Betty Boop makes her first appearance in Dizzy Dishes, a Fleischer Studios Talkartoon cartoon produced in 1930. The setting is a cabaret filled with customers but with only one food-service employee, Bimbo, who works as both waiter and chef. Before the cartoon even starts, we are treated to the following ditty which accompanies the credits:
Step right this way for a cabaret,
Don't wait to be invited;
Just check your gloom,
You'll all find room,
Come in and get excited!
So shake your feet,
Sit down and eat
Corn beef or macaroni;
Our food's well-spiced,
But when it's sliced
It's just a lot of baloney!
The cartoon begins with a chorus line
of performing flapper cats. The applauding audience includes a "cardboard"
lioness and hippopotamus who are unanimated except for their clapping hands;
the contrast between these rigid characters and the fluidity of everyone
else is quite startling.
Cruising through the customers is Bimbo, the waiter, who is a tall, skinny black dog with white ears, supposedly a French poodle. In this guise, Bimbo is a comic character with no trace of his later cuteness. Bimbo waits on a large, hungry gorilla character who orders roast duck, and then goes to the kitchen to assume his role as chef, where he prepares a headless duck carcass for consumption by shaving it. He is continuously interrupted in his culinary activities by hungry customers who stick their heads in the window and demand food. A Jewish dog requests ham, and a German dog demands knishes, then loses his nose temporarily when Bimbo slams the window shut on his muzzle.
At last Bimbo essays forth with the duck on a platter while the gorilla pounds the table, mumbling and salivating. But on the way, Bimbo encounters Betty Boop sitting on the stage, and the gorilla never gets his duck.
Here is Betty Boop as she first appears: She's a dog, of course, with long ears, a black button nose, jowls and lots of teeth. Her appearance is more doglike in this cartoon than in any other. During her brief performance, she changes form and proportions with an almost amoeba-like fluidity. At times, her mouth projects into a large muzzle and then retracts. The effect suggests that the animators didn't have particularly good control over the appearance of the character. The voice sounds like Mae Questal's. This is the song she sings to Bimbo:
Lovin', I have to have lovin',
But when I'm having my lovin',
I have to have boop-boop-a-doop and have... [Bimbo: boop-boop-a-doop!]
Lovin', oh, I must have my lovin',
But when I'm having my lovin',
I have to have you! [Bimbo: Boop-boop-a-doop-boop!]
I'm so blue, waiting for you
To take me,
Oh, I can't go on like this,
Give me a kiss, huh?
And make me
Whoopee, I want to make whoopee,
And if I want to make whoopee,
I have to have boop-boop-a-doop-a-doop, boop-boop-a-doop!
During this performance, Bimbo's heart
starts wandering through his body and at one point tries to pop out through
Thus distracted, Bimbo and the roast duck get up on stage and perform a dance during which the duck lays an egg. Out of this hatches a headless plucked dancing duckling.
Meanwhile, the starving gorilla eats the tableware, and then the table. He breaks off the table's leg, eats it down to the bone (yes, bone), and then eats the bone. Finally he comes after Bimbo, who chops a table (and other stuff) into a small train on which he escapes. The gorilla makes one final grab at the errant waiter, who steals his pants and disappears through the wall of the cabaret. The last thing we see as this cartoon ends is the gorilla's beribboned legs and vast rear end covered with polka-dot underwear.
This cartoon is mainly of interest because it is Betty Boop's first, and it's fascinating to compare her earliest appearance with what she looked like later.
This cartoon is available in the following collections:
Return to the Heptune
Guide to Betty Boop Cartoons.
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