Heptune presents:

Betty Boop in Minding the Baby

by Megaera and Brenna Lorenz

    This Talkartoon, produced in 1931, is Betty Boop's ninth cartoon appearance. The tone is set during the credits with the title song, performed in an exaggerated sappy, operatic female voice to the tune of "Rockabye Baby:"

Minding the baby,
Walking the floor,
Stubbing your big toe,
Making it sore.

When he awakes,
The baby will bawl,
Oh, who wants a baby,
Cradle and all?

    Bimbo is similar in appearance to his most familiar later form, but with a sharper face and longer floppy ears. However, the ears get shorter as the cartoon progresses, and he looks like his usual self by the time the cartoon gets past the few opening scenes.
    Bimbo's mother goes shopping and leaves Bimbo in charge of his baby brother, Aloysius. Bimbo's mother is an enormously fat person of indeterminate species. One would assume that she is a dog like her son, but the only indication we have of this is her round black nose. Certainly she has no obvious dog ears, but maybe they're hidden beneath her hair. Aloysius is similarly indeterminate; he has the black nose, and perhaps we can assume that the ears are tucked up in his big frilly bonnet.
    Bimbo puts Aloysius into his cradle, where Aloysius lights up a cigar and checks out the Stock Market report (or "Stuck Market" as it actually reads, in one of the few references to the Depression that can be found in Betty Boop cartoons). Aloysius may have been the model for Baby Herman in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  Bimbo clearly doesn't appreciate being forced to mind the baby, especially when he gets an invitation from Betty Boop, in the apartment across the alley, to come over to her house to play.
    Betty Boop is in her most familiar form by now, except for the floppy ears, the only dog trait she retains.
    After exchanging notes with Bimbo, Betty sings:

Won't you come and play in my house?
Don't you like me anymore?
Papa's gone away to business,
Mama's gone out to the store.

You can play that you're the father,
And I'll make believe I'm ma;
But if you don't play in my house,
I won't like you anymore!

    To this, Bimbo replies, "I can't help it," and recites:

I must stay and watch the brat,
'Cause ma and pa just had a spat;
The ice man still brings ice, you see,
But our ice box runs with 'tricity!

    Well, there you have it!
    Bimbo then sneaks over to Betty's, under the mistaken impression that Aloysius is asleep. In Bimbo's absence, Aloysius gets into trouble with the player piano, almost getting eaten by it and then falling out the window holding onto the paper strip from the piano. During this episode, a sleeping hippopotamus plays "The Peanut Vendor" by snoring through the holes in the piano roll. Then Aloysius starts to torture the cat with the vacuum cleaner, showing just how old that practice is! Eventually he vacuums his mother up off the street and Betty and Bimbo back from next door. As Betty, Bimbo and Aloysius hide behind a big chair in Bimbo's apartment, Aloysius winds up for a bawl, but Bimbo forestalls him by zipping his mouth shut. And that's the end.

    It's interesting to get a look at Bimbo's mother, and Aloysius is an entertainingly obnoxious baby. This is not a bad cartoon, although definitely not in the top ten.

This cartoon is available in the following collection:

Hear Louis Armstrong and his band perform the beautiful "Peanut Vendor" on Louis Armstrong 1930-1932, as well as "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You!"

Return to the Heptune Guide to Betty Boop Cartoons.
Return to the Jazz and Blues Lyrics Page.

Published 4/1/99.
Updated 8/28/99.