August 9, 1930– Betty Boop Makes Her Debut
On this very day, August 9th, 1930, little Betty Boop was born, fully formed and fully sexual, a Jazz Age Flapper, the creation of producer Max Fleischer and Grim Natwick, a veteran animator of Walt Disney Studios. She made a series of short films, including a cameo in a Popeye film, but found real fame in the 1932 short, Minnie The Moocher with Cab Calloway and His Orchestra.
Betty Boop was a single girl, with big boobs, who enjoyed the night life and her antics were just too much for the National Legion Of Decency and the Hay’s Production Code of 1934. Forced to tone down her act, Boop lost some of her popularity, but she continued to attract fans through the decades. Boop has no political or religious affiliation, except when she is associated with the Party party. She has moved easily between Black and White and Color.
Boop made a cameo appearance Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988), appearing in glorious black and white.
Throughout her long career, Boop has been a proponent of Sexual Freedom, Women’s Rights, Gay Liberation and the health benefits of drinking, smoking and doing cocaine. She has been romantically linked to Popeye, Felix T. Cat, Sluggo, Boris Badenov, Woody Woodpecker, Daddy Warbucks, Top Cat, Gumby, Mr. Magoo, and Betty Rubble.
I knew Betty Boop somewhat. We were cast in a production of Lil’ Abner at the Chateau d’ Ville Dinner Theatre in 1977, but Boop was dismissed from the role of Mammy Yokum before rehearsals even began because she was a cartoon. At the first read through, she told me that her dream role was Fosca in Stephen Sondheim’s difficult musical, Passion.
She has had some work done, but looks pretty swell as she celebrates her 87th birthday today, surrounded by friends and fans, at her lovely home in Holmby Hills.