Ahoy Captain Cats here and over the weekend on November 9 was the 100 birthday to an iconic character and that character is Felix the Cat.
Felix was created by Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer, due to the character origins till this day remains disputed on who created him first, I’m going to give them both equal credit for this article’s sake.
Felix was introduced to the world under the name of Master Tom on November 9, 1919, in his first silent film titled “Feline Follies.” After the second silent film “The Musical Mews” his name was changed to Felix and in the third silent film “The Adventures of Felix” the name change stayed till today and yes even the name debate on why the name change continues to this day. Felix didn’t move into sound till late 1929, but did not transition well and lost steam to Micky Mouse and Betty Boop. We wouldn’t see Felix again until 1936 when Van Beuren/RKO released Three color films but to no success.
No one would have seen him again till October of 1959 with the Felix the Cat animated TV show which had a total of 260 episodes and ran till May of 1962. After the series ended we wouldn’t see him again for 26 years till the Felix the Cat: The Movie which was released in October of 1988 at the London Film Festival but was panned by both critics and moviegoers. 7 years later Felix was back on the small screen with the cult classic series “The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat” in September of 1995. This take on Felix was a mix of Sullivan and Messmer silent film shorts with wonderful music by the Club Foot Orchestra and the cast from his first TV series run and mix in new characters such as the Poindexter, Rosco, Shamus T. Goldcrow and my personal two favorites Sheba Beboporeba and Skiddoo the Mouse. The series ended in 1997 and in 2000 Japan created a new series called “Baby Felix” which lasted almost a year.
He was also in a series of comic strips that were created by Sullivan back in August of 1923 to 1927 where Messmer took over from 1927 till 1954. During Messmer run on the strip Jack Mendelsohn did work on the strip from 1948-1952 as a ghostwriter and Joe Oriolo who was Messmer’s assistant at the time and later on create Casper the Friendly Ghost, took over the strip from 1955 till the end of the strips run in 1966.
Over the years Felix the Cat became a mascot to the likes of Felix Chevrolet in Los Angeles, The US Navy’s Bombing Squadron Two, 1922 New York Yankees team and pilot and actress Ruth Elder who had a Felix doll as she attempted to become the first woman to do what Charles Lindbergh did with the transatlantic crossing to Paris. Felix also became a pop culture icon in just his looks alone and even had a song created called Felix the Cat by Paul Whiteman.
Everyone here wants to wish that lovable cat a happy 100 Birthday and have a good old night out on the town with your main squeeze Miss Kitty White.