“Is There Anything Wrong With That?” by Helen Kane (Amazon Advent Calendar day 11)

Album Art

Is There Anything Wrong With That?

Helen Kane

Betty Boop Best Of

Genre: Jazz

This is a fun song. Remember fun songs?

No? Me, neither. I blame the fact that we all grew up eating regular, nutritious meals; we were guaranteed an education through age 18; there were laws prohibiting the use of child labor; there was general (though not universal) consensus that bigots and racists were all ignorant ***holes; and though there were wars going on here and there, they weren’t happening on US soil and none of us were likely to be forced by the government to go out and fight them, unless we’d explicitly chosen that sort of thing as a career path.

Things were different in the Twenties. I suppose this is why they needed tunes like this one. Yup, that’s the Helen Kane, better known as the “Boop-Boop-A-Boop Girl,” singing. Her popularity inspired the Betty Boop character.

(How much cooler are today’s artists than Cab Calloway was in the Thirties? I’ve done a complex calculation and come up with the answer: None. Exactly zero point zero more cool.)

“Inspired” is, of course, is a very special word, children. It’s an eight-stroke keyboard macro that usually saves you the trouble of typing out “Well, yes, of course this idea was stolen lock, stock and barrel from this other person…but thanks to a lack of funds for legal counsel on the part of the plaitiff and the lack of shame on the part of the defendant, it was the final legal opinion of the presiding judge that he was tired of hearing testimony and wanted to go home so he dismissed the case.”

“Is There Anything Wrong With That?” tells the touching story of a flapper girl who repeatedly and cold-heartedly leads wealthy men on, enticing them to give her jewels, furs, and other expensive gifts in the empty promise of favors of an intimate nature. But it’s the Twenties, so it’s OK, I guess.

One day, this lady will have learned that looks are fleeting and that wealthy suitors are a non-renewable resource. There must come a time when she has to grow up and start making more responsible choices, such as committing an unspeakable act of emotional blackmail to secure a quickie wedding without benefit of a prenup, or (if the suitor is famous enough) figure out how to parlay the relationship into a reality TV show.

Hey, speaking of pimping oneself out: Try or buy “Is There Anything Wrong With That?” on the Amazon MP3 Store. Anything you buy anywhere on Amazon after clicking that link will result in my receiving a small kickback in the form of Amazon store credits…which I promise to spend on fun and foolish things.

2 thoughts on ““Is There Anything Wrong With That?” by Helen Kane (Amazon Advent Calendar day 11)”

  1. Helen Kane is now synonymous with Betty Boop. And that’s exactly what she feared. Maybe she knew how fleeting her pop fame was. Maybe some of these reality television show dames could learn a thing or two from Miss Kane. But I doubt it.

    This is a really great pick for fans of Betty Boop …er, Helen Kane, because there are some really great, fun songs. A lot of them were featured in the cartoons, of course. (Usually as sung by Mae Questel – who did a spot-on impersonation of Kane by apparently being herself). From what I understand of the trial, the creator of Betty made the case that girls like her were a dime a dozen and that Kane…just didn’t stand out. (sigh)

    Also, it features a slight connection to another, more recent pop songstress (if I can get away with that), Cyndi Lauper. Our generation’s Bronx chatterbox sang a song on her solo debut that is included here: He’s So Unusual.

    Good picks! Thanks!

  2. IIRC, the dancing walrus type character was made by Rotoscoping footage of Calloway dancing while performing the song.

Comments are closed.