Betty Boop first appeared in the Fleischer Studios animated short Dizzy Dishes, released August 8, 1930. She was created by artist Grim Natwick as a co-star with Bimbo, but it was more than a year before she developed the image and personality that made her a star for over sixty five years - and counting.
Many publications have included historical information about Betty Boop's career. A highlight for Popeye fans was when he first appeared on the silver screen on July 14, 1933 in a Betty Boop Cartoon titled Popeye the Sailor. But that's another story - visit The Official Popeye Fan Club to find out more.
The focus here will be on Betty's ears! She started her career as a real dog, not even having a name. Though she was otherwise quite well developed by May 23, 1931, she still didn't have a name and still did have dog ears in the Talkartoon release Silly Scandals.
Betty's dog ears disappeared rather suddenly between September 26 and November 7, 1931. During this period, Fleicher Studio released the following animated shorts:
[If anyone has viewed the Talkartoon In The Shade Of The Old Applesauce, please send email advising if Betty Boop appears, with or without dog ears.]
|Minding the Baby
Sep. 26, 1931
|Little Annie Rooney
Oct. 10, 1931
|Kitty From Kansas City
Nov. 1, 1931
Nov. 7, 1931
Minding the Baby, a Talkartoon, may be the last time Betty appears with dog ears - the next Talkartoon, In the Shade Of The Old Applesauce, has not been viewed. Betty and Bimbo get together though Bimbo is minding baby brother Aloysius.
Little Annie Rooney does not include an animated
Betty, even though Annie's voice is that of Betty. However, includied
behind a portion of the bouncing ball lyrics is a 30 second sequence
of a Betty Boop figurine moving in the background. Betty shows no evidence of either ears or earrings.
Kitty From Kansas City features the singing of
Rudy Vallee, the famous bouncing ball, and a Betty Boop who goes
on an eating binge and grows to 243 pounds. As can be seen in
the screen capture, her former dog ears have been replaced by curls.
Mask-A-Raid, as the screen capture here indicates,
was reworked in Japan for color television by Color Systems, Inc.
of New York. The first volume of The Definitive Collection
includes this cartoon in the original glorious black and white.
In 1996, the Republic Pictures web site had information on the newly released Betty Boop: The Definitive Collection. Unfortunately, that site has not been accessible since 1997. A few comments about the Collection follow, with the set available in video stores or through Amazon.com.
What a great event! Republic Pictures has given all Betty Boop fans a tremendous resource. Here is a collection of 8 video tapes including all but a couple of the classic Betty Boop animated shorts. A complete list of contents is provided - well almost, since the set contains 115 titles and only 114 are listed (Betty Boop's Prize Show is on Vol. 6, but is not listed on the Republic Pictures site). And one title listed as Betty Boop and Little Henry should be Betty Boop and Little Jimmy, the error occurring on the video box, also. The shorts viewed thus far are of exceptional quality, though it would have been nice to have the screen masked so that the entire original artwork could be seen!
The first volume includes an introduction by Richard Fleischer and 8 of the earliest shorts. Volumes 2 through 8 include 14 to 16 shorts nicely grouped in various categories. Volume 8 also includes concluding comments by Richard Fleischer. Categories by volume number are:
Additional information concerning The Definitive Collection is included in the delightful and informative presentation of Betty Boop information by the Tribune-Review.
A significant omission is the Betty Boop short Popeye The
most likely because Republic Pictures does not have
the distribution rights to Popeye cartoons - this cartoon is included
in the 2007 DVD release of the first 60 Popeye 'toons. Several Screen
which are known to include Betty in various roles are not in the collection:
Wait Till The Sun Shines, Nellie, Just One More Chance, and
Time On My Hands. And the following five late 'Betty
Boop Cartoons' are not in the set: Honest Love And True (lost),
Pudgy And The Lost Kitten (
lost found with German subtitles), Buzzy Boop, Buzzy
Boop At The Concert (lost), and Yip, Yip, Yippy.
is known that Betty does not appear in the last one, and perhaps not in
the two "lost" cartoons - the other three appear on the first DVD of
Jerry Beck's Lost Fleischer Cartoons Project. So the challenge of locating ALL
Betty Boop shorts has not been removed by this release, and information
on the availability of the missing titles would be welcomed.
An added treat on the Republic Pictures site was the presence of many images of Betty, and frames from her classic shorts. The same artwork, however, appears on the album packages, and the BOOPLIOGRAPHY pamphlet included in the boxed set. Betty Boop fans should be thankful to Republic Pictures, and seriously consider purchasing Betty Boop: The Definitive Collection ?!
The Betty Boop, Bimbo and Ko-Ko characters are copyright by Kings Features Syndicate and The Fleischer Studio.
Betty Boop: The Definitive Collection is copyright 1996 by Republic Entertainment, Inc.