Betty in Blunderland
Betty Boop Cartoon series - 1934
Fleischer Studios, Inc.
Run time: 6:42
Surrealism, the cultural movement that began in the 1920s, blurs the line between dreams and reality. The resulting element of surprise, sometimes accompanied by strange and scary creatures, was often a theme in Fleischer cartoons.
“Betty in Blunderland” is an adaption of Lewis Carroll’s already very surreal classic “Alice in Wonderland.” It’s a perfect marriage of like themes.
You’ll easily recognize the original Alice characters: the Mad Hatter, the white rabbit, the March Hare, and at the end the very scary dragon-like Jabberwocky that captures Betty and takes her on a scary ride as she yells “Save me! Save me!’” Even Betty’s hair, usually bobbed in the style of the times, becomes long in imitation of Alice.
Other typical Fleischer flourishes to look for: Betty’s skirt provocatively flying up as she falls down the rabbit hole, the opportunity for Betty to sing a song, and the inclusion of famous contemporary entertainers of the day.
Of special interest is the parody of comedian Ed Wynn, then at the height of his radio career, who first appears with his head coming out of a jam jar and, in later scenes, is clearly the Mad Hatter.
Many years later, in 1951, when Walt Disney animated ‘Alice in Wonderland’ he also modeled the Mad Hatter after the same Ed Wynn—not only drawing the character to look like Wynn, but using his actual voice as well.