Betty Boop Volume 2 contains twenty-two short films featuring that
adorable, endearing and funny character from the 1930s, Betty Boop. These films
are from the years 1936-1939, and are each five to seven minutes long. In this
collection, other characters like Pudgy and Grampy figure more prominently in
the storylines of many of the episodes. Wiffle Piffle also appears in a couple.
Most (but not all) of these shorts feature at least one song.
More Pep, a short from 1936, begins with live action, then moves to
an animated hand drawing an obstacle course for Pudgy, Betty Boop’s dog. (Terry
Gilliam must have seen this film, for it’s similar to some of his work in Monty Python’s Flying Circus.) Pudgy is
too tired to run the obstacle course, and Betty Boop laughs at the trouble
“Uncle Max” (Max Fleischer) is having with his cartoon subject. Betty sings a
song about pep, and then we get a mix of live action with animation as everyone
and everything gets energized.
Grampy’s Indoor Outing, also from 1936, is a short that features
Grampy. At the beginning a truck goes by advertising the carnival. It says, “Today Only – Also All Week!” Betty sings
a song about going to the carnival. But then it rains. A little boy in her care
throws a tantrum, so Grampy creates his own carnival in his apartment.
Be Human, from 1936, is one of my favorites. It opens with Betty
playing the title song on her piano. She then sees a man whipping a dog
outside, and she tells him to stop, then sings the song to him. He doesn’t
listen, and is cruel to several other animals. So she calls Professor Grampy’s
Animal Aid Society. Grampy gives the man a taste of his own medicine. One of
the funniest images in this episode is the chickens playing pool with their own
Another short that is
absolutely delightful is House Cleaning
Blues, from 1937. Betty wakes to find her place a mess after a great party
took place the night before. She sings as she cleans, but things don’t go well,
and she loses her temper. Grampy arrives and helps out.
The short with
unquestionably the best title is Whoops!
I’m A Cowboy, also from 1937. Wiffle Piffle, a silly little man, proposes
to Betty, but she tells him no, and sings a song about how she wants a cowboy.
So he goes off to learn how to be a cowboy. When shooting at a target, he hits
everything but the mark. He even hits a cow which then falls from the sky.
The short with the best
song is The Hot Air Salesman. Wiffle
Piffle is in this one too, working as a door-to-door salesman who is having no
luck. When he gets to Betty’s house, they sing a ridiculously fun and silly
song. She finally admits him, and he demonstrates his wares, and in the process
destroys her home.
But my favorite short in
this collection is Pudgy Picks A Fight
(1937). Betty gets a package from “I.
Skinnem & U. Wearem Fine Furs.” Inside is a fur stole, which she puts
on and caresses and adores. She rubs the fur against her face, which makes
Pudgy jealous. So he fights the stole. At first he loses, but then after
winning, he becomes worried that he’s actually killed the poor fellow, and
tries to revive him.
One other short I have to
mention is So Does An Automobile,
from 1939. Betty runs an “Auto Hospital,” and sings a song likening cars to
people. This is definitely one of the cuter songs from this collection, and one
of the silliest shorts. According to one car’s medical chart, it was “Hit by a lamppost.”
Like Betty Boop Volume 1
, this disc contains two bonus
shorts. The first is News Sketches by Max
. The disc doesn’t specify the year of its release, but judging
from the content, it had to be the mid-1940s. A card at the beginning reads, “Drawn from the wires of the associated press
A voice over reads short news items, and a hand illustrates the stories. Some
of this is really funny, like the bit about the class “on how to choose a husband, how to keep him, and how to spend his money
– as if you didn’t know
The second short is Now You’re Talking, and ironically is a
silent film from 1927. This film, combining live action and animation, is about
a telephone’s troubles. It’s kind of amazing. And at just under nine minutes,
it’s the longest film on this disc.
Betty Boop Volume 2 was released on February 26, 2013 through Legend Films.