Betty Boop and the…First Woman Animator!

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Max and me in Miami, Florida
Circa 1940. Collection: V. Mahoney

MAX and Me
by Ginny Mahoney
Granddaughter of Betty Boop’s creator, Max Fleischer

It’s no coincidence that in 1933 Max Fleischer, the man who created the “liberated” Betty Boop, was also the person who hired the FIRST female animator. Max was often ahead of his time!

Although hiring a woman animator may not seem like a big deal now, it was a huge deal in the 1930s.  Studios only hired women in more lowly roles such as “inker” or “opaquer.”  If talented and very lucky, a woman might advance to the position of “inbetweener,” but never…NEVER as an animator.

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An article from a 1936 Paramount promotional booklet for Popeye

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Top Japanese Artist Has New Designs on Betty Boop

We recently caught up with the well-known Japanese graphic artist, Shinzi Katoh. In a brand-new collaboration, he is developing designs for Betty Boop, which will be licensed for products first in Japan and subsequently, in countries around the world.

Shinzi Katoh told us, “When I was a child, I saw Betty Boop for the first time on an old black-and-white TV and I thought that she was a spectacular leading star from a distant land. This collaboration is very meaningful for me. I am pleased that I can convey to people across the world that same excited feeling I felt when seeing Betty Boop for the first time.”

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