Western Animation: Betty Boop
Ain't she cute?
Pioneering cartoon series (from 1930-1939
, plus a few one-off revivals) from Fleischer Studios
, Betty Boop
was the mirror of the stereotypical flapper
, simultaneously looking for a good time and good-at-heart. In early cartoons, Betty's pals were Koko the Clown
and Bimbo the dog; later on, Betty's grandpa Grampy, wild cousin Buzzy, and nonhumanized puppy Pudgy headlined episodes of their own.The Hays Code
essentially killed off all interest in Betty Boop - obviously, as a cartoon she couldn't wear such flamboyant outfits or maintain such a flirtatious attitude.
The producers tried to make her more wholesome with more concealing clothes but this approach failed, it having been her flamboyant, Spoiled Sweet
attitude that was so much fun to watch for her original viewers in the first place.
As of 2013, Olive Films is releasing fully restored shorts of the series on Blu-Ray, starting with two volumes.
A live-action/CGI hybrid feature film
based on the series has also been announced
, and is being produced by Animal Logic
- Dizzy Dishes (Talkartoons) August 9*
- Barnacle Bill (Talkartoons) August 31
- Accordion Joe (Talkartoons): December 12
- Mysterious Mose (Talkartoons): December 26
- Teacher's Pests (Talkartoons): Feb 7, 1931
- The Bum Bandit (Talkartoons): April 3rd
- Any Little Girl That's a Nice Little Girl (Screen Songs): April 18, 1931
- Silly Scandals (Talkartoons): May 23
- My Wife's Gone to the Country (Screen Songs): May 31, 1931
- Bimbo's Initiation (Talkartoons): July 24. One of The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
- Betty Co-ed (Screen Song) August 1, 1931
- Bimbo's Express (Talkartoons): August 22
- Minding the Baby (Talkartoons) Sept. 26
- Kitty from Kansas City (Screen Songs) October 31
- Mask-A-Raid (Talkartoons): November 7
- Jack and the Beanstalk (Talkartoons): Nov. 21
- Dizzy Red Riding Hood (Talkartoons): Dec. 12
- Any Rags? (Talkartoons): Jan 2
- Boop-Oop-a-Doop (Talkartoons): Jan 16
- Minnie the Moocher (Talkartoons): Feb 26. Another one of The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
- Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie (Screen Songs): March 4
- Swim Or Sink (S.O.S) (Talkartoons): March 11
- Crazy Town (Talkartoons): March 25
- Just One More Chance (Screen Songs) April 1
- The Dancing Fool (Talkartoons): April 8
- Chess-Nuts (Talkartoons): April 13
- Oh! How I Hate to Get Up In The Morning (Screen Songs): April 22
- A Hunting We Will Go (Talkartoons): April 29
- Let Me Call You Sweetheart (Screen Songs): May 20
- Admission Free (Talkartoons): June 10
- The Betty Boop Limited (Talkartoons): July 1
- You Try Somebody Else (Screen Songs): July 29
- Rudy Vallee Melodies (Screen Songs) August 5
- Stopping the Show: August 12: Betty Boop's first standalone short. Talkartoons were replaced by the Betty Boop solo series from here on out.
- Betty Boop's Bizzy Bee: August 19
- Betty Boop, M.D.: Sept. 2
- Just a Gigolo (Screen Songs): Sept. 9 1932
- Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle: Sept. 23
- Betty Boop's Ups and Downs: October 14
- Romantic Melodies (Screen Songs): Oct. 21
- Betty Boop for President: November 4
- I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You: November 25
- Betty Boop's Museum: Dec. 16
- Time on my Hands (Screen Song): Dec 23
- Betty Boop's Ker-Choo: Jan 6
- Betty Boop's Crazy Inventions: Jan 27
- Is My Palm Read?: Feb 17
- Betty Boop's Penthouse: March 10
- Snow White: March 31. Another of The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
- Popular Melodies (Screen Songs): April 7
- Betty Boop's Birthday Party: April 21
- Betty Boop's May Party: May 12
- Betty Boop's Big Boss: June 2
- Mother Goose Land: June 23
- Popeye the Sailor: July 14: Billed as a Betty Boop cartoon, but she only makes a brief appearance in what is otherwise a Poorly Disguised Pilot for the Popeye the Sailor cartoons.
