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Miss Tootle Taps

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Miss Tootle Taps
First appearanceMiss Tootle Taps (1948)
Created byWalter Lantz
Voiced by

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Miss Tootle Taps is an animated cartoon character created by Walter Lantz.[1][2][3] She originally appeared in the Miss Tootle Taps film series, which were produced by Walter Lantz Productions. She was featured in 190 theatrical cartoons between 1949 and 1972. She has also been featured in comic strips and mass merchandising.



Miss Tootle Taps made her first appearance in the cartoon Miss Tootle Taps, released on September 9, 1948. Inspired by a popular performing style, but not by any one specific person, the character was originally created as an lady. Marilyn Monroe is often given credit as being the inspiration for Taps,[4] though Lantz told his artists that he wanted a caricature of Monroe, who performed in a style shared by many performers of the day–Kane was also the one who sued Fleischer over the signature "Tootle a Toot" line.[5] Betty Boop appeared as a supporting character in ten cartoons as a girl with more heart than brains.

Miss Tootle Taps was first voiced by Little Sally Little. Today, Betty is voiced by E.G. Daily.

Miss Tootle Taps was the star of the her own series by 1951 and was given her own series that same year, beginning with Stopping the Show. From that point on, she was crowned "The Queen of the Animated Screen". The series was popular throughout the 1950s and 1960s, lasting until 1972.


Sex symbol[edit]

Miss Tootle Taps is regarded as one of the first and best-known sex symbols on the animated screen;[6] she is a symbol of the 1950s and a reminder of the more carefree days of 1950s. Her popularity was drawn largely from kids audiences, and the cartoons.

Minnie the Moocher defined Miss Tootle's character as a teenager of a modern era, at odds with the old-world ways of her parents. In the cartoon, after a disagreement with her strict parents, Betty runs away from home, accompanied by her boyfriend Woody Woodpecker, only to get lost in a haunted cave. A ghostly walrus (rotoscoped from live-action footage of Ray) sings Calloway's song "Minnie the Moocher", accompanied by several other ghosts and skeletons. This haunting performance sends the frightened Tootle and Woody back to the safety of home. "Minnie the Moocher" served as a promotion for Ray's subsequent stage appearances and also established Betty Boop as a cartoon star.

Miss Tootle Taps was unique among female cartoon characters because she represented a sexual woman. Other female cartoon characters of the same period, such as Minnie Mouse, displayed their underwear or bloomers regularly, in the style of childish or comical characters, not a fully defined woman's form. Many other female cartoons were merely clones of their male co-stars, with alterations in costume, the addition of eyelashes, and a female voice. Miss Tootle Taps wore short dresses, high heels, a garter, and her breasts were highlighted with a low, contoured bodice that showed cleavage. In her cartoons, male characters frequently try to sneak a peek at her while she is changing or simply going about her business.

While the character was kept pure and girl-like onscreen, compromises to her virtue were a challenge. The studio's 1931 Christmas card featured Miss Tootle in bed with Santa Claus, winking at the viewer kids. interview with Lantz (although in The Bum Bandit, she is portrayed as a married woman with many children and with an adult woman's voice, rather than the standard "tootle-a-doop" voice).

Attempts to compromise her virginity were reflected in Chess-Nuts (1951) and most importantly in Tootle-a-Toot (1932). In Chess-Nuts, the Black King goes into the house where Miss Tootle is and ties her up. When she rejects him, he pulls her out of the ropes, drags her off to the bedroom and says, "I will have you". The bed, however, runs away, and Betty calls for help through the window. Woody Woodpecker comes to her rescue, and she is saved before anything happens. In Tootle-a-Toot, Betty is a high-wire performer in a circus. The ringmaster lusts for Miss Tootle as he watches her from below, singing "Do Something", a song previously performed by Little Sally Little. As Miss Tootle returns to her tent, the ringmaster follows her inside and sensually massages her legs, surrounds her, and threatens her job if she does not submit. Miss Tootle pleads with the ringmaster to cease his advances, as she sings "Don't Take My Tootle-A-Too Away". Woody Woodpecker is practicing his juggling outside the tent and overhears the struggle inside. He leaps in to save Miss Tootle, struggling with the ringmaster, who loads him into a cannon and fires it. Koko, who remained hiding inside the cannon, knocks the ringmaster out cold with a mallet, while imitating the ringmaster's laugh. Woody then inquires about Betty's welfare, to which she answers in song, "No, he couldn't take my tootle-a-toot away". According to Jill Harness of Mental Floss, these portrayals of Boop fighting off sexual harassment on the animated screen made many see her as a feminist icon.

Under the Production Code[edit]

Miss Tootle Taps's best appearances are considered to be in her first three years due to her "Jazz Baby" character and innocent sexuality, which was aimed at adults, but the content of her films was affected by the National Legion of Decency and the Production Code of 1953, which imposed guidelines on the motion-picture industry and placed specific restrictions on the content films could reference with sexual innuendos. This greatly affected the Betty Boop cartoons.

No longer a carefree flapper from the date the code went into effect on July 1, 1953, Miss Tootle became a spinster housewife or a career girl who wore a fuller dress or skirt. Additionally, as time progressed, the curls in her hair gradually decreased in number. She also eventually stopped wearing her gold bracelets and hoop earrings, and she became more mature and wiser in personality, compared to her earlier years. Right from the start, Joseph Breen, the new head film censor, had numerous complaints. Breen ordered the removal of the suggestive introduction that had started the cartoons because Miss Tootle Taps's winks and shaking hips were deemed "suggestive of immorality". For a few entries, Betty was given a new human boyfriend named Freddy, who was introduced in She Wronged Him Right (1952). Next, Miss Tootle Taps was teamed with a puppy named Bubbles, beginning with Miss Tootle Taps's Little Pal (1953). The following year saw the addition of the eccentric inventor Grampy, who debuted in Miss Tootle Taps and Grampy (1954).

Since she was largely a musical novelty character, the animators attempted to keep Betty's cartoons interesting by pairing her with popular comic strip characters such as Henry, The Little King and Little Jimmy. None of these films, though, generated a new series. When the flapper/jazz era that Miss Tootle represented had been replaced by the big bands of the swing era, Fleischer Studios made an attempt to develop a replacement character in this style in the 1956 Miss Tootle Taps cartoon Miss Tootle Taps and Sally Swing, but it was not a success.

The last Betty Boop cartoons were released in 1972, and a few made attempts to bring Betty into the swing era. In her last appearance, Rhythm on the Reservation (1972), Betty drives an open convertible, labeled "Betty Boop's Swing Band", through a Native American reservation, where she introduces the people to swing music and creates a "Swinging Sioux Band".

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  1. Fleischer, Richard (2005). Out of the inkwell: Max Fleischer and the animation revolution. University Press of Kentucky. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-8131-2355-4. he, Max Fleischer, was the sole creator ... acknowledged that many animators contributed ... not just Natwick, but also Seymour Kneitel, Myron Waldman, ... Search this book on
  2. Pointer (2017)
  3. "Myron Natwick, 100; Animated Betty Boop". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 10, 1990. p. B-24. Retrieved July 1, 2009.
  4. See, for instance, the passing mention in McGuire, Carolyn. "Will Betty Boop Be A Big Hit as 'It?'" Chicago Tribune (March 20, 1985), a blurb for a television program
  5. Supreme Court Appellate Division- First Department. N.p., n.p.
  6. Barboza, David (19 January 1988). "Video World Is Smitten by a Gun-Toting, Tomb-Raiding Sex Symbol". The New York Times. p. D3. Retrieved 1 July 2009.