Betty Boop was one of the most popular creations in the Max Fleischer stable. Her cartoons were known for their raciness and surreal humor, making them a hit with adult audiences. With their use of looming shadows and scary characters, Leonard Maltin has even called them a kind of animated film noir
. All this was too much for the National Legion of Decency, formed in 1933 to combat objectionable content in motion pictures. When the Production Code was implemented in 1934, censor Joseph Breen took special notice of Betty. He felt her winks and shaking hips were "suggestive of immortality." Consequently Betty's skirt was lengthened and her garter would no longer show. In addition to curtailing Betty's sex appeal, the Fleischers also removed the surreal, at times disturbing humor that made their work so unique. Though the first short on this collection, Betty in Blunderland
(1934) features some classic Fleischer dreamlike imagery, before long the cartoons became more about domesticity, with most of the storylines centering around Betty's dog Pudgy, her baby nephew Junior, and eccentric inventor Grampy. In the span of less than a year Betty had gone from a carefree flapper to a civic-minded old maid. With the series' popularity falling rapidly, the Fleischers tried to stir up interest by spinning off another popular newspaper comic strip character from the Betty shorts, just like they did in 1933 with E.C. Segar's Popeye. This led to several cartoons where Betty met Carl Thomas Anderson's "Henry", Otto Soglow's "The Little King", and Jimmy Swinnerton's "Little Jimmy." However, none of them received their own series of shorts by the Fleischers (The Little King had previously appeared in a few cartoons made by Van Beuren Studios.) Fleischer finally gave up the ghost and retired Betty in 1939, shortly before his studio was taken over by Paramount. This collection includes Poor Cinderella
, the only "Max Fleischer Color Classic" cartoon to feature Betty (surprisingly, she has red hair!)
Featuring 20 cartoons, including Betty in Blunderland, Poor Cinderella, Baby Be Good, Taking the Blame, Swat the Fly, Stop That Noise, No, No, A Thousand Times No, Making Stars, A Little Soap and Water, A Language All My Own, Betty Boop and Grampy, Judge for a Day, Betty Boop with Henry, the Funniest Living American, Betty Boop and the Little King, Betty Boop and Little Jimmy, Little Nobody, We Did It, A Song a Day, Not Now, and Be Human.