Often eclipsed by Disney, Fleischer Studios made a name for itself in the early days of animation, adopting comic characters such as Popeye the Sailor and Superman. His most recognizable original character is Betty Boop. However, her actual history has been overshadowed by misinformation online. Public Broadcasting Service PBS admitted to publishing this information about six years ago.
Fleischer Studios, From Betty Boop to Superman
Despite not being as recognizable a name as some of Fleischer Studios’ studios, they have influenced the film industry immensely.
In addition to creating Betty Boop, he was responsible for the first animated adaptation. Superman in 1941. Another popular comic, popeye sailor, And thanks to the Fleischer series, his cast gained more popularity.
Anyone who has walked into a vintage shop knows who Betty Boop is. Big cheeks, red dress and curly black hair are iconic Hollywood imagery.
However, off the screen, Betty Boop’s life has been marred by numerous lawsuits and false claims.
PBS retracts its article claiming Baby Esther influenced the studio’s design
The misinformation in the PBS article was not new. In fact, the false information originated from a 1932 infringement lawsuit.
Actress Helen Kane claimed that Betty Boop was a caricature of her and her acting style. Max Fleischer insisted that the character was purely from his and his team’s imagination.
During the trial, African-American artist “Baby” Esther Jones was cited as having a similar style to Kane. The case was in Fleischer’s favor because Kane could not provide sufficient evidence, nor did the “baby” acting style originate from him.
Jones’ involvement led to the false claim that Betty Boop was based on the artist.
cartoon brew confirmed that “PBS … have released a deeply mea culpability acknowledgment that they misled the public by falsely claiming that the Fleischer Studios character Betty Boop was based on a black child actor named Esther Jones. “
The news site noted how PBS’ status as a credible source led to the false story “spreading like wildfire”.
It took six years for PBS to withdraw the article
Historians refuted the PBS article, but the article and misinformation continued to spread.
cartoon brew Further reports that PBS acknowledged that it “did not follow established protocol for timely retrieval of the story because the PBS digital team that produced the piece considered it to be “promotional copy, not journalism.”
The real reason comes from the grandson of the studio’s co-founder Max Fleischer. In a letter, he confronted PBS about misinformation.
Only then did PBS remove the article. While Fleischer Studios had titles like popeye sailor And Superman Under his belt, the histories of his films and characters are not scrutinized as closely.
It’s important to respect lesser-known black figures in history, but creating false narratives only causes problems down the road. While Esther Jones may have been instrumental in developing Betty Boop’s style, she did not directly influence the character.
Unfortunately, as the creation myth has been circulating the Internet for a long time, the right information will have a hard time bubbling to the surface.
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