Sunday, March 18, 2007

Plus ultra presents Cab Calloway Performing Minnie the Moocher in Betty Boop classic Max Fleisher Animation

It is unbelievable how the dance style of Cab Calloway at the start of this classic 1932 animation looks very similar to how people are dancing today 75 years later. To say he was ahead of his times is true in many ways. He really was "a head" in his times as you can surely tell the legendary Jazz Musician is clearly high as a kite all hopped up on some mean reefer (marijuana, chronic, tea,etc...) Not only could the hep cat dance, but he could scat and sing and hi de hi de hi ho de ho de ho better than most hip hop free stylers do today. Betty Boop also seems timeless and is still as sexy today as she was 75 years ago. Even more impressive is she did not even need any cosmetic surgery, boob jobs or facelifts to maintain her popularity. Can you imagine how risque the burlesque cartoon creation of the Fleischer brothers was in the early thirties! The rotoscoped glide dancing animation is still extremely watchable, smart, creative, surreal, and whacky as even the most current technologically advanced cartoons of 2007. Check it out:

Cab Calloway (December 25, 1907–November 18, 1994) was a famous American jazz singer and bandleader. Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States' most popular African American big bands from the start of the 1930s through the late 1940s. Calloway's Orchestra featured performers that included trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon "Chu" Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. Calloway continued to perform right up until his death in 1994 at the age of 86.
Fleischer Studios, Inc. is an American corporation which originated as an animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York. It was founded in 1921 by brothers Max Fleischer and Dave Fleischer, who ran the company from its inception until being fired by parent company Paramount Pictures in January 1942. In its prime, it was the most significant competitor to Walt Disney Productions, and is notable for bringing to the screen cartoons featuring Koko the Clown, Betty Boop, Popeye the Sailor, and Superman.
Betty Boop was the first female flapper cartoon. She made her first appearance on August 9, 1930 in the cartoon Dizzy Dishes, the sixth installment in Fleischer's Talkartoon series. She was little like her soon-to-be-famous self, however. Grim Natwick, a veteran animator of both Walt Disney's and Ub Iwerks' studios, was largely responsible for creating the character, which he modeled on Helen Kane, a singer and contract player at Paramount Pictures, the studio that distributed Fleischer's cartoons. In keeping with common practice, Natwick made his new character an animal, in this case, a French poodle. Beginning with this cartoon, the character's voice was performed by several different voice actresses until Mae Questel got the role, in 1931, and kept it for the rest of the series.

Natwick himself later conceded that Betty's original look was quite ugly. The animator redesigned her in 1932 to be recognizably human in the cartoon Any Rags. Her floppy poodle ears became hoop earrings, and her poodle fur became a bob haircut. She appeared in ten cartoons as a supporting character, a flapper girl with more heart than brains. In individual cartoons she was called "Nancy Lee" and "Nan McGrew". She usually served as studio star Bimbo's girlfriend. She was not officially christened "Betty Boop" until the 1932 short Stopping the Show that same year. This was also the first cartoon to be officially part of the Betty Boop series and not a Talkartoon.
Related Post- Bimbo's Initiation and mybloglog

1 comment:

d. chedwick bryant said...

Thanks for these great posts, is that a new BLOG PLUS ULTRA label up top, above the great short fiction? Cool.