Sunday, March 29, 2009

Made of Pen and Ink, She Can Win You With a Wink (8/8/06)

When Betty Boop debuted in "Dizzy Dishes," in August 1930, the world of animation changed its tune. Betty, who began life as some kind of canine, was closely based on "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" Girl Helen Kane (who later filed an unsuccessful plagiarism lawsuit). Despite her unique anatomy, Betty added something that had never been seen on the animated screen: sex appeal. Accompanied by her cohorts Koko and Bimbo and such musicians as Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong, Betty was soon appearing in as many as 15 pictures a year. Fame was fleeting, though, and when the Max Fleischer Studio went bust, Betty went with it -- disappearing until a TV resurrection in the 1950s. Even though she hasn't appeared on the screen since 1988, we can still ogle her on bumper stickers, hula dolls, and even an upcoming Broadway musical. Not bad for a 76 year-old flapper!

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