Rose Marie as Sally Swing

If you’ve been reading O-Bits, you know we love The Fleischer Brothers cartoons, especially Betty Boop. With the death of comedienne Rose Marie yesterday, we were reminded that she appeared in a 1938 Betty Boop cartoon as “Sally Swing,” the be-bopping  maid who leads a “jitterbug” band and saves the day. It’s filled with the inventive sight gags  that make the Fleischer studios toons feel fresh (along with the showbiz references—Joe Penner, anyone?— that date them) and, like many of their Betty Boop shorts, gives much of its time to a song. And doesn’t Sally bear a distinct resemblance to a young Rose Marie? Did Carl Reiner name the character Sally in a nod to this short? I have no idea, but it’s nice to think so.

Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

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