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Author Topic: Men in Black (1934)  (Read 5798 times)

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Offline metaldams

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Men in Black (1934)
« on: May 11, 2013, 11:36:56 PM »
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  • http://threestooges.net/filmography/episode/3
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025488/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2




    With PUNCH DRUNKS, the characters of the boys were clearly defined.  Come MEN IN BLACK, the gags completely took over and story and character were completely thrown out the window, so the character development did not progress in a straight line.  The only things that give this short any cohesiveness are the "calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard" and glass door breaking running gags as well as the hospital setting.  The pace of absurd gags reminds me of the Parmount Marx Brothers films, except the Marx Brothers are given an hour where individual characters have scenes to shine by themselves at times while the Stooges just kind of run together interchangeably in a quick twenty minute spurt.  This is the only Stooge film that reminds me of a Marx film.

    Despite some flaws and not quite being as good as the preceding short, MEN IN BLACK is a fun short.  The scene with Billy Gilbert and the parrot is my favorite, but in reality I like every scene.  This short is a case of the individual scenes being stronger than the whole.

    8/10
    « Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 09:55:21 PM by metaldams »

    Offline falsealarms

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 01:09:18 AM »
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  • There are a lot of memorable moments in this one, including this all-time exchange:

    Dr.Graves: How'd you find the patient in 72?
    Larry: Up on the chandelier.
    Dr.Graves:  What'd you do for him?
    Curly: Nuthin, what'd he ever do for us?
    Dr.Graves: WHAT ARE YOU WORKING HERE FOR?
    All Three Stooges: For duty and humanity!

    Other memorable bits: the hiccuping nurse (Jeanie Roberts), breaking all the glass doors, "calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard," Billy Gilbert and the parrot, the scene with the telegram messenger (Bobby Callahan), and vandalizing the loud speaker at the end.

    MEN IN BLACK was the lone Stooge short appearance of long time, prolific character actor Del Henderson ("Dr. Graves").

    "Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard," was later turned into a regional hit in the 1980s by the San Francisco band The Finders.


    Offline Lefty

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 09:55:33 AM »
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  • 1.  Every time I see a green (or close to green) bird I think of Billy Gilbert's famous quote, "Look!  Great big giant green canaries!"

    2.  As a kid, I was frightened the first few times I saw what "Los Arms Hospital" looked like from the outside, like it was going to reach out and grab everyone.

    3.  One time, a friend of mine (years before I met him) and two of his friends were at a bar/restaurant and the hostess asked them the name of their party, as there would be a 15-minute wait.  He said, "Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, and Doctor Howard."  Well, the hostess was not familiar with the most famous line of "Men in Black," so when she called out "Doctor Howard, Doctor Fine, and Doctor Howard," almost all of the men turned around to see who they were and got a chuckle out of it.

    4.  Does anyone know who voiced that catch phrase?

    Offline Shemp_Diesel

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 10:12:37 AM »
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  • Ah yes, Men in Black, the first great Three Stooges short (imo). I like the Marx Brothers parallel metal brought up, this short definitely has the feel of one of their movies with the absurdity of it all, it seems more gag-laden than any of the stooges early shorts, but those gags are definitely funny.


    My favorite moment has to be Larry's immortal line, "Lets pluck 'em and see if he's ripe." Also Billy Gilbert as the mental patient who sees giant canaries. Water, WATER!!!

    9/10...

    « Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 04:38:23 AM by Shemp_Diesel »
    Now you ask me if I believe a man can become a wolf. Well, if you mean can he take on the physical characteristics of an animal, no, it's fantastic. However, I do believe that most anything can happen to a man in his own mind.

    Offline BeAStooge

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 11:39:04 AM »
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  • As a kid, I was frightened the first few times I saw what "Los Arms Hospital" looked like from the outside, like it was going to reach out and grab everyone.

    It wasn't your imagination.  That building today is the headquarters for the Church of Scientology.

    Offline BeAStooge

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 01:04:51 PM »
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  • 4.  Does anyone know who voiced that catch phrase?

    That remains an open question.  Purely guessing at this point, but it may be Joseph Mills (d. 1935)...

    • All credited, male actors are accounted for [visually] in the film, with the exception of one... Joseph Mills
    • No one onscreen appears to match Mills, who was 59 when MEN IN BLACK was filmed
    • Mills has a role in W. C. Fields' THE OLD FASHIONED WAY (1934), but his credited character can't be pinpointed in that film, so we don't have a possible voice match to work with

    It's also very possible it's not Mills at all, but an uncredited voiceover lost to the passage of time.  Or director Ray McCarey, or ??

