Heptune presents:

Betty Boop in Silly Scandals

by Brenna and Megaera Lorenz

    The Talkartoon Silly Scandals, produced in 1931, is the first cartoon in which the Betty Boop character is called Betty.
    A fairly mundane Bimbo cartoon, the action begins with Bimbo wanting to get into a theater to see the show. Bimbo's appearance is the same as in Bum Bandit; he's a small white dog with a moderately large nose. Because he has no money, Bimbo tries various dodges to sneak into the theater, and eventually succeeds. There then follows the standard set of Fleischer audience gags: first Bimbo can't see because he is behind a large hippopotamus who always shifts to block Bimbo's view; the hippo is replaced by a woman with a big hat. When she removes the hat, she has an even bigger hairdo underneath. Bimbo cuts off her hair, and finally can see the stage.
    The crowd cheers Betty by name when she comes on stage. She has dog ears, a white nose, lots of curls, and an enormous head. Except for her ears and proportions, she is beginning to look much more like her familiar image from the later cartoons.
    Betty (Mae Questal) sings "You're Driving Me Crazy," a song composed by Walter Donaldson for the musical comedy Smiles.  This popular song has been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Guy Lombardo, McKinney's Cotton Pickers and others. This is Betty's version:

You left me sad and lonely;
Why did you leave me lonely?
For here's a heart that's only
For nobody but you! (Her heart sings boop-boop-a-doop!)

I'm burning like a flame, dear;
Oh, I'll never be the same, dear;
I'll always place the blame, dear,
On nobody but you.

Yes, you,
You're driving me crazy!
What did I do? What did I do?
My tears for you
Make everything hazy,
Clouding the skies of blue.

    As she sings the above verse, her dress slips down repeatedly, revealing a  lacy bra and causing her to squeal.

How true,
Were the friends who were near me to cheer me,
Believe me, they knew!
But you,
Were the kind who would hurt me, desert me,
When I needed you!

Yes, you!
You're driving me crazy!
What did I do to you?

    At this point, Betty is joined on stage by a line of mechanical dancing penguins who stomp out the beat in accompaniment to her singing:

You! You! You! You! You!
You're driving me crazy!
What did I do? What did I do?
My tears for you, you, you, you, you
Make everything hazy,
Clouding the skies of blue.

How true,
Were the friends who were near me to cheer me,
Believe me, they knew!
But you,
Were the kind who would hurt me, desert me,
When I needed you!

Yes, you!
You're driving me crazy!
What did I do to you?

    Bimbo enthusiastically joins in from his seat, distracting and annoying the other members of the audience. When Betty takes her bows, the crowd chants, "We want Betty! We want Betty!" Unfortunately, they don't get her back. Instead, they get a ferocious lion magician who performs some magic tricks and hypnotizes Bimbo, forcing him to dance. The Fleischers use the old gag where Bimbo shouts, "Stop!" then "Don't!" alternating the two words faster and faster until he is saying, "Don't stop!"
    The cartoon ends with Bimbo singing a verse of "You're driving me crazy," throwing in the line "I'm off my nut for crazy," all to a psychedelic background.

    This cartoon has a mundane beginning and a mundune end, but Betty's performance and the peculiar penguins are top-notch.



This cartoon is available in the following collections: Return to the Heptune Guide to Betty Boop Cartoons.
Return to the Jazz and Blues Lyrics Page.

Published 3/30/99.