Two years before Mickey Mouse went “Thru the Mirror,” guess who did it first…none other than Betty Boop. Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass have inspired many animation studios over the years, so it was fun to take a look at this Betty Boop short which I had never seen previously.
It’s a little surprising at how similar the premise is to the famous Mickey Mouse short “Thru the Mirror.” Here Betty is working on an Alice in Wonderland puzzle when she dozes off and imagines herself following the white rabbit through the mirror. Of course, this version of Wonderland is not very Disney-like. The rabbit hole Betty comes to is portrayed as the entrance to a subway station (showing the urban influence that is often seen in the cartoons of the New York based Fleischer Studio). And of course, Disney’s Alice never had to worry about her panties showing as she fell down the rabbit hole…unlike Betty.
As much as I love Disney’s versions of Wonderland, the Fleischer’s style of animation was actually much better suited to that environment. With the way any and every item would come to life in their shorts, you could make a case that many of their cartoons already took place in a Wonderland of sorts.
With every Fleischer short I watch I continue to become more and more impressed. Their studio was a treasure chest of creativity which is sadly underappreciated today.