Mike Madriaga 11:30 a.m., Aug. 19
Betty Boop is back!
The jobless rate must be going down. Even Betty Boop is off the unemployment line!
She starred in over 100 Paramount cartoons throughout the 1930's and with the exception of Poor Cinderella the animated cutie has never appeared in color. Betty Boop doesn't exist in color. Even her cameo in Who Framed Roger Rabbit is achromatic.
Last month saw the return of Boop. Even though she's a born again cosmetics vendor, it's great to have the queen of pre-code cartoonland back in the public eye.
Lancôme pulled Betty out of mothballs to co-star opposite international supermodel Daria Werbowy in the promotional short, Star Eyes. Betty instructs Werbowy in the art of applying Hypnôse Star mascara. (Given her hubcap-sized peepers, Betty probably goes through a tube an hour.) With one-minute-and-fourteen seconds of image and a 38 second closing crawl, the credits for Star Eyes seem to run as long as Dave Fleischer's original Betty Boop cartoons.
According to King Features, the worldwide exclusive licensing agent for Betty Boop, the syndication giant "worked closely with Lancôme on development and created original Betty Boop artwork for the campaign, which includes print ads in major fashion and lifestyle magazines, outdoor, point-of-purchase displays and demonstrations and extensive social and mobile media support. Primary distribution is in upscale department stores and perfumeries, where demonstration personnel will wear unique Betty Boop items."
Director Joann Sfar (Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life) imbues the short with a soft art deco glow, but voice artist Sandy Fox's helium squeak is no match for Mae Questel's "Boop-Oop-A-Doop."
As of now, none of the vintage Betty Boop cartoons have been remastered and made available on home video. (The best you can hope to find are DVD copies that appear to have been struck from the Republic Home Video laserdisc pressing.) Wouldn't it be nice if Lancôme put some of the profits made off their face paint into restoring Betty to her original splendor?