In response to the numerous letters, cards, emails and even phone calls, I am here to show you proof that Esther Jones is not the model for Betty Boop.
I will cover two elements on this page. The first is part of the trial regarding the testimony given by the manager of Esther Jones (Baby Esther) during Helen Kane’s trial brought before the Supreme Court in the State of New York Appellate Division in May 1934 after an unfavorable Lower Court ruling.
Lou Bolton, (Esther Jones’s manager) appeared on the stand, but Esther Jones was never issued a subpoena and did not appear. Mr. Boulton believed that Esther Jones may have been in France and was not sure of her location. Mr. Boulton testified that Esther Jones had used many different sounds on stage during her performances such as ‘Boo-did-do-doo’, ‘Whad-da-da-da,’ Lo-dd-de-do’ and sometimes ‘De-do’ to finish an act in addition to several variations of ‘Boop-boop-a-doop’ between the years 1926 and 1928.
“Were there other sounds besides the one that you have mentioned?”
“Yes, quiet a few,” Mr. Boulton responded to the questioning attorney.
Helen Kane was seen in the Everglades club where Esther Jones performed at between 12:00 and 1:00 in the morning in April or May 1928 according to Mr. Bolton’s testimony. In all probability, Helen heard many phrases during her visit to the club. That is public record. No conclusive evidence was presented that Helen Kane stole the phrase ‘Boop-boop-a-doop’ from Esther Jones during that Supreme Court trial.
No questioning of Mr. Boulton or Max Fleischer regarding Baby Esther having supplied the model for Fleischer Studios model for Betty Boop is found in the over 1300 pages of the trial manuscript I reviewed.
That evidence came after the death of Helen Kane from Grim Natwick in a Daily Tribune newspaper interview on Saturday July 20, 1974. Mr. Natwick was employed by Fleischer Studios when Max Fleischer was seeking a new character to fill in for Popeye’s decline in popularity and is how Betty Boop originated.
Mr. Natwick indicated “I based Betty Boop on a rag time piece of music sung by Helen Kane”. He recalled she was “one of those $10,000 a night singers at the time because of the Boop-boop-a-doop type of singing”.
Furthermore, Mr. Natwick said “I first designed Betty Boop as sort of a little round faced dog. Her ears gradually became earrings. She was saying boop-boop-a-doop so of course she had to be cute.” Mr. Natwick continued: “Betty Boop wore the first mini skirt and had a cute little garter with a rose in it. She was designed after Helen Kane who wore spit curls and was kind of a pouty little singer.”
It is too bad that he shared that information 8 years after Helen died.
I have provided you direct quotations of a key testimony from a Supreme Court trial and the disclosure from the artist himself. So, through the recorded testimony and confessions from the artist that created Betty Bopp, I hope, that once and for all, this issue can be put to rest and stop regurgitating and propagating incorrect information.
For additional information to expand upon these topics, please review my two books that cover these topics in greater detail. Unless of course, you prefer to remain part of the problem, and not the solution.