The Magic Bag (1959)
First episode of the Trans-Lux TV series. Featuring Felix's Magic Bag of Tricks, a satchel that could assume the shape and characteristics of anything Felix wanted. The show did away with Felix's previous supporting cast and introduced many new characters, all of which were performed by voice actor Jack Mercer.
Space-Time Twister (1995)
First episode of The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat.
Guardian Idiot (1995)
Includes an bizarre metamorphosis (that was featured in the series' opening sequence), which mentally scarred this curator forever. It involves an angry meat shop owner and his machinery...
Felix the Cat is a cartoon character created in the silent film era. His black body, white eyes, and giant grin, coupled with the surrealism of the situations in which his cartoons place him, combine to make Felix one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history. Felix was the first character from animation to attain a level of popularity sufficient to draw movie audiences.
Felix's origins remain disputed. Australian cartoonist/film entrepreneur Pat Sullivan, owner of the Felix character, claimed during his lifetime to be its creator. American animator Otto Messmer, Sullivan's lead animator, has more commonly been assigned credit by Americans in recent decades. Some historians argue that Messmer ghosted for Sullivan although Messmer's creation claim has not been proven. The art and lettering in Feline Follies have been identified as Pat Sullivan's work, whereas Messmer's claim completely excluded Sullivan from the animation. What is certain is that Felix emerged from Sullivan's studio, and cartoons featuring the character enjoyed success and popularity in the 1920s.
In the early 1920s Felix enjoyed enormous popularity in popular culture. He got his own comic strip (drawn by Messmer) beginning in 1923, and his image soon adorned all sorts of merchandise such as ceramics, toys and postcards. Several manufacturers made stuffed Felix toys. Jazz bands such as Paul Whiteman's played songs about him (1923's "Felix Kept On Walking" and others).
By the late 1920s with the arrival of sound cartoons Felix's success was fading. The new Disney shorts of Mickey Mouse made the silent offerings of Sullivan and Messmer, who were then unwilling to move to sound production, seem outdated. In 1929, Sullivan decided to make the transition and began distributing Felix sound cartoons through Copley Pictures. The sound Felix shorts proved to be a failure and the operation ended in 1930. Sullivan died in 1933. Felix saw a brief three cartoon resurrection in 1936 by the Van Beuren Studios.
In 1953, Official Films purchased the Sullivan-Messmer shorts, added soundtracks to them, and distributed to the home movie and television markets. Messmer himself pursued the Sunday Felix comic strips until their discontinuance in 1943, when he began eleven years of writing and drawing monthly Felix comic books for Dell Comics. In 1954, Messmer retired from the Felix daily newspaper strips, and his assistant Joe Oriolo (the creator of Casper the Friendly Ghost) took over. Oriolo struck a deal with Felix's new owner, Pat Sullivan's nephew, to begin a new series of Felix cartoons on television. Oriolo went on to star Felix in 260 television cartoons distributed by Trans-Lux beginning in 1958. Like the Van Beuren studio before, Oriolo gave Felix a more domesticated and pedestrian personality, geared more toward children, and introduced now-familiar elements such as Felix's Magic Bag of Tricks, a satchel that could assume the shape and characteristics of anything Felix wanted. The show did away with Felix's previous supporting cast and introduced many new characters, all of which were performed by voice actor Jack Mercer.
Oriolo's plots revolve around the unsuccessful attempts of the antagonists to steal Felix's Magic Bag, though in an unusual twist, these antagonists are occasionally depicted as Felix's friends as well. The cartoons proved popular, but critics have dismissed them as paling in comparison to the earlier Sullivan-Messmer works, especially since Oriolo aimed the cartoons at children. Limited animation (required due to budgetary restraints) and simplistic story lines did nothing to diminish the series' popularity.
In 1970, Oriolo gained complete control of the Felix character, and continued to promote the character up until his death in 1985.
Today, Oriolo's son, Don, continues to market Felix. During the late 1980s, Don teamed up with European animators to work on the character's first feature film, Felix the Cat: The Movie
In the film, Felix visits an alternate reality along with the Professor and Poindexter. New World Pictures
planned a 1987 Thanksgiving release for U.S. theaters, which did not happen;
ultimately, the movie ended up going direct-to-video in August 1991.
In 1995, Felix appeared on television again, in an off-beat series called The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat
. The show was a modern take on the original 1958 series produced by Otto Messmer
's former assistant, Joe Oriolo
. His son, Don Oriolo, was involved in the creation of this series as well. In many ways, the show reverts back to the silent era of shorts with surreal settings and offbeat character depictions. Felix is also more like his original mischievous adult form, rather than the young and innocent depiction from the 1930s, 1950s and the 1988 film Felix the Cat: The Movie
. It does, however, contain some elements from the 50's series such as Felix's Magic Bag of Tricks and the character Poindexter. The series used Fleischer Studios
The series starred Thomas Adcox as the voice of Felix the Cat. Later on in the series though, he was replaced by Charlie Adler for unknown reasons. It was produced by Phil Roman and Timothy Berglund and is reputed to have been one of the most expensive cartoons ever made by Film Roman. Martin Olson and Jeremy Kramer, two comedy writers known for pushing the envelope into the bizarre, wrote both outlines and scripts for the series. The main theme was composed by Don Oriolo, while the musical score and closing theme were composed and performed by the Club Foot Orchestra. The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat aired from September 9, 1995 to November 25, 1997 on CBS.
According to Don Oriolo's Felix the Cat blog, as of September 2008 there were plans in development for a new television series. Don's biography page also mentions a 52-episode cartoon series in the works, titled "The Felix the Cat Show". The series will use CG graphics and be produced by the French studio TeamTO, in association with Forecast Pictures.
The series will be airing on Cartoon Network