Betty Boop was a cartoon character originally created by Max Fleischer with the help of an animator named Grim Natwick. Betty first appeared August 9, 1930 in a cartoon called Dizzy Dishes. It was part of a Fleischer Talkartoon series. Mr. Fleischer finalized Betty Boop’s character in 1932. Betty Boop was also featured in comic strips. Betty was a caricature of a Jazz Age flapper girl. She was a combination of a singer Helen Kane who rose to fame as “The Bopp-Oop-A-Doop Girl” and Clara Bow who was an actress that was popular in the 1920’s.
Betty’s voice was first performed by Margie Hines. Later several other actresses were used. Mae Questel became Betty’s voice in 1931 and continued until 1939. Betty Boop was unique as a female cartoon character. This was because she represented a sexualized woman. Betty wore short dresses, high heels, and a garter. She wore a low cut top highlighting her breasts and showed cleavage. Pretty radical for the time.
In 1932 Helen Kane sued Mr. Fleischer and Paramount Publix Corporation for exploiting her personality and looks. Helen kane lost the lawsuit.
The animated cartoons of Betty Boop have been rediscovered in the last 30 years. Up until 2013 no releases existed of Betty Boop cartoons on DVD or Blu-ray. Olive Films released non-public domain cartoons.
Just this year on February 11, 2016 Deadline announced a 26 episode series is in production. This is in partnership with King Features, Fleischer Studios and Normaal Animation. The target audience will be the teenage market.
There is a tremendous amount of Betty Boop merchandise available. From cellphone covers, pajamas, car floor mats, tee shirts and the list goes on. There are also Betty Boop collectibles for sale.