Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Betty Boop on UBM-TV

I can’t get enough of Sweet Betty. She used to kick it with Cab Calloway, so you know she was down with the brothers.

Matter fact, the Video Bar pulled up “Minnie the Moocher”... you gotta check that one out. It begins with a live-action clip of Mr. Calloway doing a crazy, swivel-kneed strut dance that’s the coolest shit you’re likely to see today.

But I wonder what Cab thought of the racist Betty Boop cartoon from 1935, “Making Stars.” See the screenshot with the three little pickaninnies? That’s the one. Supposedly, this cartoon was banned from television... and I see why.

But I ain’t mad at ’em. That was a different time, a different world.

UPDATE (07-07-07): Now that there’s new stuff on my Video Bar, let me point all interested parties to the YouTube clips I mentioned above. “Minnie the Moocher” is here; “Making Stars” is here.


Anonymous said...

Hee Haw and now this. I think I love you! I am a Betty Boop-aholic. She is the bimbo I aspire to be. Thank you so much for the vids!


Undercover Black Man said...

Yeah, I'm quite fuckin' loveable, ain't I? ;^D

Thanks, Nikki.

RC said...

UBM, whose voice is that over the Betty image? I don't have the answer, but I bet you do.

Undercover Black Man said...

RC, that voice belonged to Mae Questel, who was also the voice of Olive Oyl in the "Popeye" cartoons.

Anonymous said...

Before Ed McMahon and Star Searh there was Betty Boop and Making Stars. Who knew? At least on SS we didn't see little black kids being lured off stage by a slice watermelon.

btw, Thanks for the picture of (Willy Tyler's dummy) Lester. Now that's old school! Do you remember Jiffy? She was the ghetto fabulous/sassy soul sistah version of Wayland Flowers' Madame. (If Flowers were still alive and using Jiffy in his act, one nappy-hair joke, and he'd be shut down like Don Imus. Different times, I guess.)

Why the name "Jiffy" anyway? Perhaps because Aunt Jemima was already taken?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Jiffy? For real? The only puppet I ever saw Flowers with was Madame. I better look around on YouTube... sounds like it could be nightmarish... on a near-Shirley-Q.-Liquor level.

Thanks, anon.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Flowers had a black puppet named "Jiffy". Only in hindsight does it seem SQL outrageous, but back then it was kinda funny.

Here's a youtube post called Madame in Manhattan Pt. 7. Jiffy comes in at around 3:14.

Undercover Black Man said...

Thanks for the link... fabulous clip! It's my first time ever seeing Jiffy, and I wasn't wild about the jokes.

Matter of fact, those jokes would fit right in with SQL's routine. (Okay, I admit, the "9 to 5" joke is kinda funny.)

But yeah, the whole gay-white-men mocking poor-black-women thing... Just Say No, people.

john said...

Which side of the fence does "Putney Swope" fall on? Mildly funny satire or inappropriate by today's standards?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ It's been years since I've seen it... decades even. But that's a good question, John. Would it stand up like Ralph Bakshi's "Coonskin"? Or just be embarrassingly out of date?

john said...

Thanks to NetFlix, I watched "Putney Swope" last month. I had seen it in college (c. 1976) and had remembered it as very funny. After 30 years, it was only mildly funny and somewhat dated. The premise is still hilarious and some of the gags were funny, but on the whole, I kept looking at the time to see if the movie was nearly over. The DVD also had a short documentary about the making of the movie with Robert Downey, Sr. He owned up to dubbing all of Putney's lines as the actor Arnold Johnson muffed every line he had.
Do I think today that "Putney Swope" is inappropriate? No, beneath all the stereotypes and caricatures, there still is some honesty and entertainment value.
If NetFlix had "Coonskin", I would put it on my queue. I went to see both "Fritz the Cat" and "Heavy Traffic" when they came out and would love seeing another one of his films.