Friday, December 10, 2021

The Real Betty Boop ! Was An African -American Singer ?

 Well, this well known cartoon character has some history drama behind it. Esther Jones is the name of the real Betty Boop. The iconic animation character Betty Boop was motivated by a Black jazz singer in Harlem. Presented by cartoonist Max Fleischer in 1930, the caricature of allure age flapper was the very first and most popular sex object in animation. Betty Boop is best known for her revealing gown, curvaceous figure, and signature vocals “& Boop Oop A Doop”! While there has actually been debate throughout the years, the inspiration has been traced back to Esther Jones who was nick named as "Baby Esther" and performed frequently in the Cotton Club during the 1920s. Nonetheless, after the notorious Hays Code forced morality restrictions on film, the sexual and psychological undertones of Miss Boop were nearly entirely eliminated. The character was essentially relegated to a more demure profession girl in later years, yet Betty Boop remained a household name for years.

Esther was understood for using phrases like  "Boop-oop-a-doop"  (which would later end up being a signature of the cartoons). Yet, while the Betty Boop creators had acknowledged that Baby Esther is the real deal, the majority of people credit Helen Kane. Why? Helen Kane had in her head to take the credit. Movies soon followed Helen'' s stage success, and by 1930, she was among America's most-loved increasing stars. Her wacky flapper sex appeal and special singing design ensured that there was no one quite like Helen Kane. 

BUT Helen had a trick. You see, that act that made her so special, she had stolen it, from a black singer named ... "Baby Esther". In 1928 Helen Kane made arrangements to see Baby Esther perform and carried out her act months later, Helen was performing those signature scats to adoring audiences.

Court Fight: Helen Kane lost her $ 250,000 violation claim versus the creators of Betty Boop in court because she couldn't show that her singing style, quirks and look was special. Most flappers of the 1920s and 1930s, looked comparable to Kane. She also was not able to prove any of this in court.  Edward J. McGoldrick ruled in favor of the Fleischer Studios and Paramount Pictures after evaluating the proof that was given up in court. After losing the claim, Kane appealed her case and continued to pursue the Betty Boop character, and was later told by another Judge, that... being Judge Crew, that back then a voice, specifically a voice that was not her own might not be copyrighted. So what about Baby Esthers ? Did she submit a lawsuit ?... Despite being the factor that Kane's case was dismissed, "Baby Esther Jones" was never called to testify. The teenage star had returned to America after doing a trip in South America and was performing in the states at the time of the suit. Though Paramount admitted that Betty Boop's singing design was based upon Baby Esther Jones, the studio never offered her a cent for using her likeness and image in producing the commonly successful animation. The studio argued in court it did not owe settlement to Jones because she was presumed dead.

Esther Jones was quite alive and still active in show organization at the time. Paramount simply refused to offer money to a Black (Negro) performer they owed in part for their rampant successes.

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