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #6 on: May 13, 2013, 04:02:36 PM »
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  • Del Henderson is great in this - his voice is very versatile, from the businesslike introductory remarks to the roar of WHAT ARE YOU WORKING HERE FOR? to the anesthetized " No, schnapps...ooooohhhhh" he is a big contributor to the madness.  And, speaking of madness, even in a gag-fest like this is, Little Billy as a wise-cracking cross-dressing midget is downright hallucinatory.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #7 on: May 16, 2013, 07:23:51 AM »
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  • Another interesting character actor is Hank Mann, the guy who constantly had to fix the glass door.  He was a Sennett regular for years and was even Chaplin's boxing opponent in CITY LIGHTS.  Another actor from these early shorts where it's a shame he don't show up more with the Stooges.

    Offline JazzBill

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #8 on: May 16, 2013, 06:17:26 PM »
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  • With their roles defined,  the boys hit the ground running in this one. One gag after another, beginning to end. "Men In Black"  has always been in the top of my favorites list. I always thought them coming out of the storeroom using different forms of transportation was pretty funny. This one rates a 10 from me.
    "When in Chicago call Stockyards 1234, Ask for Ruby".

    Offline Squirrelbait

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #9 on: May 18, 2013, 02:16:00 AM »
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  • I know I'm definitely the minority here, but I never really got into this one - sorry. I know it's considered a classic and was their only film to be nominated for an Oscar, but I just don't care for it. To me, it just doesn't feel like proper Stooges. However, I don't necessarily hate it either.

    Top moments:

    'Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!'
    'For Duty And Humanity!'
    Breaking of the glass doors
    'I lost my voice asking for a raise'

    My rating: 3.5/10

    I hope I don't get pounded tooo badly....
    If there's no other place around the place, I reckon this must be the place, I reckon.

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #10 on: May 18, 2013, 06:10:17 AM »
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  • I know I'm definitely the minority here, but I never really got into this one - sorry. I know it's considered a classic and was their only film to be nominated for an Oscar, but I just don't care for it. To me, it just doesn't feel like proper Stooges. However, I don't necessarily hate it either.

    Top moments:

    'Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!'
    'For Duty And Humanity!'
    Breaking of the glass doors
    'I lost my voice asking for a raise'

    My rating: 3.5/10

    I hope I don't get pounded tooo badly....

    You hope you don't get pounded too badly?  ................No soup for you, one year!  Or um, something to that effect.  Yeah, that's it.

    Offline Kopfy2013

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #11 on: June 03, 2013, 12:14:00 AM »
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  • This is one of my favorites.  All the supporting players were great.  The individual scenes.

    Noted phrases I like 'Cotton,,,,cotton,,, COTTON!'  ...  'The tools?, the tools?'
    Niagara Falls

    Offline Mr. Umpchay

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #12 on: August 17, 2013, 01:03:57 PM »
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  • "Men in Black" is full of great bits which are marvelously done. I laugh during the first scene with the Hiccuping nurse (Jeanie Roberts) every time I watch it. The apple pie joke gets me every time. Indeed, Roberts and Billy Gilbert (Green Canaries) actually steal the show in my opinion. Gilbert is so good that I actually get as apprehensive as the boys regarding his demeanor. It makes even me uncomfortable. I love the curtains as surgical masks making the boys appear girlish when the curtains are open. Of the three modes of transportation, used to travel from the 'store room' to the halls of mayhem, I love the little cars. I gotta get me one of those.

    As good as all these bits are, the short falls short (haha) of greatness to me. It just doesn't work as a cohesive story. Who am I kidding? There is no story. After I finish watching and laughing, I find myself wishing there was more of a plot instead of just three guys turning a hospital upside down. I'll continue to watch it from time to time, but its not a favorite of mine. The performances of Roberts and Gilbert will keep me coming back.

    Verdict: 8 pokes

    Offline metaldams

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #13 on: August 17, 2013, 01:22:25 PM »
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  • "Men in Black" is full of great bits which are marvelously done. I laugh during the first scene with the Hiccuping nurse (Jeanie Roberts) every time I watch it. The apple pie joke gets me every time. Indeed, Roberts and Billy Gilbert (Green Canaries) actually steal the show in my opinion. Gilbert is so good that I actually get as apprehensive as the boys regarding his demeanor. It makes even me uncomfortable. I love the curtains as surgical masks making the boys appear girlish when the curtains are open. Of the three modes of transportation, used to travel from the 'store room' to the halls of mayhem, I love the little cars. I gotta get me one of those.