- The Old Man of the Mountain: August 4
- I Heard: Sept. 1
- Morning, Noon and Night: Oct. 6
- Betty Boop's Hallowe'en Party: Nov 3
- Parade of the Wooden Soliders: Dec. 1
- She Wronged Him Right: Jan. 5
- Red Hot Mamma: 2 February
- Ha! Ha! Ha!: 2 March
- Betty in Blunderland: 6 April
- Betty Boop's Rise to Fame: 18 May
- Betty Boop's Trial: 15 June
- Betty Boop's Life Guard: 13 July
- Poor Cinderella: 3 August: First of the Color Classics series of cartoons, only Betty Boop cartoon in color. * Runner-up on The 50 Greatest Cartoons list.
- There's Something About a Soldier: 17 August
- Betty Boop's Little Pal: 21 September
- Betty Boop's Prize Show: 19 October
- Keep in Style: 16 November
- When My Ship Comes In: 21 December
- Baby Be Good: 18 January
- Taking the Blame: 15 February
- Stop That Noise: 15 March
- Swat the Fly: 19 April
- No! No! A Thousand Times No!!: 24 May
- A Little Soap and Water: 21 June
- A Language All My Own: 19 July
- Betty Boop and Grampy: 16 August
- Judge for a Day: 20 September
- Making Stars: 18 October
- Henry, the Funniest Living American: 22 November: A Cross Over with Carl Anderson's "Henry" comic strip.
- Little Nobody: 18 December
- Betty Boop and the Little King: 31 January: A Cross Over with the then popular Newspaper Comic character The Little King.
- Not Now: 28 February
- Betty Boop and Little Jimmy: 27 March
- We Did It: 24 April
- A Song A Day!: 22 May
- More Pep: 19 June
- You're Not Built That Way: 17 July
- Happy You and Merry Me: 21 August
- Training Pigeons: 18 September
- Grampy's Indoor Outing: 16 October
- Be Human: 20 November
- Making Friends: 18 December
- House Cleaning Blues: 15 January
- Whoops! I'm a Cowboy: 12 February
- The Hot Air Salesman: 12 March
- Pudgy Takes a Bow-Wow: 9 April
- Pudgy Picks a Fight!: 14 May
- The Impractical Joker: 18 June
- Ding Dong Doggie: 23 July
- The Candid Candidate: 27 August
- Service with a Smile: 23 September
- The New Deal Show: 22 October
- The Foxy Hunter: 26 November
- Zula Hula: 24 December
- Riding the Rails: 28 January
- Be Up to Date: 25 February
- Honest Love and True: 25 March
- Out of the Inkwell: 22 April: An attempt at reviving the classic Fleischer series, although Ko-Ko does not appear in it.
- The Swing School: 27 May
- The Lost Kitten: 24 June
- Buzzy Boop: 29 July
- Pudgy the Watchman: 12 August
- Buzzy Boop at the Concert: August 16
- September Sally Swing: 14 October
- On With the New: 2 December
- Thrills and Chills: 23 December
- My Friend the Monkey: 28 January
- So Does an Automobile: 31 March
- Musical Mountaineers: May 12
- May The Scared Crows: 9 June
- Rhythm on the Reservation: 7 July: Last of the theatrical Betty Boop cartoons.
- Yip Yip Yippy: 11 August: A Betty Boop short In Name Only, as it is a western-themed short with no ties to the Betty Boop series.
- The Romance of Betty Boop: A made-for-tv special.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Makes a cameo in the Ink & Paint Club, claiming that while things had been slow since she went to color, she's still got it. She makes another cameo with the crowd of toons during the ending. She was voice by her voice actress from the 30s!
- Betty Boop's Hollywood Mystery: A made-for-tv special.
Tropes found in Betty Boop cartoons include:
- Action Mom: "The Bum Bandit" has Betty (or Nan as she's called in this one) as a badass with seventeen kids.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Betty might be Jewish, and is hinted as such in "Minnie the Moocher". The Fleischers had Jewish heritage as well, and her primary voice actress, Mae Questel, was Jewish, so that could only support the case.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: She started out as a dog, if you can believe it.
