Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Toon Legends: Betty Boop With Henry (1935)

We all know that Popeye debuted in what amounts to what we now call a back-door pilot, in a short with Betty Boop. In 1935, King Features Syndicate hoped lightning would strike twice in the same place by placing another of their comic strip characters, Henry, in a co-starring role with Betty.

Henry was created by writer-artist Carl Anderson a year earlier, when Anderson was 67, and appeared first in the Saturday Evening Post before being succeeded by Marjorie Buell's Little Lulu. While Lulu would eventually make her way into animated shorts, Henry ended up being a 1-shot.

Betty hires on Henry to look after her pet shop in exchange for a puppy that Henry wants, but can't afford. Chaos soon follows. Mae Questel voices both Betty & the otherwise normally mute Henry.

Courtesy of Internet Archive. This is a UM&M print, released 30 years after the film's initial release:

I remember reading Henry back in the day when a local newspaper carried the Sunday strip. It's still being run, but not in as many papers as it used to be. Too bad the Fleischers couldn't work their magic with him long term.

Rating: B-.

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