This Day in History – August 9th, 1930

We are only five and half years away from being back in the 20’s, and many hope that they will be as roaring as the Jazz Age of the last century. One image of the 1920’s is the flapper girl, and the greatest flapper icon must surely be the animated character Betty Boop who debuted on the big screen on this day in 1930.

Betty Boop Dizzy Dishes

Upon her first appearance in “Dizzy Dishes,” Betty Boop was actually an anthropomorphic French poodle performing for other dog characters, but right from the beginning she was a curvaceous representation of flirtation and sexuality. Her more human form was introduced in 1932 with “Any Rags”; her floppy poodle ears became hoop earrings, and her black poodle nose became a girl’s button-like nose. By the mid-30’s, the Hays Code demanded that her sexual nature be toned done, resulting in a more modest, yet still sensual, version of this decadent flapper.

Helen_kaneClara_Bow_1927Max Fleischer, the creator of Betty Boop, based her look on singer Helen Kane (pictured left), although many consider Clara Bow (pictured right) to be the inspiration. Betty’s voice was first performed by Margie Hines, and was later performed by several differentvoice actresses, including Kate Wright, Bonnie Poe, Ann Rothschild (also known as Little Ann Little), and most notably, Mae Questel. Questel, who began voicing Betty Boop in 1931, continued with the role until her death in 1998. Today, Betty is voiced by Tress MacNeille, Sandy Fox and Cindy Robinson in commercials.

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