On this day in 1930, American movie audiences were introduced to the cartoon character known as “Betty Boop,” whose first role was a bit part as a nightclub singer in the animated film “Dizzy Dishes.”
Though Boop’s ethnic identity is unclear, her creator was the Austrian-born Jewish film producer Max Fleischer (1883-1972), who with his brothers Dave and Lou established Fleischer Studios in 1921.
Fleischer was the first to make an animated film with synchronized sound – in 1926, two years before Walt Disney introduced “Steamboat Willie.”
Fleischer and Paramount prevailed in a lawsuit filed by actress and signer Helen Kane, “the Boop-Oop-a-Doop Girl,” who claimed they had appropriate her appearance and style, the image of Betty Boop was toned down after Hollywood adopted a new production code in 1934: the highly sexualized flapper now became a more modestly dressed career woman. That was the beginning of the end for Betty, whose last feature appearance came in 1939.
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