    As good as all these bits are, the short falls short (haha) of greatness to me. It just doesn't work as a cohesive story. Who am I kidding? There is no story. After I finish watching and laughing, I find myself wishing there was more of a plot instead of just three guys turning a hospital upside down. I'll continue to watch it from time to time, but its not a favorite of mine. The performances of Roberts and Gilbert will keep me coming back.

    Verdict: 8 pokes

    You pretty much feel the same way as I do about this, funny parts, no cohesion.  Welcome aboard.

    Offline Mr. Umpchay

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #14 on: August 17, 2013, 04:16:02 PM »
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  • Thanks for the welcome. I'll try to do a few of these at a time. You guys have a headstart on me.

    Offline BeatleShemp

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #15 on: December 27, 2013, 10:18:20 AM »
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  • Classic short. It is such a shame that others never got nominated for an Academy Award. So many classic bits in this short, though it isn't one of my favorites. Larry's "see if he's ripe" bit always gets me going.

    Offline Liz

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #16 on: December 27, 2013, 02:32:31 PM »
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  • A true classic.
    IT'S ALIVE!!!!

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #17 on: August 23, 2014, 04:30:17 AM »
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  • It's a battle.  Either this or DISORDER IN THE COURT is the GOAT.  Here we have the purest form of Stooge comedy: verbal cracks, sadism, deception, battery.  The boys are an embarrassment to themselves and the profession, revealing themselves as failures before they even start their job.  Very nice job there finding a bunch of average sized people to hide the Stooges behind.

    As doctors, they're killers: they encourage a man's insanity... only for there to be REAL bright green canaries; they force a person out of a "coma"; they spin wheel chairs; they knock out their boss and get the safe code... only to give him a slow death by leaving the tools in.  We also have the battle between the boys and the machine, which ends with the machines delightful death.

    Dell Henderson is incredible in what is his only Stooge role (Edit: Dell is in IF A BODY MEETS A BODY).  Bud Jamison gets his second role, but first one with any major significance.  Ruth Hiatt's only role sees her steal most of the punchlines, which sends the Stooges into a frenzy hacking Dell Henderson to pieces.  The Stooges role with their vehicles adds to the abhorrent degradation of hospital standards.  The boys are excellent through and through.  But here we see the boys established in their roles with many future straight-man repeats in this short.

    10/10

    ^bump
    « Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 06:16:44 PM by Paul Pain »
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    Offline GreenCanaries

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #18 on: January 05, 2015, 03:32:46 PM »
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  • One of my all-time favorites (check out my username!).

    I dunno why, but I've just personally always liked this one. Just a pure 18 minutes of gags; I'd name my specific favorite moments, but I dunno if I could without quoting nearly the whole short - just a bunch of fun one-liners and physical nuances. Another thing is, for some reason, I just like the early, almost quiet air this short has, from Curly's lower, calmer voice to the overall atmosphere of the hospital setting.

    Also, I gotta say, I really dig the opening theme in this short and Punch Drunks (Archie Gottler and Edward Eliscu's "I Thought I Wanted You").
    "With oranges, it's much harder..."

    Offline Larrys#1

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #19 on: February 09, 2015, 05:16:45 PM »
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  • I know I'm definitely the minority here, but I never really got into this one - sorry. I know it's considered a classic and was their only film to be nominated for an Oscar, but I just don't care for it. To me, it just doesn't feel like proper Stooges. However, I don't necessarily hate it either.

    Top moments:

    'Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard!'
    'For Duty And Humanity!'
    Breaking of the glass doors
    'I lost my voice asking for a raise'

    My rating: 3.5/10

    I hope I don't get pounded tooo badly....

    I can understand how you feel. To me, these early Curly episodes don't do much for me, mainly because Curly's character has not fully developed yet. No nyuks and no high pitched voice yet. It took a while for Curly to get fully comfortable in his role to start experimenting a little bit,

    All that aside.... the story of this episode is very good. Moe, Larry and all the supporting casts give great performance... especially the crazy patient and the apple pie lady. Funny bits there. Though, I do find this episode rather slow and not as funny as some of their later works. This is fun to watch on occasions, but it doesn't rank high on my playability list.

