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Wiffle Piffle is a little bald-headed mustachioed door-to-door
salesman. He gets rough treatment at each house but he's undeterred.
Finally, he rings Betty Boop's door and begins singing to her. She
isn't interested but at least she's polite. The man tries again at the
side door with the same, "No thank you, sir" sung back at her.
Finally, on the third effort he's invited inside to show his ware, some of which are very clever like the mousetrap cheese invention and the clothes cleaner. Betty's reaction to the first one is a giggle, followed by "Isn't that ducky?" (I love some of these old expressions.)
The last part is almost shocking as the man's vacuum cleaner goes a little too far! Although not overly humorous, this is a cute and likable cartoon with an adequate number of sight gags to keep you entertained.
A good deal of the pre-Production Code Betty Boop cartoons are daring
and creative, with content that makes one amazed at what's gotten away
with. While the later Betty Boop cartoons made after the Code was
enforced are still watchable and exceptionally well-made, they are so
toned down that they feel bland.
Fleischer were responsible for some brilliant cartoons, some of them still among my favourites. Their visual style was often stunning and some of the most imaginative and ahead of its time in animation. The character of Betty Boop, one of their most famous and prolific characters, may not be for all tastes and sadly not as popular now, but her sex appeal was quite daring for the time and to me there is an adorable sensual charm about her. The good news is that she has not lost her charm, despite being significantly toned down, she is still cute and her comic timing is good.
Wiffle Piffle ('The Hot Air Salesman' of the title) is a nice scene-stealing character, not a hilarious one but an amusing one and not annoying.
The animation, as always, is extremely good in 'The Hot Air Salesman', being beautifully drawn, crisply shaded and meticulous in detail. The music is infectious, lush and dynamic. There are some amusing moments and it is cute without being too saccharine. The voice is reliably good.
However, there is a vast preference for the Betty Boop cartoons that have a more surreal edge to the visuals and sharper and more risqué material. Although cute and entertaining, there is still a tame feel and slight blandness. The story is also slight and predictable.
All in all, not Betty Boop at her best but for a post-Production Code cartoon (which were a very mixed bag) it fares well. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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