Betty Boop-famous sexy cartoon character

Opening Title

opening title of the Betty Boop Cartoons series. Public domain.
opening title of the Betty Boop Cartoons series. Public domain.

Betty Boop in Bamboo Hut

public domain
public domain

Betty Boop

It seems that this classic cartoon character is a native of Wisconsin Rapids, or at least her creator is. Myron “Grim” Natwick was born August 16, 1890 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin where I presently live. He was a top animator at Flescher studios in New York City where Betty Boop was born. He had worked for a number of top animation studios, such as Disney, Walter Lantz and others. He was part of the team that started the Betty Boop.

Betty Boop is an animated cartoon character which appeared in Talkartoon, and the Betty Boop series of films starting in the 1930’s. The cartoon character was different because of an overt sexual appeal that filmgoers liked. Later with the advent of movie codes the films had to be toned down because of overt sexual innuendo. However she still seems popular and there are collectables for those so inclined.


Her first appearance was on August 9, 1930 in the cartoon Dizzy Dishes, in the sixth installment of the Talkatoons series. She was modeled after popular singer Helen Kane famous popular singer of the 1920’s and Clara Bow, a popular actress of the 1920’s.Oddly Clara Bow did not do well in talking pictures because of a Brooklyn accent, but it became a trademark for Betty.

Betty was in the first “Color Classic” cartoon Poor Cinderella where she was depicted with red hair. In her only theatrical color appearance in 1934, according to Wikipedia.She had a cameo appearance in the cartoon feature Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Screen.” The series lasted until 1939.

IN 1932 she had become a Talkartoons star. And had her own series. She became “The Queen of the Animated Screen.

Betty Boop and Henry

Sex Symbol

Betty Boop is known as the first and one of the most famous sex symbols on the animated screen” from Wikipedia.. She was also a Depression ear symbol to remind people of the carefree days of the Jazz Age flappers. Adult audiences were the base of popularity and the cartoon contained sexual/psychological elements.

In Minnie the Moocher her character was defined as a teenager rebelling against her parents. She runs away runs away and get lost in a haunted cave with her boyfriend Bimbo. A ghostly walrus sings the famous song “Minnie the Moocher,” along with ghosts and skeletons, the two teenagers return back to the safety of home.

No cartoon character of the period presented as much of a sexualized woman as Betty. She wore short dresses, high heels and a grater belt. Her breasts were suggested by a low contoured bodice that showed cleavage. Male characters tried to sneak peeks at while she is walking along. In Betty Boop’s Bamboo Isle she does a hula topless. Which was repeated in a cameo in the first Popeye cartoon, Popeye the Sailor? The animators kept her pure on screen but there were always challenges to her virtue.


According to Wikipedia in the 1931 The Bum Bandit and Dizzy Red Riding Hood were given distinctly “impure” endings.

In the first three years, due to he “Jazz Baby” character and innocent sexuality aimed at adults were considered her best appearances. Restrictions were put on content and from the mid-1934 she became a husbandless, housewife, career girl wearing a fuller dress or skirt.

The cartoons were tamer and aimed at a younger audience. But it led to the decline of the series. There were attempts to retain interest by pairing her with popular comic strip characters such as Henry, The Little King and Little Jimmy. None generated a new series, except for Popeye some time before.



Betty Boop Collection

Gnu Free documentation licens H3yjt
Gnu Free documentation licens H3yjt

Present

Home video

No DVD’s have been released. Some are available on VHS and LaserDisc collections of the 1990’s. More recognition has been achieved through merchandise license.

King Features did a comic strip by Bud Counihan from 1934 through 1937 with help from Fleisher and Hal Seeger. From 1984 through 1988, a revival strip with Felix the Cat, Betty Boop and Felix was produced by Mort Walker’s sons Brian, Neal, Greg and Morgan, according to Wikipedia.

Wisconsin Rapids is having a Betty Boop festival August 5-8, 2010. Anyone close by might wish to go to it. Many events are free.

Wisconsin Rapid, Wi

A markerWisconsin Rapids, WI -
Wisconsin Rapids, WI, USA
[get directions]

This is where the festival is August 5-8

More by this Author


Comments 34 comments

Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Betty Boop was definitely a ground-breaking character. She was the Mae West of cartoons, bringing sexuality to film. I first saw her in the Popeye cartoon. She's the forerunner of characters like Jessica Rabbit.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for being the first to comment. The local festival is what motivated me to write this hub. Maybe the fact that my father was a cartoonist too.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

dahoglund,

Thanks for the information on such a famous (almost infamous) cartoon character. I wish I could come to the festival. I bet it will be a good time had by all who attend.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 6 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I remember Betty Boop. I remember the way she used to roll her eyes in the cartoons and the mush-mouth way she spoke. My favorite character from around this time was Felix the Cat, a character that had a rebirth in the '60s with his bag of tricks. I agree with Robwrite in saying Betty Boop was the Mae West of cartoons even though she really didn't have 'Mae Wests' so to speak. (During WW2 they named an inflatable for sailors after the come-up-and see-me-sometime actress).

