BETTY BOOP - The Original Story
Ms. Esther Jones, known by her stage name, “Baby Esther,” was an African-American singer and entertainer of the late 1920s. She performed regularly at the (The Cotton Club) in Harlem.
Ms. Jones singing style went on to become the inspiration for Max Fleischer cartoon character’s voice and singing style of “Betty Boop”.
YES: “Betty Boop” was a black woman.
Singer Helen Kane saw her act in 1928 and copied it, stole it. Ms. Jones’ “trademark” singing style for a recording of, “I Wanna Be Loved By You.” with interpolated words such as ‘Boo-Boo-Boo’ & ‘Doo-Doo-Doo’ in her songs at a cabaret was a style all her own.
An early test sound film was also discovered, which featured Baby Esther performing in this style, disproving Kane’s claims. During the $250,000 infringement lawsuit, Esther’s manager testified that , “Helen Kane & her manager saw Baby’s act somewhere between 1928-1929.Baby Esther’s manager also testified that Helen Kane had saw Baby Esther’s cabaret act in 1928.”
Supreme Court Judge Edward J. McGoldrick ruled: “The plaintiff has failed to sustain either cause of action by proof of sufficient probative force”. In his opinion, the “baby” technique of singing did not originate with Kane.
As an added note, scholar Robert G.O’Meally said, Betty Boop, the WHITE CARTOON character herself had, as it were, a BLACK grandmother in her background.
Baby Esther was presumed dead by 1934, just when the lawsuit had ended.