Thursday, February 17, 2011

wacky tacky icons: Betty Hutton

Inspired by a recent posting on my friend's blog - - I realized that we needed to highlight some icons of wacky tacky.  Who was at once both silly and sultry?  Who combined cornball with commitment? Who turned goofiness into girlish charm?  Who was the one female star who was not only unafraid of looking totally silly, but actually perpetuated a persona that was truly bonkers? Who else but Betty Hutton?

Born in 1921, Hutton was destined for stardom.  But as with almost all the stars of the 1940's and 50's, her career faded and she ended up on the Las Vegas circuit and in touring companies of Broadway shows.  She began her career as a band singer and was eventually signed to Paramount Pictures.  Probably most well known for her star turn in Annie Get Your Gun, our favorite Hutton performances are the B films, like The Stork Club where she gets to let loose and feel her roots as a band singer with numbers like "Doctor, Lawyer and Indian Chief."  Betty Hutton is a supreme example of wacky tacky in her ability to put over a great song without taking herself too seriously.  She really is one of those female performers who make you forget how beautiful she is because she was so commited to being nutty.

She was truly the queen of novelty tunes

She also sang with a beguiling tenderness 

"What's My Line?" is one of our favorite programs -
especially the celebrity guest segment.

Betty Hutton is a wacky tacky icon.  She is an archetypal, female screwball with substance.  She forged her own path in musical comedy and used her celebrity platform to aid many charities.  As Bob Hope said, she was "a vitamin pill with legs."  Hutton died in 2007, leaving a legacy of brilliant zaniness.

We would be remiss in failing to mention Betty's sister, Marion Hutton, seen here singing with The Glenn Miller Orchestra in the 1942 film Orchestra Wives

She never reached the heights of her younger sister but she was a dynamo too!
You can definitely see some of the signature Hutton Family touches in her performance!


Mr. Tiny


  1. Yay! I love Bette Hutton, too.
    She's Matt's girlfriend. Well, would have been if he'd had a say ;)
    I love her in "Old Man Mose". I need to make that jumper dress.
    Thanks for the post, and the blog mention :)

  2. Betty Hutton is one of my favorites! I like Public Jitterbug No.1 (of course), and Miracle at Morgan's Creek. Beautiful and goofy, what a great combo! :)