Back in the early days of cinema it wasn't unusual to include a sing-along short with the cartoon, newsreel, travelogue, comedy short and "appearing soon on this screen" to fill out the evenings entertainment. In this rather odd little short the sing-along and cartoon are combined to rather bizarre effect.
Betty Boop had been introduced to the world as a canine character back in 1930 but by 1932 had morphed into a 1920s flapper par excellence. However in this cartoon she still seemed to have this thing for strays which frankly I find just a touch creepy. The irritating smart-alack baby seemed to be a favourite 30s cartoon conceit but after all it was the Great Depression so maybe "anything for a laugh" literally meant "anything for a laugh".
|In 1930 Betty Boop started life as ... a humanized French poodle (above) but by 1932 had morphed into the quintessential 20s flapper. Though she did seem to continue to have a rather strange attraction to mutts and strays.|
The insertion of the sing-along with Ethel Merman between the two unrelated cartoons, and the choice of song, is totally unexpected. But it does give a chance to hear the great Merm in her early days and in ballad mood. I think this must have been one of her first movie appearances (1932?) and she does seem a bit stiff in front of a camera - something she never was with a live audience.
Old romantic ballads are not something I've ever associated with her but Merman does a lovely job of Let Me Call You Sweetheart. Listening to her made me aware of what a lovely song it is - good lyrics and a very pleasant melody. And the reprise at the end does give us a bit of that Merman jazz belt that we came to associate with her.
A rather odd piece of cinema and Broadway history ... it really is a touch of melodic lunacy!
January 14 - 1724: King Philip V of Spain abdicates only to resume the throne nine months later.