Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Short Film: Betty Boop's Hallowe'en Party (USA, 1933)

T'is the season to be jolly, fa-la-la… Wait! Wrong national holiday, even if it is just as overly exploited. So, let us don our [black and orange] gay apparel and eat more calories and PAAAARRRTYYY! Who doesn't like a good Halloween Party? (Not like you ever hear about the War against Halloween, or?)
Betty Boop also always liked a good party, and she was known to give many. In 1933, thanks to Fleischer Studios, she also gave at least three, including this one on Halloween. (Her other parties that year that we know of: Betty's Birthday Party [here] and Betty's May Party [here].)
This seasonally appropriate short film here may not be the best of the Betty Boop shorts out there, but like all her shorts, it's got its cute appeal. And while Betty was more or less always willing to let anyone join in the fun, she was never one to sit by and let a boor be a boor or let a party-pooper poop on her party – as the obnoxious ape who crashes her party here tries to do, to no avail. 
In Betty Boop's Hallowe'en Party, Bonnie Poe (15 Oct 1912 – 16 Oct 1993) provides the talking voice of Betty, while Betty's singing is sometimes co-credited to Betty's most-common voice actor, Mae Questel (13 Sept 1908 – 4 Jan 1998). The song she sings, Let's All Like the Birdies Sing, was originally composed by Robert Hargreaves, Stanley J. Damerell, Tolchard Evans and possibly Harry Tilsley in 1932. Over at Fleischer Allstars, they write: "The song was recorded [in 1932] for the first time by English band leader Henry Hall. In 1933 the song was featured in the short film Betty Boop's Halloween Party. The song is performed by Bonnie Poe as Betty Boop, and featuring background vocals by Mae Questel – one of Betty's alternate voice artists. In 1934, the song was used again by Max Fleischer as the basis and title of an animated short in the Screen Songs series [here]. In 1963 the song became part of an installment in The Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyworld, and later at Disneyland."

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