In 1930 the Max Fleischer Studios introduced into its line-up of sophisticated, often surreal cartoon characters a poodle-human hybrid that quickly morphed into a sexy, Jazz Age flapper named Betty Boop. Betty became a hit for Fleischer and was the star of an amazing series of cartoons that in many cases built around contemporary popular music...the early 1930s version of MTV. Unfortunately, Betty's appeal was seriously compromised when, in 1934, the Motion Picture Association of America began enforcing the Hays Code, a self-regulation system that spelled out what was morally acceptable and morally unacceptable content for motion pictures produced for a public audience. Fleischer was forced to make Betty--and, indeed, all of his cartoons--"cleaner" and more wholesome. The most serious casualty of the process was the whacky, sassy, truly creative and sophisticated nature of the Fleischer cartoons...and their very serious commitment to jazz performance.
Shedd Executive Director Jim Ralph hosts this presentation of several of these Fleischer Studios Betty Boop gems, featuring songs like Cab Calloway's "Minnie The Moocher" (1932) and "St. James Infirmary" (Snow White, 1933...definitely not your grandmother's Disney version!), Louis Armstrong's "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You" (), The Royal Samoans (Bamboo Isle, 1932), Don Redman's "How'm I Doin'?" and "I Heard" (I Heard, 1933), and more.