- Ascended Extra: Ever heard of Bimbo? No? Bimbo was Fleischer's humanized dog hero starting in 1929. In 1930, Betty Boop appeared briefly as Bimbo's love interest (as an anthropomorphic dog) and quickly became a star. Bye, Bimbo. Hello, Betty.
- Ass Kicks You: Done by Betty to two other woman in her "I Wanna Be Loved By You" musical number in the animated special, "The Romance of Betty Boop".
- Bath Kick: A lot of her merchandising has her doing this.
- Big Damn Hero: Grampy pulls this on the abusive farmer in "Be Human"—by running him down with his car, no less!
- Bowdlerise: The Hays Code cleaned Betty up, and the cartoon series Jumped the Shark because of it.
- Bragging Theme Tune
- Broken Aesop: "Be Human" has been criticized for its ending, in which the farmer who has been whipping his animals gets whipped himself by Grampy's machine. So beating someone up is okay as long as you're on the good side.
- Car Fu: Used by Grampy to catch the abusive farmer in "Be Human".
- Cats Are Mean: Played straight in Taking the Blame and Not Now; averted in We Did It, Happy You And Merry Me and The Lost Kitten
- Catch Phrase:
- "Boop-boop-a-doop!" (Betty)
- "Okay, colonel!" (Bimbo)
- "Ahahahaah! I've got it!" (Grampy)
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Once the Hays Office grew its claws, Interspecies couples like Betty and Bimbo were completely taboo, so by 1934, Bimbo was abruptly dropped from the cartoons. He did appear in Betty Boop's Hollywood Mystery, however, and he still pops up in merchandise time and time again.
- Clip Show: The short •Betty Boop's Rise To Fame puts together footage from three prior Betty Boop shorts with a framing device.
- Couldn't Find a Lighter: In I Heard a ghost lights his cigar off the lit fuse of a Cartoon Bomb.
- Cross Over: With Felix the Cat in the ''Betty Boop and Felix" newspaper comic.
- Damsel in Distress: Betty every now and then for very obvious reasons.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Heeza Ratt from the 1934 "She Wronged Him Right".
- Demoted to Extra: Bimbo was replaced by Fearless Fred in 1934.
- Deranged Animation: The shorts from 1930-1933 had some very wacky animation, typical of the work of Fleischer Studios. By the mid to late 30's, this was either toned down considerably or thrown out altogether.
- Digital Destruction: The "Definitive Collection" series of VHS tapes brings together almost all of Betty's original theatrical cartoons—but at the price of some of the most blatant DVNR ravaging of any old cartoon restoration!
- The new Essential Collection bluray and DVD sets avert this by having pristine restorations completely devoid of DVNR, but the first two volumes have the picture slightly cropped on the sides.
- Downer Ending: The Screen Song short "Romantic Melodies" (which is really a Betty Boop short in all but name) ends with Bimbo and his band getting hauled off to jail due to their dreadful music (probably for disturbing the peace) much to Betty's tearful despair.
- Dreadful Musician: Bimbo and his band in "Romantic Melodies"—they play so badly, the local scenery (fire hydrants, trolley cars) are repelled by them! Eventually the telephone calls the police on them, getting them hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The early shorts were much looser in terms of animation, particularly when Betty was animated by by Grim Natwick, and Betty was an anthropomorphised French poodle.
- Excuse Plot: Most cartoons have a very thin plot line, simply intended to showcase wild surreal gags and catchy sing and dance numbers.
- Expy: The 50's Herman And Katnip short "Of Mice and Magic" had a very blatant stand-in for Betty called "Louise" who was a mouse. Her design and mannerisms were basically the same as Betty's, but adjusted to have bits of a cartoon mouse — also, there was the fact that she was voiced by Mae Questel, Betty's voice actress, who used her Betty voice for Louise.
- "Googy Goop" in the Animaniacs episode "The Girl With the Googily Goop", a full-on parody of the cartoons. She had a red nose like the Warners', but otherwise looked exactly the same as Betty.
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: The setting of "Red Hot Mama".
- Friend to All Living Things: And pretty much everything in her world is living.
