A Last Look At Betty Boop’s First Boyfriend

Bimbo didn’t last through the whole Betty Boop series. As best I can figure, his last appearance was in I Heard. The cartoon was released the 1st of September, 1933, and it opens with a long introduction from Don Redman And His Orchestra. Jazz orchestras would be key parts to several of the best Betty Boop cartoons, including Minnie the Moocher and Snow White. Those cartoons feature rotoscoped action based on Cab Calloway. I Heard just has the music.

I Heard hasn’t got the reputation of Snow White or Minnie the Moocher and I suppose that’s fair. It builds up to a great and strange sequence that sounds like a dream animated — once you’ve seen the cartoon describe it in five words — but it takes some time to get there. It gets there by way of a fun string of jokes about a mine and Betty Boop’s Tavern Or Saloon, depending whether you look at the cartoon or the Don Redman opening. I don’t want to understate the value of those gags, either. They all work, and many shots, particularly of the elevators moving, show the sort of ingenious mechanism that the Fleischers specialized in. They’ll set up contraptions and the fun will be in watching how they can possibly work.

I had the impression that the singer/waiter in the opening minutes at Betty Boop’s Tavern was the Bimbo model used in Dizzy Dishes, the generally-accepted first appearance of Betty. I was remembering badly. The characters have some resemblance in their body types and the way they move, and that their business is being a waiter, but there’s not much resemblance past that. Shame. There would have been a lovely symmetry in the last Bimbo cartoon recalling something from the first Betty Boop one.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

5 thoughts on “A Last Look At Betty Boop’s First Boyfriend”

  1. It’s worth noting that Don Redman and His Orchestra recorded both I HEARD (10/15/31) and HOW’M I DOIN’? (2/26/32) well before this cartoon. He composed both songs, as well as a number of others familiar to jazz fans of his era, such as GEE, BABY, AIN’T I GOOD TO YOU and CHERRY, which was a hit for the Harry James band in 1942.
    Redman was truly a jazz giant of his time as a bandleader, composer and arranger.


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