You can always tell I've run out of inspiration when I begin to post totally bizarre gifs.(Never mind that it's every day.) I seem to be obsessed with these tiny captured cartoons that repeat, and repeat, and repeat, without even having to click "play".
Betty Boop is still emblematic of the 1920s flapper/sexpot character, her pre-Code outfit leaving nothing to the imagination. Her dress is about the size of a postage stamp, and no one knew how the front stayed up (Max Fleischer's iron will, I guess - but I can imagine what the stag reel was like). She often flipped up her microscopic skirt to reveal garters, thigh, and (let's face it) ass.
But her first appearance in a bizarre thing called Dizzy Dishes begs the question: did anyone know who or what Betty Boop was supposed to be? She wasn't even named here, and maybe originally she was just a one-off. Certainly, she was so grotesque that no one would ever want to see her (or hear her - that screechy chalkboard voice) again.
Nevertheless, she was significantly remodelled in time for a return engagement, the mental-institution eyes toned down, the spiky head gradually getting bigger and bigger until it barely balanced on her slutty little body. Huge heads on tiny bodies remind us of dolls, or babies - an instinctive response. I think men secretly lusted after her.
Then came the Hollywood Code as enforced by the Hays Office, a repressive legion of decency that took all the fun out of the movies. Betty's hemline plunged, her neckline shot up, and she began to look increasingly matronly. Here she even pulls her apron down over her knees. Betty! What happened to the little sex fiend who flipped her skirt up in the animal cafe?
Later I think she sold war bonds or something, wearing plaid woolen skirts and brown Oxfords.
The fact is, Betty was originally a dog. Either that, or a human-dog hybrid (a phenomenon I explored in a previous post: FOUND: Cujo's Rogue DNA!). A hideous one, too, flirting shamelessly with that whatever-it-is who pushes his erection-like heart back into his chest. Those aren't earrings you see dangling from her head: they're EARS. Her snout pops in and out as she offers grotesque kisses and flaunts her canine cleavage. Just what were the animators trying to tell us here: that Betty was a bitch?
The odd thing is, her humanizing (or humanization) happened in stages. The flappy ears remained even as her face began to look more normal. Eventually she graduated to long pendulous earrings that still look a lot like those fleshy flaps.
Perhaps some minute trace of dog genes lingered. I would hate to see her children.
(Post-post: I just noticed, in that third gif, that she isn't wearing any panties.)