took a hand at that moment and cautioned her against advsing the court and the official stenographer, but it was easy to see that he was not greatly vexted. This was the first time since the trial began on April 17 that his client had been able to demonstrate her own peculiar style of booping, although films of Betty Boop and another of Miss Kane's own singing were show to the court recently.

Miss Kane's final Boops were ordered stricken from the stenographic record. When order was completely restored, Miss Kane testified that she had never consented to the use of the word "Boop" by the defendants in the case.

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