Set in 1939 New York, Betty Boop is featured as an independent girl with big dreams; as of the present though, she is working two jobs to make ends meet during the Great Depression - a shoe clerk by day and a chorus girl by night at the Club Bubbles of her Uncle Mischa. A local iceman named Freddy is in love with her but Betty only has eyes for the rich playboy Waldo Van Lavish.
Unfortunately for Betty, Uncle Mischa is severely in debt to a local mobster named Johnny Throat. During Betty's performance, Mr. Throat comes to collect the money, accompanied by his two thugs Punchy and Chuckles. When Mr. Throat sees Betty Boop though, he takes an interest in her.
This work features examples of the following tropes:
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Johnny Throat has greenish skin.
- Big Applesauce: Takes place entirely in New York City during 1939
- Big Damn Heroes: Betty and Waldo fall from the tall buildings in Times Square while pursued by Chuckles and Punchy. But Freddy rescues them in a net as he rides in a police helicopter.
- Chorus Girls: Betty Boop performs as one at the Club Bubbles.
- Damsel in Distress: Betty is this when Chuckles and Punchy tie up Betty to take her to Johnny Throat's apartment.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Implied with Freddy. The ending has Betty being called to travel to Hollywood for a screen test, leaving a dumbfounded Freddy staring at the viewers.
- Dirty Coward: Waldo Van Lavish; he is terrified when confronted by Johnny Throat's goons, forcing Betty Boop to take charge.
- Exact Words: Waldo tells Betty he wants her to meet his parents. Betty interprets this as a marriage proposal but ends up finding out that Waldo wanted Betty to be an upstairs maid to his father!
- Expy: Chuckles, one of Johnny Throat's henchmen, is one of Tommy Udo from Kiss of Death according to the script. His trait of eerie laughing was taken from Udo's character.
- Film Noir: The special has elements of this with its dark, muted backgrounds of black and gray.
- Handbag of Hurt: Betty wields one against Johnny Throat's thugs and Waldo Van Lavish.
- The Hyena: Chuckles is this, hence his name.
- Karma Houdini: We never see or hear of Chuckles, Punchy or their boss Johnny Throat being arrested for kidnapping Betty Boop or trying to kill her.
- Loan Shark: Implied with Johnny Throat as Uncle Mischa is heavily in debt to him.
- Period Piece: A television special made in The '80s but set at the end of The '30s
- Real Place Background: Many of the backgrounds resemble photographs with the various cartoon characters animated over them.
- Terrible Trio:
- The Unintelligible: Johnny Throat is this, always communicating in mumbles, grunts and groans. Chuckles translates what Mr. Throat says.