SUMMARY: Refusing to eat when her parents tell her to, Betty Boop runs away with Bimbo, whereupon she encounters a singing, dancing spectral walrus with the voice and moves of Cab Calloway.
WHY IT’S HERE: The first in a trilogy of Betty Boop cartoons made in collaboration with bandleader Cab Calloway and his Orchestra, ‘Minnie the Moocher’ set the unsettling tone for this bizarre series of shorts. Combining great music with some of the Fleischer’s strangest animation, ‘Minnie the Moocher’ sees Betty and Bimbo trapped in a cave by a group of ghouls all singing Calloway’s title song. Perhaps the weirdest of all is the singing ghost walrus, rotoscoped to follow Calloway’s distinctive dance moves. There is absolutely no reason for the cartoon’s creators to have made this character a walrus. The other creations are mostly ghosts, witches, standard creepy stuff. But a walrus…?!! Such outside-the-box thinking would continue to characterise the Fleischer-Calloway cartoons, peaking with the second in the series, the utterly masterful ‘Snow White’.