- Funny Animal: Betty Boop, initially. Betty's doggy pal, Bimbo, was the studio star at the time of Betty's creation. Betty was created to function as Bimbo's girlfriend, so initially she had a black nose and dog ears. After about 10 cartoons, these features vanished, leaving Betty human, though Bimbo is still quite plainly interested in her.
- Good Bad Girl
- Have a Gay Old Time: "Bimbo" was slang for a coarse, simple-minded male at the time these were made.
- Hello, Nurse!: Betty got this reaction from nearly every male character she encountered before the Hays Code interfered.
- Idea Bulb: Grampy's "thinking cap" has a bulb on it that lights up when he's inspired.
- Instant Gravestone: In the short Betty Boop, M.D., a wheelchair-bound elderly man takes a swig of Betty's patent medicine Jippo, dances around seemingly rejuvenated, but then lies down in the road and pulls the asphalt over his head, as a scat-singing tombstone pops up. The man's arm then pokes out of the grave to plant a flower on it.
- Interspecies Romance: Between Betty and Bimbo.
- Kick the Dog: The farmer in Be Human
- Living Toys: "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" in which Betty is a toy herself.
- Loners Are Freaks: One could interpret the Aesop of Betty Boop's song in Making Friends as being this trope, though it could also be interpreted more benignly as "socializing is good for you".
- Medium Blending: The short "Buzzy Boop" mixes a hand painted train cabin with a live action train ride in the background.
- Mickey Mousing
- Mind Screw: Many of her cartoons were these, most notable examples are "Bimbo's Initiation", "Minnie the Moocher" and "Betty Boop, M.D."
- Mr. Fixit: Grampy, an old man who seemingly can invent anything out of anything else.
- Ms. Fanservice: One of the pioneering animated examples.
- Musical Episode: Any of the episodes featuring Cab Calloway.
- Also, "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You", featuring Louis Armstrong.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Though singer Helen Kane lost her suit against the Fleischers, the resemblance to her is strong, especially when you hear her sing.
- Panty Shot: Several times until the Hays Office stepped in.
- Pie-Eyed: Most of the character designs.
- Public Domain Animation: Several of her cartoons have slipped into the the Public Domain, so it's not uncommon to see some of her old cartoons compiled onto Dollar Store DVD sets.
- Puddle-Covering Chivalry: In "The Old Man Of The Mountain", a bear takes off his fur coat to help Betty cross a puddle.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin
- Although the studio's sole attempt to colorize her ("Poor Cinderella") revealed her to be—surprise!—a redhead. Fridge Brilliance in that she was partially modeled after the actress Clara Bow, who also had red hair, though many people didn't know it due to the black-and-white film.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: Occured in a few of her shorts, such as Ha!Ha!Ha!. Also, Betty made an appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Trope Namer itself, almost 50 years later — voiced by the same actress!
- Recent advertisements for Lancome's Betty Boop Mascara feature her interacting with real humans.
- Rotoscoping: Cab Calloway's dance moves were rotoscoped for his appearances in the cartoons, most famously as a dancing walrus. Calloway loved it and was said to have fallen out of his seat in convulsive laughter upon first viewing his animated Odobenus rosmarus counterpart.
- Calloway loved the cartoons that featured his songs ("Snow White", "Minnie The Moocher" and "The Old Man of the Mountain") for another reason as well; he had stated that his concerts enjoyed higher ticket sales in cities where the Betty Boop cartoons played before. Betty Boop became his "advance woman", introducing movie audiences to his musical style.
- Sexy Backless Outfit: Betty, of course.
- She's Got Legs
- Small Annoying Creature: Her dog, Pudgy.
- Snake Oil Salesman: Betty in "Betty Boop M.D.", selling a substance known as Jippo that basically does anything.
- That Russian Squat Dance: Pudgy and the parrot do this while the other animals are tearing up Betty's house in "Making Friends".
- The Tease
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Buzzy and Betty, Sally Swing and Betty.
- Unfortunate Name: Bimbo will obviously be this to modern audiences who are unaware that the name was slang for "loser" during the '30s, and then of course for 1930's audiences as well, seeing as his name meant "loser."
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?