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Countess Cat

Countess the Cat

The Countess[1]
Countess Cat Van Beuren Betty Boop Clone Margie Hines 01

Name

Countess Cat

Betty_Boop?_No!_Meet_The_Countess!

Name

 Countess the Cat

Countess Cat is a character that was created by Paul Terry. She appears in the Van Beuren Studios cartoon shorts, and was often paired up with her boyfriend Waffles Cat.

Though she was Waffles girlfriend, in some media, sometimes she was paired up with, or dated Aesop's Fables fictional character Don Dog. Don was also known as Don the Dog. Waffles Cat and Don Dog were originally paired up as a duo. Both Don and Waffles, were later used as the bases for the Van Beuren Studios characters Tom and Jerry.

Countess was a very popular character in the early 1930s. Stores sold dolls of Countess, figurines and posters and she appeared in story books, and coloring books with her boyfriend Waffles the Cat. However unlike Minnie Mouse,[2] it would seem that Countess Cat's popularity would die out after 1933.

Today dolls of Countess[3] are deemed "scarce" and sell for more than $300.

Countess has a leading role in the RKO Radio Pictures animated short Cinderella Blues released in 1931. In that cartoon, she is known as Cinderella or Cindy. The story is similar to Poor Cinderella.

In the 1931 cartoon The Last Dance she is courted by Waffles.

In the 1932 animated cartoon The Farmerette, she sings "Some of These Days" and "does an imitation" of the "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" that was mostly associated with Betty Boop in the animated cartoons, and from there on Countess continues to speak and sing in the popular "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" style of the 20s and 30s.

Proof to this is that the animators made Countess more sexier and curvier. Though Countess did not utter "Boop", as she used an "alternative version", the other background characters in The Farmerette "Booped" for her.

Countess Cat was originally voiced by uncredited male voice-overs. However in 1932 she was officially voiced by Margie Hines,[4] the original voice of Betty Boop. Instead of the "Boop" Countess the Cat sings the "Hot-cha" and "Da-Da" and uses alternative scatting.

In 1931, Hines had already provided uncredited voice-over in earlier Paul Terry animated shorts which included By the Sea, Popcorn and Go West Big Boy. Hines sang and did voice-over using a baby voice, which was popular at the time.

The character Countess in the episode The Farmerette is a parody of Betty Boop, but only in part, having been in the Aesop's Sound Fables series since Paul Terry's earlier shorts Aesop's Film Fables. Only when Countess was given a voice, it was decided that she would have a "Boop" sounding one. It would seem that when Hines won the contract to voice characters for the Van Beuren Studios, they merged Margie Hines' personality into many of the characters they created.

And that Van Beuren had attempted to base some of the characters likeness or mannerisms on the success of Betty Boop.

For example in Van Beuren's Tom and Jerry series Tight Rope Tricks, there's another character a tightrope walking "flapper girl" similar to Betty Boop that Hines voiced, including other female characters in other animated shorts such as Piano Tooners and Magic Mummy.

In the 1932 animated cartoon A Cat-Fish Romance, Countess sings in "baby-talk" and scats "Wa-Da-De" and "De-De-De-De", in her song "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby". Countess also appears in The Wild Goose Chase and Silvery Moon.

Countess appears in a "dream sequence" in the 1932 cartoon Piccaninny Blues, there she has a cameo as an Egyptian Princess mummy. She is discovered by a stereotypical African-American cat (who is not Waffles Cat), both sing, dance and fall in love up until the cat awakes from his dream.

In the 1932 short Hokum Hotel an alternative version of Countess appears, in this cartoon she is dressed elegant, and plays the piano. However instead of using a baby voice, Margie Hines instead used an operatic soprano voice for this role as Countess. Hines in real life was also known to be that of an opera singer.

In the animated series, Countess Cat was a replacement for Rita Mouse aka Mary Mouse. Waffles the Cat and Countess the Cat were temporary on-screen replacements for Milton the Mouse and Mary the Mouse. As both Milton and Mary were stopped by an injunction.

Amedee J. Van Beuren was sued by Walt Disney in 1930 and lost in court for "their similarity" to Disney's iconic characters Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Disney however was noted as stating that he wanted to "compete" against Paul Terry, and it was indicated that in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Disney had found Terry's creations to be competition.

Though Milton Mouse and Mary Mouse were created long before the creation of Mickey and Minnie, Disney still won as the Judge had ruled in his favor. Waffles Cat and Countess Cat were paired up together not too long after and appeared in a majority of the Van Beuren animated cartoons, but both were later replaced by the upcoming new dynamic duo Cubby Bear and Honey Bear.

In Silvery Moon, a 1933 cartoon alternatively known as Candy Town, Countess sings the song "Moonlight Bay". In Tumbledown Town released in 1933, she has a small cameo.

After 1933, Countess stopped appearing in animated cartoons by the Van Beuren Studios, though her "likeness" was often used in various Terrytoons cartoons by her creator Paul Terry. Most notably The Owl and the Pussycat released in 1934.

Quotes

  • Countess Cat: "Oh, come in Waffles." (The Last Dance)
  • Countess Cat: "Here I am big boy!" (The Farmerette)
  • Countess Cat: "Can I? Watch me! Hot-cha-hot-cha-de-de-da-da!" (The Farmerette)
  • Countess Cat: "Hot-cha-hot-cha-de-de-da!" (The Farmerette)
  • Countess Cat: "De-Doh-Boh-Boh-Be-Doh!" (The Farmerette)
  • Countess Cat: "Oh yeah!? Oh!" (A Cat-Fish Romance)
  • Countess Cat: "Fishing? Catch any? Aww... Wanna catch me!? Aha! Hahaha!" (A Cat-Fish Romance)
  • Countess Cat: "Love, love plenty of love! Wa-Da-De-De-De-De-De-De!" (A Cat-Fish Romance)
  • Countess Cat: "Help! Stop! Let me go!" (A Cat-Fish Romance)
  • Countess Cat: "I can't give you anything but, love, love, plenty of love!" (A Cat-Fish Romance)
  • Countess Cat: "Let a smile, be your umbrella, on a rainy, rainy day." (The Wild Goose Chase)
  • Countess Cat: "No, it's made of cake, candy and ice cream." (Silvery Moon)
  • Countess Cat: "Where ya going?" (Tumble Down Town)
  • Countess Cat: "Are you the King of Arabie? Your love means more to me!" (Pickaninny Blues)
  • Countess Cat: "My King of Arabie!" (Pickaninny Blues)

Gallery

Trivia

  • She is also known as The Countess.
  • Before hiring a female voice actress to voice Countess, in earlier cartoons, Countess was voiced by a male voice actor.
  • Honey Bear, like Countess, was also voiced by Hines.
  • A hint that Countess is copying Betty Boop, is that in The Farmerette, she uses a variety of "scat-singing" techniques while singing. There are also secret "Boop-Boop-a-Doop" sounds being made by her animal friends.
  • In a majority of her appearances, the character speaks and sings like Betty Boop.
  • Countess the Cat's name is often mistaken for "Miss Kitty", Kitty[5] was a character from the Fleischer cartoons. There was also a Kitty Kitten.
  • Coincidentally the singing, dancing flapper girl cats in Dizzy Dishes also voiced by Margie Hines, also sang the "Hot-cha" and there was also a "Da-da-da-da" in the chorus.

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