Today we’ll dig into one of those later Betty Boop cartoons – you know, the ones produced after the Production Code went into effect. No character was more affected than Fleischer’s Betty Boop. Still popular enough to warrant her own starring series, the Fleischer’s began saddling her with supporting characters – Pudgy the Dog, niece Buzzy Boop, Grampy, boyfriend Freddy, Sally Swing, comic strip icons Henry (“The Funniest Living American”), The Little King, Little Jimmy, and on and on…
They also had to remove the sexual element. Betty’s late-30s model chart (above) was altered to lengthen her dress, and her face rounded to create a more wholesome look. She became a progressive, modern woman – introducing audiences to new ideas (The New Deal Show), new fashions (Keep In Style) and promoting healthy habits (More Pep).
Below is what may (or may-not) be the storyboard for Be Up To Date (released 2/25/38), a typical entry in the series at this point. Is this the actual storyboard? Fleischer boards are very rare so it’s hard for me to be sure – this one seems more simplistic than the boards I’ve seen from other studios at the time. Maybe they were in a rush to move to Miami. That said, if you compare it to the finished film (below) its all there. Thirty-three scenes on 11 pages – with notes as to who animated which shot – Frank Enders, Hal Walker, Otto Feuer and Tom Johnson handle all the chores. Note the first scene is indicated as an “ad-lib” setback shot (animated car by Johnson).
Click thumbnails below to enlarge.