They seek refuge in a spooky cave, where a swaying, backwards-dancing walrus sings to a series of disturbing images: skeletons drink poison, collapse, and become ghosts; ghost inmates are sent to the electric chair, and die; pupil-less kittens suck the life force from a dour mother cat.
Matinee at the Bijou eventually broadcast a few more Betty Boop cartoons. There weren't many. Introduced by Fleischer Studios in 1930, the stylized flapper with the baby-doll voice roamed her crazy, nightmarish world until 1934, when the Production Code forced her to settle down to more conventional cartoons about kids and dogs.
1. The fluidity of identity, men becoming women, animals becoming human, boys becoming men, suggests that desire, too, is fluid, not merely male desiring female.
2. Betty incites a transformative, healing desire that can heal broken bones and make old men young again. The transformative power of desire is a palliative for gay people told over and over that their desire is wrong, abnormal, or doesn't exist.
3. The cartoons are run through with men desiring men as well as women.
The men want Bimbo, and pursue him lustfully. Even the sword licks its lips in anticipation of his flesh. The fluidity of gender, male as female disguise, only adds to the homoeroticism.