    7/10

    Offline ThumpTheShoes

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #20 on: February 09, 2015, 06:02:34 PM »
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  • I do find this episode rather slow and not as funny as some of their later works.

    I don't consider it slow, but I do think it has the distinct feeling of an MGM short comedy-- and probably on purpose to cash in on MGM's money making style. Columbia nor the Stooges had really found their footing in the short comedy game. Couple more titles and they'd be rolling for sure!
    A jerk with a quirk may do the work. Or, a turk with a dirk may stick a clerk! Gut gesagt?

    Offline Larrys#1

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #21 on: February 18, 2015, 12:15:56 PM »
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  • I don't consider it slow, but I do think it has the distinct feeling of an MGM short comedy-- and probably on purpose to cash in on MGM's money making style. Columbia nor the Stooges had really found their footing in the short comedy game. Couple more titles and they'd be rolling for sure!

    Ah yes, I think that would be a better way to describe it. You're absolutely right; "slow" wasn't the right word.

    Offline Paul Pain

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #22 on: April 27, 2017, 06:31:46 PM »
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  • This thread is so good I'm bumping it for funsies.

    On a series note...
    I don't consider it slow, but I do think it has the distinct feeling of an MGM short comedy

    Considering the Healy-Stooges shorts were for MGM... Hmm... Hmmmmm... HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!
    #1 fire kibitzer

    Offline Percy Pomeroy

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #23 on: April 28, 2017, 11:39:32 AM »
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  • Not one of the very top echelon but one that I would not turn off if I accidently came upon it. Why was it nominated for Academy Award and their other superior shorts of that era were not? Maybe the academy viewed Men In Black as more artsy and therefor more deserving of praise because (as others have posted) it emulates the Marx Brothers movies. I don't know, was the Marx Brothers' humor considered more high brow at the time? Of course, present day, the Marx Brothers are objects of reverence, whereas the Stooges don't get nearly the same respect.

    Offline Big Chief Apumtagribonitz

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #24 on: April 28, 2017, 09:26:13 PM »
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  • My guess would be that MIB was judged to be the funniest thing of 1934, and their flicks might have got beat out as the funniest in subsequent years.   They award the Oscar year by year, not by era.  That sounds snide, but I don't mean it that way - the window for the Oscars is very tight.  One year around then, a Gershwin song - it might have been They Can't Take That Away From Me - lost to a Hawiian ditty called Sweet Lelani.  In 80-year-old hindsight like we have, some decisions make sense, some are incomprehensible.

    Offline stoogerascalfan62

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #25 on: May 01, 2017, 01:47:18 PM »
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  • Someone on YouTube, when YT had an early Popeye cartoon with a different voice actress voicing Olive Oyl, claimed that one of "Men In Black"'s featured performers, Jeanie Roberts, voiced Olive. I don't think that was ever the case.

    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #26 on: May 01, 2017, 02:14:33 PM »
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  • Someone on YouTube, when YT had an early Popeye cartoon with a different voice actress voicing Olive Oyl, claimed that one of "Men In Black"'s featured performers, Jeanie Roberts, voiced Olive. I don't think that was ever the case.

    I agree, because the Popeye cartoons were never made in California. They were made in New York except for a brief period in the late 1930s/early 1940s in which they were made in Miami, Florida. For the majority of the New York cartoons, she was voiced by Mae Questel, while Margie Hines is believed to have voiced her in the Miami cartoons. Considering Roberts probably lived in Los Angeles, I highly doubt they would have been willing to spend the extra money to bring her out to Miami for recording sessions.

    Offline stoogerascalfan62

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #27 on: May 08, 2017, 01:33:54 PM »
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  • According to Wikipedia, Bonnie Poe voiced Olive in the first few cartoons, particularly the Betty Boop one that brought the spinach-loving sailor to the big screen.

    Offline Umbrella Sam

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    Re: Men in Black (1934)
    « Reply #28 on: May 08, 2017, 03:50:37 PM »
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  • After watching some live-action clips of her on YouTube, I think it's safe to say that Poe is indeed the voice of Betty in the first Popeye cartoon, which probably means that she was the voice of Olive Oyl in this and some of the earlier cartoons as well. It's hard to tell, considering that Olive Oyl's voice is lower in them, and I can't find any clips of Poe talking in her regular speaking voice (assuming she didn't actually talk like Betty in real life). It's probably not Questel, considering she always claimed that she had chosen to do the Zasu Pitts impression the first time she saw the storyboards for Olive Oyl.