Cab Calloway


Cabell Calloway III

Cab Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States' most popular African-American big bands from the start of the 1930s through the late 1940s. In 1931, he recorded his most famous song, "Minnie the Moocher". That song, along with "St. James Infirmary Blues" and "The Old Man Of The Mountain," was performed for the Betty Boop animated shorts Minnie the Moocher, Snow White and The Old Man of the Mountain, respectively. Through rotoscoping, Calloway not only gave his voice to these cartoons, but his dance steps as well. Cab also makes an appearance in the 1990 comic strip Betty Boop's Big Break.


  • Cab Calloway: "Well, I don't know. I guess (producer) Max Fleischer wanted me in it and so we did "St. James Infirmary Blues" (for Betty Boop's 'Snow White') and they drew characters around my singing. Then I did 'Minnie the Moocher.' My band and I appeared in the lead-in for that cartoon." (The Indianapolis News, 1988)

Characters voiced by Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway the Hi-De-Ho Man

Cab Calloway "The Scat Song"

Cab Calloway "The Scat Song"

Cab is often referenced to as the male counterpart to Betty and her "Boop-Oop-a-Doop". Calloway was often referred to as The Hi-De-Ho Man. Calloway had originated his scat singing style in Harlem and scat sung frequently at the Cotton Club in Harlem. 

Scat Sounds Originated by Calloway

  • Hi-Di-Ho
  • Hi-De-Hi
  • Hi-De-Ho
  • Zah-Zuh-Zaz
  • He-De-He
  • Ree-Bop
  • Skeep-Beep-De-Bop-Bop-Beep-Bop-Bo-Dope
  • Skeetle-At-De-Op-De-Day


Cab Calloway and Baby Esther (1934)

Cab Calloway and Baby Esther 1934

A 1934 article from April states that Baby Esther Jones aka Little Esther was the peer of all colored singers and dancers, and that she was formerly with Cab Calloway. 


  • On June 12, 1994, Calloway suffered a severe stroke. He died six months later on November 18, 1994, at age 86. His body was cremated and his ashes were given to his family. Upon the death of his wife Zulme "Nuffie" Calloway on October 13, 2008, his ashes were interred next to her in the Rosewood mausoleum at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. 


  • When Cab Calloway saw his first cartoon with Betty Boop he fell off his chair with laughter and delight. 
  • Cab was a scat singer and his scat singing goes way back to 1925 where he would appear at The Cotton Club in Harlem, his scat sounds were similar to the "Boop-Boop-a-Doop Girl" craze of the 20s only his gimmick was "Hi-De-Ho-Hi-De-Hi" and he was dubbed "The Hi-De-Ho Man".
  • Cab was also known as "The King of Hi-De-Ho" and "Mister Hi-De-Ho", including "His Hi-De Highness of Ho-De-Ho".
  • In 1987 Cab Calloway appeared in several Hula Hoops KP commercials. KP decided not to license Betty Boop, instead "The Hula Cutie" took her place. 
  • Cab Calloway makes an appearance in cartoon form in the 1990 comic book Betty Boop's Big Break.
  • A profile of Calloway, Cab Calloway: Sketches, aired on the PBS program American Masters in February 2012.
  • King Dice who appears in Cuphead is heavily based on Cab Calloway. As an added reference, if the player is defeated by King Dice in his boss battle, he says "Hi-De-Ho", a phrase commonly associated with Cab Calloway.