Fort Myers, Fla -
The Boop-Boop-a-Doop gal is mad. There she was, this 77-pound. 58-inch, orange haired, blue-eyed ex-cartoon and vaudeville queen, sitting in her apartment here a few weeks ago crying and laughing with the soap opera games on television, when the telephone rang and a friend told her he'd heard a lady on the tube claiming to be the "original Betty Boop".
Small balls of fire started to burn in Ann Rothschild's eyes and heart, and although she says she's "absolutely retired from show business," she decided to speak out.
"I'm upset, I'm tired of hearing about these ORIGINAL Betty Boops and people around here thinking I'm a fraud. I'm the original Betty Boop. I began doing the Boop-Boop-a-Doop songs when I was on the road with the vaudeville shows (back in the 1920s)"
"Then when Max Fleischer of Paramount Studios (in New York) was looking for someone for his new Betty Boop cartoon character (in 1932) I went to the auditions and he chose me."
"There were hundreds of girls there and most of them could sing better than I could. But I don't know I suppose I had what he wanted. I was very tiny and very pretty, you know and I had this high-pitched voice."
"Anyway, Mr Fleischer always said I was the original Betty Boop. He even won a court case over me once."
"Of course, there were other Boop-Boop-a-Doop girls (back in the late 1920s and early 1930s), Helen Kane (she died several years ago of cancer) was one of them."
"When Mr. Fleischer told her she couldn't use the name Betty Boop in her acts, she tried to sue him for a quarter of a million dollars but she lost the case."
"Yes, that was back in 1934. You can look up the case in the New York Supreme Court records."
"Yet, there are still people who think Helen Kane was the original Betty. Just a few weeks ago, on Musical Chairs (a CBS program), someone asked a lady on the panel who the original Betty Boop was and the lady said Helen Hayes, and she won the prize money."
"Then my friend called me (in late August) to tell me he'd heard this Mae Questel on television - she's a little FAT woman I met in Mr. Fleischer's office a few times - saying she was the original Betty Boop on the Tom Snyder show (NBC).
"I'm upset. Some people around here are beginning to think I'm a fraud. They go around wisp, wisp, wisping about me. It bothers me."
Mrs Rothschild came to Dort Mysers in 1951 from St, Petersburg, where she operated her own Betty Boop studio for five years. She spent 20 years in show business and another 20 studying and preaching the teachings of the Unity faith.
Her show business career started in the early 1920s when she was "the baby" of the Greenwich Village Follies. She later teamed up with another Follies performer and played in the vaudville honses in and around New York City a number of years.
Then of course came the Betty Boop stint. The name Betty Boop became a household word from 1933 to 1945 when Betty Boop cartoons and Betty Boop dolls were all the rage.
Mrs Rothschild also starred in movies from Paramount during the 1930s. But, in 1945, she gave it all up to run her studio in St. Petersburg. Among her students was Carroll Baker who has appeared in a number of Hollywood productions.
She then enrolled in the Unity Village school in Kansas City, Mo, and kept up correspondence courses. In 1951, she was sent to Fort Myers for on the job training. By 1954 she was an ordained minister and at one time hosted a weekly radio program on the Unity faith.