Betty Boop, a nursemaid, meets a masher in the park; with the Bouncing Ball, Ethel Merman sings the title song.

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Betty Boop, a nursemaid, meets a masher in the park; with the Bouncing Ball, Ethel Merman sings the title song.

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20 May 1932 (USA)  »

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(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
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Trivia

The title refers to the 1910 song "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" with music by Leo Friedman and lyrics by Beth Slater Whitson. The song was first recorded by The Peerless Quartet. See more »

Connections

Featured in Biography: Betty Boop See more »

Soundtracks

Merrily We Roll Along
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played when the carriage runs out of control
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Ethel Merman restrains herself!
30 June 2005 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

This is one of a long series of shorts made by Paramount, sandwiching animation by the Fleischer studio between two wodges of live action featuring a popular musical act. In this case, we have Ethel Merman singing 'Let Me Call You Sweetheart'. In the first section, she sings only the well-known chorus. In the last section, she invites the audience to join in while she sings the verse. Nobody knows the verse to this song anymore, but perhaps it was better known in 1932.

The animation sequence features Betty Boop as a scantily-clad nursemaid, pushing a pram with a demonstrative baby aboard. Bimbo is the parkie, trying to put the make on Betty and causing her to neglect the baby. In this case, it would have been just fine with me if the pram rolled off a cliff. The Fleischer toons always had a penchant for animism -- inanimate objects sprouting eyes and hands, and developing sentience -- but there's more of that here than usual.

The last section follows the usual formula, with the live entertainer (this time, Merman) singing the chorus while a bouncing ball spotlights the lyrics superimposed on the screen. But this time there's an interesting variation for the second chorus, with the lyrics spelt out in a rebus ... so that "I'M IN LOVE" is an eyeball, a letter M, a tavern sign reading "INN" and a valentine heart. I'm not an Ethel Merman fan, but here her voice is actually more dulcet than I'd ever thought it would be, and she also looks prettier than she would be later. She manages to 'sell' the song proficiently without doing any of the trademark La Merm stuff that her fans like so much and which I loathe. More for that reason than anything else, I'll rate this toon 7 out of 10.


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