Betty Boop is an animated cartoon character created by Max Fleischer, with help from animators including Grim Natwick. She originally appeared in the Talkartoon and Betty Boop film series, which were produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures. She has also been featured in comic strips and mass merchandising.
A caricature of a Jazz Age flapper, Betty Boop was described in a 1934 court case as: "combing in appearance the childish with the sophisticated—a large round baby face with big eyes and a nose like a button, framed in a somewhat careful coiffure, with a very small body of which perhaps the leading characteristic is the most self-confident little bust imaginable". Although she was toned down in the mid-1930s as a result of the Hays Code to appear more demure, Betty Boop became one of the best-known and popular cartoon characters in the world.
History with the Macy's Parade
As Betty Boop celebrated her 55th birthday in 1985, she would be pumped up in a way she never was before -- taking form of the giant balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Dressed in a top hat and tails and cradled in a crescent moon, the Betty Boop balloon required 15,820 cubic feet of helium to help her look her dapper self and had the vital measurements of 34-24-36.
For the balloon's debut appearance on the NBC telecast, the Wayne High School Band welcomed the balloon into Herald Square with a tune based on the beloved character's theme song.
During the balloon's second appearance in 1986, high winds caused it to collapse shortly after reaching Times Square. As a result, the Betty Boop balloon was removed from the line of march, and was discretely packed away due to very high winds.
The balloon initially made the standard three appearances, and was temporarily retired after the 1987 Parade. The balloon was later brought back in 1991 to celebrate the Parade's 65th anniversary, alongside other character balloons that had since been retired such as Raggedy Ann and Happy Dragon.
On September 5th, 1992, Macy's organized a special parade at the Mall of America to help celebrate the opening of the mall's Bloomingdale's store. The parade was complete with marching bands, gifts for the children, and the Parade's signature pumped-up, big balloons. Among these balloons was the Betty Boop balloon, appearing alongside Quik Bunny, Spider-Man, Woody Woodpecker, Bart Simpson, and The Pink Panther.
Weeks after the balloon's appearance in the 1992 Parade, the Betty Boop balloon was shipped to Disney's MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida to serve as a decoration for the now-defunct event, Macy's New York Christmas. The balloon would also appear at the Macy's Tap-O-Mania event in August of 1993. This would be the balloon's last public appearance until 1994 Parade. The balloon would make another appearance at the 1995 Parade.
From April 25th through April 28th, 1996, the Betty Boop balloon was on display at the South Weymouth Naval Air Station for the second-ever Macy's Balloon-A-Thon, an event which raised money for participating metropolitan Boston charities. Here, she appeared alongside fellow giant balloons such as Garfield, Snoopy, Sonic the Hedgehog, and many others. The balloon would make its final appearance later that year in the Parade's 70th anniversary Parade.
Just one year after the balloon's retirement, it would be permanently banned from the Parade following an order of rule changes regarding the size of the balloons, after an incident in the following year involving another balloon left a woman in a one month-long coma.
Listed below are the music tracks that played during the balloon's appearance on the NBC telecast.
- "Betty Boop Theme Song", composed by Milton DeLugg (1985-1987, 1991-1992, 1994-1996)
- In 1991, Betty Boop's moon sprung a leak, causing it to rapidly deflate.
- In 1995, Betty Boop's moon and calves were speared by a tree, causing both chambers to bust and deflate. Also, her legs were deflated.