betty boop

Fleischer Studios

It’s time for a game of movie news Mad Libs. First, name a long-obsolete classic cartoon character. Then, an American Idol judge (past or present). And finally, an action normally taken by a moody teenager. The results are in: The beloved character of Betty Boop is getting her own movie musical by Simon Cowell, prompting the rest of the world to roll their eyes with enough force to send them hurtling out of their sockets. This random-seeming jumbling of nouns and verbs (okay, maybe the eye-rolling makes perfect sense) speaks the truth: Cowell really is working on a Betty Boop movie. According to Variety,  Syco Entertainment, the entertainment magnate headed up by Cowell and Sony, is working on a “music-driven hybrid animated comedy” starring the animation world’s first leading lady. Also, “hybrid” refers to a mix of CGI and live-action, which I guess is the official term now.

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Betty Boop

Why Watch? Betty Boop is mostly remembered these days as America’s first cartoon sex symbol, with her Jazz Baby get-up and high-pitched squeal. That’s the general thrust of her cameo in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, certainly. She’s was the animated incarnation of Pre-Code Hollywood decadence, at least in her early years before Fleischer Studios made her more demure and redirected the cartoons from adults to children.

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At a party over the weekend a deliciously nerdy debate broke out about two things. One, what cartoon is the sexiest of all? And two, whether it is acceptable or creepy to find animated characters sexually attractive? Fueled by strong margaritas, a battle against the rising sun, and too many active imaginations on one patio, the group came to the unanimous decision that sexy animated characters are just an added bonus from the directors to our awaiting eyes. These characters are generated to appeal to both children and adults, and just like in tradition film the actors need to be attractive enough to keep us locked in. But what does our animated crush say about us?

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