26 June 2005 | F Gwynplaine MacIntyre
Don't buy peanuts from Bimbo.
'Boop-Oop-a-Doop' is an early Betty Boop cartoon, from the period when the Fleischers were still imitating Disney. The cartoon starts with Betty dancing a shimmy ... then the camera pulls back to reveal that this is actually a *drawing* of Betty on a circus banner, rippling in the wind. I laughed as I realised the meta-fiction aspect of this gag: it's not a drawing of the real Betty (who's just a drawing), it's a drawing of a drawing of Betty.
This time Betty works in the circus as a lion tamer, and I wonder if this 1932 cartoon inspired Mae West to play a lion tamer a few months later in 'I'm No Angel'. An elephant lumbers past, bearing a giant inkwell on his back like a howdah, and Koko the Clown makes his familiar entrance out of the inkwell. Bimbo is with the circus too, as the peanut butcher, but his running gag has an unfunny payoff.
Betty is pursued by the lustful ringmaster, whose moustache has a life of its own. He actually says 'Ah, me beauty!'. I was hoping he would catch Betty, so that I could find out precisely WHAT a male cartoon character intends to do with (or to) a female cartoon character. I guess I'll never know. Some of Betty Boop's songs feature double entrendres, but here she sings 'Don't take my "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" away', a sentiment which is a single entendre at best. I'll rate this toon 4 out of 10.