Thursday, 13 July 2017


Did gay men really go around saying “Whoops, my dears!” all the time in the 1930s? I suspect maybe a few did and, from that, a stereotype grew.

Whatever the truth, cartoons way-back-then didn’t shy away from effeminate jokes. Betty Boop’s Penthouse (released 1933) had a pair of them. The first one comes after a close-up of Betty spraying her flowers. A white rose and a pansy sprout faces. The rose is the one that remarks, in a high voice, “Oops! A pansy!” with a hand-on-hip, limp-wrist pose.

The final one comes at the end where a Frankenstein-inspired monster is sprayed by Betty, which turns him into a ballet dancer and then—stereotype time again!—a pansy, who exclaims “Whoops!” as Mendelssohn’s “Spring Song” plays to end the cartoon.

There’s lots of great animation in this cartoon (Willard Bowsky is credited), and the wonderful “Penthouse Serenade” by Jason and Burton fills the soundtrack.

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