Note to everyone it wasn’t only the Baby Singing Style, it was also the Scat Singing that was mainly taken, as the Baby singing style was quite common.
If you listen to Helen Kane’s first 1928 scat lyrics on her first two records, you do not hear the word “Boop” or “Poop” you hear a different set of scat singing. It’s wasn’t until she released “I Wanna Be Loved By You” in 1928, that Helen fully used Boop. Most likely adapting the scat lyrics from the little known African American performer this audio makes that clear no matter what Lady May/Miss May/May Farrington claims.
Now there are two stories on Baby Esther Jones:
1. Helen Kane stole Baby’s scat lyrics before 1928 in the early 1920s, Baby Esther was a known “Child Performer” in Harlem who was taught how to do scat sounds by Lou Bolton and used to perform them on stage.
2. Helen Kane saw Baby’s cabaret act in 1928 and used it in her hit song “I Wanna Be Loved By You” and became popular overnight.
Baby was presumed dead by 1934, just when the Helen Kane Vs Fleischer Lawsuit had ended “Could She Have Been Killed?” The Afro Newspapers stated in a 1934 article that she should be the one suing Kane. We have no more information on her, if anyone is related to Baby Esther Jones…come forward and tell her story, she must be somebody’s great grandmother! Information given is that a Baby Esther doesn’t exist so she must have used a “stage name” who else Booped in the Cotton Club in the 1920s? Cab Calloway scat sung there but he’s dead and so is his daughter…who was also a Jazz singer so we’ll never know. Who else Booped in the Cotton Club in Harlem in the 20s? Gertrude Saunders claimed she invented the Boop-Boop-a-Doop style and claimed she was headlined at the trial which indicates that she may have been Baby Esther, she fitted the profile, light skinned, curly good hair? High pitched yodel-like singer who later turned to Jazz & Blues.
1. Baby Esther (First person to Boop)
2. Helen Kane (Steals Baby Esther’s scat lyrics)
3. Betty Boop (Created as a caricature of Kane, eventually takes that style from Kane)
So basically it goes in order, you take somebody else’s style and then you get your just desserts in the end with a bag full of imitators, as I always stated to many other Helen Kane fans who basically pushed Esther aside, is that I believe Esther’s story…cough….cough…Gertrude Saunders.
In honor of the film being released on DVD today, here is my finished illustration for the furyroadfanzine ( This is not Max/Furiosa. It’s just them supporting each other as they strive to achieve the same goal: Redemption )
I’ll be posting it again with a kickstarter link once it’s up so stay tuned! :)
From Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life: Volume II by Max Saunders:
…Ford was working on A Mirror To France, his paean to French life and culture. Gertrude Stein told how one day while [Ernest] Hemingway was explaining to her why he wouldn’t be able to review The Making of Americans, ’a heavy hand fell on his shoulder and Ford Madox Ford said, young man it is I who wish to speak to Gertrude Stein. Ford then said to her, I wish to ask your permission to dedicate my new book to you. May I.’ She was ‘awfully pleased’; even more so when she saw it: 'I am more pleased and touched than I can tell you with my book’, she wrote.
Les Miserables Pride Playbill- June 24, 2014- Signed at the stage door by Andrew Kober, Ramin Karimloo, Nikki James, Caissie Levy, Chris McCarrell, Will Swenson, Max Quinlan, McKayla Twiggs, Gaten Matarazzo, Angeli Negron, Keala Settle, and Cliff Saunders.