Boop-Oop-a-Doop is a catchphrase often used by the fictional character Betty Boop. It was first made popular by Helen Kane in the late 1920s. Kane claimed to be the originator of the unique ad-libs, and attempted to sue Paramount-Publix and the Fleischer Studios. Kane who had previously worked for Paramount lost her suit because she was not the first baby talk singer in the business and had adapted her scat singing style from an 8 year old African-American performer, Baby Esther Lee Jones also known as (Lil Esther and sometimes Little Esther) who was dubbed Harlem's miniature and a child prodigy (who was discovered by talent agent Lou Bolton), Esther was also a trained dancer, who used to scat sing and make funny faces in her acts. Lil Esther was a young nightclub performer who debuted somewhere around 1925-1926 at the age of 5. Helen Kane saw perform Esther Jones in 1928 at the Everglades Club on Broadway. Both Kane and Jones also had the same booking agent in 1928, (Tony Shayne). When Kane sued the Fleischers and Paramount, they used early footage of Lil Esther performing as defense, along with several other baby-talk and scat singers to prove that Kane's style was not unique. It later came out that African-American performer Gertrude Saunders had originated the "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" scat singing style in 1921 in the all-black Broadway show Shuffle Along, ending the entire scat chorus in baby talk. When Mae Questel would Boop she would often "Boop-Boop-e-Doop," "Boop-Boop-Be-Doop" or "Boop-Boop-Pe-Doop" instead of using the original "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" phrase to differ to the other actresses who had portrayed the character. Before Questel took on the role of Betty, Margie Hines and Little Ann Little often "Boop-Boop-a-Dooped" in the earlier cartoons. Mae incorporated the "Boop" style and made it her own.
Also Known As
- Boop-Poop-Puh-Doop (1929 article on how to pronounce the scat sounds as made by Kane)
- Poop Poop Padoop (According to 1934 article the original scat lyrics was Poop not Boop)
- The Boop style of singing was popular in 1928 up until the early 1930s, soon after people lost interest and women were suggested to start singing in deeper voices. The once in-vogue style was then considered to be silly but has and is often tributed from time to time.
- According to a 1931 article, before "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" there was "Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay".