The Kingfish Files

Jun 11

Written by: host
6/11/2011 8:41 PM  RssIcon

Last week an astute subscriber noted that Annette Hanshaw reminded him of Betty Boop, and therein lies a tale.  It is no accident that Annette sounds like Betty Boop, but the connection is somewhat indirect. Betty Boop, that famous cartoon flapper, was created in 1930 by Max Fleischer, but her roots go back to 1928, the year that Helen Kane recorded "I Wanna Be Loved By You". 
Helen was not only a huge hit, she started a craze for "baby talk" style singing that was taken up by none other than Annette Hanshaw in recordings such as "I Think You'll Like It".

 My favorite line:
where shakespeare ends that's where we start in,
Cut the words and get to where the deeds begin

The Lawsuit

Betty Boop Anybody with ears and eyes can see that Betty Boop (left) was modeled after Helen Kane. The big eyes, short dark hair, cupid bow lips, Bronx-accented baby talk, and the all-important "Boop Boop A Doop".  In 1934, Helen Kane sued Max Fleischer for stealing her persona and she should have won.  But Max had good lawyers.  They discovered that there was a little known singer named "Baby Esther" (right) who preceded her with a similar singing style (they claimed) and, therefore, Helen was not the owner of her style.  Apparently it didn't matter to the judge that Baby Esther was uknown to the public at large, bore no resemblence to Betty Boop, and made no recordings. Basiclly, Helen Kane was cheated out of what was due to her and that's the end of that story.


Baby Esther


Search The Kingfish Files