I was watching some early Betty Boop with my kids this week. This was before 1934 when the production code made her cover up her cleavage, lower her hems and lose both her garter and her wiggle. She’s saucy, sexy and awesome.
After the code went into effect, she lost more than the garter – she got watered down and became a little (I hate to say it) bland.
Betty was a product of the Fleischer Studios, but they weren’t the only animation studio to have problems with the production code. Disney’s biggest star – Mickey Mouse – did not pass the code’s strict moral standards; he drank, smoked, abused other animals and forced kisses from a reluctant Minnie – WHAT A CAD.
Where the Fleischers grumbled and robbed Ms. Boop of her spark, Disney used the opportunity to reinvent Mickey. He became the happy-go-silly, optimistic innocent we know and love today. He also jumped from being a star to being an icon.
Life is going to throw you some problems – sorry, but it’s true – you can grumble about them and give up or you can muster all your creativity and do a Disney, use new limitations to create a work of genius. Turn your star into a legend.