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Betty Boop: the first animated femme fatale


Betty Boop: the first animated femme fatale

Betty Boop was created by Max Fleischer and Grim Natwick in 1930. Prior to Betty, female animated characters were quite childish. She is the first character to depict a sexy grown woman.

Betty Boop's design was based on actress and singer Helen Kane. Ms Kane was a popular American singer whose song "I want to be loved by you" was sung in a babyish voice. The original animated character was a combination of Ms Kane's physical attributes and a French poodle drawn by Grim Natwick. The character later evolved under Max Fleischer's direction into Betty Boop.

Ms Kane even tried to sue over the Betty Boop character saying it had destroyed her career, but she lost in the courts. In 1933 Ms Kane agreed for a comic to be developed called the "Boop-Boop-a-Doop Girl by Helen Kane." It was the first time the Betty Boop character appeared in a comic strip.

Betty's trademark line is "Boop-Boop-a-Doop"

Betty Boop animation history

  1. Betty's first animation appearance is in the short animation film "Dizzy Dishes". It was produced by Fleischer Studios in 1930.
  2. Betty was a secondary character in the Fleischer Studios series of 42 animated films called "Talkartoons", which were produced between 1929 and 32. Betty was a secondary character until late 1931 when she was promoted to a main character. Secondary characters included Betty's love interest Bimbo.
  3. In 1932, Betty Boop was given her own series of films. The early Betty Boop cartoons were geared for an adult audience. Betty herself was reminiscent of a flapper from Depression era jazz clubs.
  4. In 1934, the National Legion of Decency and the Production Code of 1934 changed the guidelines on sexuality in film. This greatly affected the Betty Boop cartoons. Her dress became less revealing, and the winks and swiveling hips often seen in the animation were removed from the animation.

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