The Conversation: Happy Birthday Betty Boop

ABC's Stephanie Sy and cartoonist Bryan Brinkman celebrate Betty Boop's birthday

ByABC News
August 9, 2010, 9:35 AM

Aug. 9, 2010— -- A legend of the silver screen is celebrating today, as the black-and-white femme fatale, Betty Boop turns 80.

In today's Conversation ABC's Stephanie Sy took some time to celebrate Boop's birthday with animator Bryan Brinkman.

Created by Max Fleischer, Boop made her debut on August 9, 1930, in a cartoon entitled "Dizzy Dishes." The character was modeled after some of the more popular singers and actresses of the era. But there was one more inspiration.

"When she first started out she was kind of a poodle, she had actually dog ears. She was based on a french poodle. A mix of a french poodle and an actress," explained Brinkman.

Over time she evolved into a more human cartoon, eventually becoming one of the era's first and most well known sex-symbols.

And as the decades passed, Boop stayed young and popular. She became the classic female form for many cartoon characters who came after her, including Jessica Rabbit from the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

She also helped launch the careers of other characters, including Popeye, who made his first appearance on the silver screen in a Betty Boop cartoon.

This past weekend, Betty Boop's most devoted fans even gathered in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisc. to celebrate the sultry cartoon star's birthday. According to Cathy Meils, director of the Betty Boop festival, Betty Boop is a hard cartoon character to resist.

So take a moment to watch today's Conversation and celebrate Betty Boop in all her 80-year-old glory.

Click here to watch more from the Conversation series.

Click here to return to the "World News" page.