Betty Boop - The Old Man of the Mountain (1933)
Cab Calloway voices all the characters save for Betty and performs all the music in this short film. It was his last contribution to the Betty Boop cartoons.
The sexually suggestive nature of this film, with the lecherous Old Man even removing Betty’s clothing at one point, drew the consternation of some conservative Americans. The studio was pressured into toning the cartoons down and obliged. In doing so, they did away with the black jazz musicians.
In his book The Colored Cartoon, author Christopher Lehman writes:
In dispensing with the African American entertainers and their music after limiting the “Betty Boop” series’ sexual references, Fleischer thus acknowledged the widely assumed connection between raciness and blackness.
From the mid-1930s onward, Fleischer banned African American sexual expression from his films; no black character of any kind would ever romance of dance closely with Betty Boop for the remainer of the series.
The disappearance of black jazz from Fleischer’s cartoons coincided with the end of the Harlem Renaissance.