Nice write up. I thought Betty would be all Hollywood but apparently she's not. I can see where she'd be a New Yorker.

I haven't seen the 1980s Betty Boop or Felix and quite frankly I don't want to.

A lot of stuff in the '80s, especially rehashed material, was pretty rancid cartoon-wise.

I thought the Astroboy of the '60s brilliant and still do but the '80s Astroboy is the pits.

As soon as a cartoon character becomes a classic they tend to ruin it for some reason in spineless and pointless remakes.


jstankevicz profile image

jstankevicz 6 years ago from Cave Creek

One of my favorite lines by Betty Boop was ..."Mind if I smoke?"...Betty:..."Don't care if ya burn!"...

Fun Hub, or as Betty would say ... boop-boop-A-doop!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Tom,

Thanks for your comment.I confess that I have not seen much of this character but I'll probably see quite a few of the films this week.

Rod,

I remember my reserve instructors referring to life jackets as Mae West.I remember Felix from the Sunday comics.Probably in the 60's. I am not too crazy about a lot of modern cartoons, probably because they lack the touch of the graphic artist. The last show I remember liking was the Roadrunner.I appreciate you positive comment.

jstankevicz,

Thanks for reading and commenting.She was a cartoon character with attitude.


Gawth profile image

Gawth 6 years ago from Millboro, Virginia

She seems to be making a come back. Boop Oop ee doop. She doesn't look a day older than when I was a kid.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

Nice article, I learned a few things about Betty Boop. Thanks for sharing this article.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Gawth,

Thanks for commenting. I'll see what the festival turns out.

Coolmon2009,

Thanks for commenting. The cartoon something of a classic.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

I remember Betty Boop cartoons! I had no idea that her creator came from Wisconsin Rapids. Please let us know how and what the festival was like for most of us who will not be able to be there in person.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Peggy W

I only got the information that the Natwick came from here from the publicity brochure on the festival. It sis the reason I wrote the hub.I figure I have to support the town I live in. I have a link to the festival information on the hub. Thanks for the interest.


Seakay profile image

Seakay 6 years ago from Florida

Ah, Betty Boop! Talk about a blast from the past. This is great!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Seakay,

Thanks for the comment. I find it a good bit of lacal history.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Thanks for all the background information - and if you want to buy Betty Boop items they are all over NYC. I don't know why but they are especially popular for items like shower curtain and tissue box covers, even toilet seats - and everything related to the bathroom. Hmmm.

Well, I have always liked her big head.

Fun hub - thanks!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the positive comment. I saw a number of the old cartoons today which were part of the local festival.They are reminiscent of the style that I remember from years ago.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

Betty Boob is quite a sex symbol among the cartoon characters. I always found her fascinating. Great write up on a legendary character.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you liked it.


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

lol. Who could ever forget Betty Boop. Interesting she's a "Wisconsinite." :)


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for the comment. Wisconsin boast of a lot of things that seem unlikely, like Harley-Davidson. Interestingly Betty Boop is also associated with motorcycles.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia

I grew up with Betty Boop and now after reading your Hub I fully understand her allure ;-) Funny how she has not aged like I have, she is still as gorgeous as ever.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane and the information on Betty. I had no idea that she was modeled on these other two ladies!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I am glad you found the hub informative and entertaining. Thanks for visiting and commenting.


summertime8 6 years ago

Great hub - I love Betty Boop


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I appreciate your visit and your comment.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for reading this hub and commenting.


ariasnote 5 years ago

I didn't know the artist was from WI. Thanks for letting us know...my niece lives in that state. I wonder if she knows? :D Very informative hub!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for your comment.


thewayeyeseeit profile image

thewayeyeseeit 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA

This is great stuff. Reading the info and comments make me laugh because just today, one on my students asked the question, "who knows anything about Wisconsin". Of course she was referring to the Green Bay thingy. But now I have something to tell her!

Thanks, and I definitely remember Betty Boop. She was pretty brash.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I'm glad you found something useful and interesting.Thanks for visiting and commenting.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Betty Boop great cartoon! We have many stores that sell Betty Boop memorabilia and collectibles. She is quite the popular girl!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

More popular than I realized when I wrote this.The festival was popular too, at least the town plans to do it again this year.

Thanks for commenting.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

That would probably be a great festival to visit. Who knows maybe one of these years I will have the pleasure.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

It was fun last year. We are a small city but not quite as isolated as some people in the metro areas think we are.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

I still remember the wording...Boop boop be doop, boop boop! As Robwrite said, she was a sexy character especially back in that day and time.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Peggy w.

Thanks for commenting.This cartoon character is popular and this is one of my most popular hubs.Because of unemployment,lack of babysitters and what not we quite going to movie theaters back in the 1970's. As such we didn't see much in the way of cartoons.It was new to me that an old cartoon character was so popular.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working