Betty Boop: 18 Interesting Facts

About the cartoon

Betty Boop was inspired by a real-life Black jazz singer and entertainer from Harlem named Esther Jones.  In 1930, Fleischer Studios gave birth to Betty, a creepy dog created as the love interest for Bimbo, an animated dog with his Talkartoon series.

This was the first animated sex symbol in America. Betty Boop was, to some extent, influenced by the style and music that Black singers created. In 1932, for the jazzy “Any Rags,” she replaced the floppy ears for hoop earrings and went on to star in over 100 animated shorts.

The creation of Betty Boop

With assistance from animators like Grim Natwick, Max Fleischer created the animated cartoon character Betty Boop. She first appeared in the Fleischer Studios and Paramount Pictures-produced Talkartoon and Betty Boop movie series between 1930 and 1939. She appeared in 90 theatrical cartoons. Additionally, she’s on mass merchandise and comic strips.

Here are some fun facts about Betty Boop

Esther Jones.
  1. PBS has revealed that Esther Jones, an actual African American jazz singer and artist from Harlem, was the inspiration for the well-known cartoon character Betty Boop that Max Fleischer created in 1930. She went under the stage name “Baby Esther”.
  2. Sadly, she was whitewashed once her character became the first and most well-known looker in animation, and most people have no idea who the original inspiration was. 
  3. Initially, Betty Boop was shown as an African American woman in cartoons. She made an appearance in at least one animated clip from the well-known Popeye The Sailor Man series. However, not long after that, she changed into a white woman and stayed until her role as the character was eventually retired. According to estimates, the Betty Boop brand brought millions of dollars from retail sales and television networks.
  4. Esther “Baby Esther” Jones rose to fame in the late 1920s for singing in a baby voice and appearing at the storied Cotton Club in Harlem. Then, in 1928, white jazz singer Helen Kane imitated Jones’ singing and scatting manner after seeing Esther’s cabaret performance. While recording her successful song “I Wanna Be Loved By You,” Kane additionally substituted “boop-oop-a-doop” for the interpolated words “boo-boo-boo” and “doo-doo-doo.”
  1. As a young star, Esther Jones entertained crowds in nightclubs worldwide. Esther had a distinctive voice, her signature eyebrow-raising and fast eye-ball gyrations!
  2. African-American jazz musicians like Louie Armstrong and Cab Calloway benefited from Betty Boop’s exposure, which helped promote the developing American art form in the 1930s.
  3. However, the background of this cartoon is rife with prejudice, robbery, and a notorious court case that featured a brutal struggle for Betty Boop’s very existence.
  4. Jazz singer Helen Kane decided to include “Boop boop a doop” in one of her performances, and her career as a struggling jazz singer began to take a turn for the worse. It was popular. She neglected to explain, however, that Esther Jones, a black jazz vocalist who inspired her (clears throat… imitated), was the source of both her trademark and her entire sound. Helen would probably have gotten away with copying Esther’s voice and distinctive movements. Still, she grew enraged when she learned that Max Fleischer, the man behind Betty Boop, had made a fortune off of “her” approach, and she sued him along with Paramount.
  5. Some claim that Max Fleischer, like Helen, was also influenced by Esther Jones and modeled Betty Boop after Esther Jones’ appearance and personality.
  6. After multiple court proceedings, the court decided in Esther Jones’ favor, and Helen Kane lost her claim to fame as the model for Betty Boop.  Eventually, the truth came out, and jazz singer Esther “Baby” Jones was credited with being the inspiration for Betty Boop.
  7. Unfortunately, Esther Jones died suddenly and would never have the opportunity to acquire fame or money from the cartoon, Betty Boop.
  8. Betty Boop was originally a dog cartoon character with long, floppy ears and strong legs.
  9. The character faced criticism for being overly attractive in the 1930s.
  10. There are currently 250 companies manufacturing Betty Boop-licensed goods in the US and almost as many overseas.
  11. Over 100 cartoons have featured Betty Boop as the lead.
  12. The cartoons featured great musical performers, including Maurice Chevalier, Ethel Merman, Rudy Vallée, Louis Armstrong, and Cab Calloway.
  13.  Although other people have also performed the voice of Betty, Mae Questel was the first to do so, making her voice distinctive. Mae was also Olive Oyl, the Popeyes girl.
  14. Betty Boop was one of the first cartoons with a soundtrack.

The Scared Crows (1939) Cartoon


There is a lot about Ms. Boop that we didn’t know, and guys, it’s way crazier than you might imagine, even if we grew up with her iconic image plastered across a vast empire of licensed merchandise.

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