Here we are in December, and the holiday season is upon us! And through the years, Betty Boop has certainly enjoyed taking part in Christmas. Personally, I find this very interesting, as Betty takes on the role of Santa Claus in some cases, and to the best of my knowledge, would be the first female to appear as the Jolly Old Saint Nick! Betty was always a trendsetter, far ahead of her time, and I certainly appreciate and celebrate the Fleischers’ efforts at bringing gender equality into the mainstream.
One of the first appearances by Betty as a Christmas item is in the Cartoon Comics Christmas Tree Lights. This set of eight glass bulbs included Andy Gump, Moon Mullins, Kayo, Smitty, Dick Tracy, Annie, Sandy and Betty Boop in a 6½ x 4¾ inch box. All the characters, along with a Christmas tree, are pictured on a label glued to the box. Also printed on the label is “Made In Japan.” The Betty Boop ornament is 2½ inches tall with a ¾-inch metal screw-in base. The glass bulb is hand-painted: red dress, garter, lips and earrings; brown hair and feet; white eyes; green bracelets; flesh-colored face and body. No date, no copyright, manufacturer unknown, but advertisements for the set in catalogs show it for sale in the early 1930s.
The only other vintage item was a wooden ornament, 4½ inches tall, painted wooden body, dress and shoes (red), painted face and hair (black). It was fully jointed, but had crudely represented body parts. At the top of her head was a metal hook for hanging on the tree. Stamped “1932” on bottom of her foot.
Originally packaged in a boxed set of ten different ornaments, each one in a plain cardboard box with a cut-out window, printed with “New American Made Unbreakable Christmas Tree Ornaments” and the character’s name.
The next appearance by Betty in Christmas ornaments was some 50 years later! Created by Vandor, a set of four different Glazed Porcelain Ornaments. Each one is 4 inches tall, jointed arms and legs. Nicely sculpted and painted, with gold loop cord for hanging as an ornament. A paper sticker on the back of each with “Vandor 1984 Made in Taiwan.”
(a) Sailor suit – blue pants, white top, matching hat.
(b) Tuxedo – black tux, white blouse, red bowtie, matching top hat.
(c) Victorian – purple pants, top, white lace collar.
(d) Workout – pink and white vertical stripe pants, top.
These are quite hard to find, certainly worth the addition to any collection.
Next time, we’ll look at some printed items with Betty leading up the Christmas theme.