The History of Betty Boop

By Abby N.

Betty Boop was a 9-year cartoon running from 1930 to 1939. Betty Boop is well known for being a feminist symbol. Unfortunately, she is also a symbol for racism and sex which we will discuss later. 

Through the 30s

Betty first appeared in the 1930 cartoon Dizzy Dishes. According to Betty’s Wikipedia page, she was first designed as a singing french poodle but later became human as she got more popular. Betty Boop was inspired by jazz singer Esther Jones, though because of racism, Betty’s skin tone was changed to white. 


Betty Boop is a cartoon with music and cute animations. Or so you thought. Her constantly getting hit on, her suggestive body motions, the war propaganda, and the evident racism gives us evidence that Betty was strictly for adults. Her song “Ching Ling Choy” has racist words and lyrics.

Banned Episode

An episode of Betty Boop was banned for drug use. This episode was called “Ha, Ha, Ha!” and it was about Betty trying to pull out a tooth for her friend, Koko, but she ends up using WAYYY too much laughing gas causing everyone who smells it to laugh. T.V. executives were very strict about what they put on T.V. at that time, so the episode got banned immediately. 

Voice Actors

Margie Hines, Mae Questel, Bonnie Poe and Ann Little all have voice acted for Betty. The one who did it the longest was Mae who did it until the series ended. Mae was also the voice actor for Olive Oyl in Popeye and Buzzy Boop. Mae unfortunately died in 1998, but her legend still lives on.

Mae in the live action Betty Boop movie “Out of the Inkwell” Photo Credit (Youtube thumbnail):

Betty Boop is still very popular. You can watch her shorts on YouTube and can buy her merchandise in many places!