Mae Questal was the voice of Betty Boop, Olive Oyl and other cartoon
characters, beginning in the Paramount-Publix vaudeville contests for
a "Helen Kane" sound-alike. (Later there was a media-driven lawsuit
between Kane and Questal as to who started the "boop-boop-a-doo"
You probably know that Ms. Boop -- who began as a "doglike" character
in the Fleischer cartoons -- got censored by the Hollywood Code, having
to drop her garter and skirtline, and eventually become secondary to
Grampy and other nonsexual characters in the series.
Mae also appeared in early RKO shorts, most notably "Musical Justice"
featuring Rudy Vallee as a judge in a trial featuring a song about her
being denied the "boop-boop-a-doo" phrase. This picture also had a
couple of outrageous racist jokes in it as well, typical of the time.
She also did TV commercials, among them the "Aunt Blue Belle" character
for paper towels -- don't ask me the brand, since I forget!
Finally, at the end of her career she was *magnificent* in a Trilogy
film about New York City. Francis Ford Coppolla and Martin Scorcese
did two in the set, but Woody Allen's "Oedipus Wrecks" stands alone as
a knockout. Mae is the ultimate Jewish mother, who -- after she dies -
floats over New York City, bossing Woody about -- especially when he
has a girl friend that isn't to her liking. Trick photography had Mae,
floating over the streets, covering the entire sky, something like a
Graf Zeppelin, as seen in old photographs. Naturally, Mae's bossy
remarks were heard by all the pedestrians and passers-by, contributing
the Woody's dilemma.
"Oedipus Wrecks" was the crowning achievement for a long career,
featuring a comic actress with a truly distinctive voice!
Hope the above fills in a few blanks. Am doing this from memory --
before breakfast -- so haven't checked the spelling and/or the dates,
but would imagine that some movie expert will. (Unfortunately, Don
Rand, who knows old movies from front-to-back, is not on-line, as he
could add the most minute details, and imitate Mae's many voices at the
Regards from Maine,