Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat (credited on-screen as Pat Sullivan's Felix the Cat) is a syndicated cartoon revival of the silent Felix cartoons produced by Otto Messemer and creator Pat Sullivan in 1919.
Years before Mickey Mouse, Felix was a cartoon superstar. His adventures were surreal, perfect for the medium of animation. His sudden disappearance from the screen was due to Sullivan's reluctance to have Felix graduate into the arena of sound cartoons. Burt Gillette produced a short-lived series of sound and color Felix cartoons in the 1930s at the Van Beuren Studios. There is debate on who created Felix; Pat Sullivan claims he based Felix on a cat his wife brought to his studio (another account is that he was inspired from Rudyard Kipling's story "The Cat That Walked By Himself"). Otto Messmer says he animated the first cartoon himself as he was assigned it when Paramount asked Sullivan for a new film. Sullivan was busy with other film projects so he turned the film, "Feline Follies," over to Messmer. Released on November 9, 1919, the cartoon starred Master Tom, a prototype of Felix (he would be renamed Felix some three films later).
Joe Oriolo had been drawing the Felix comic strip and through his newly-created Felix the Cat Productions began production on a series of 120 low-budget television cartoons of Felix in 1958, each installment split into two parts and turned out in the span of two weeks. Felix was given two regular adversaries--the Professor and his muscle-headed stooge Rock Bottom. Other characters who appeared with Felix were the Professor's nephew Poindexter, the evil Master Cylinder (who was the Professor's student until he went rogue on him), friendly alien Martin the Martian and eskimo Vavoom. Each story consisted of a two-part cliffhanger. Felix also had a magic bag, a deus ex machina device which he could manipulate to assist him in any situation. The Professor coveted the magic bag as it possessed powers that only Felix could control. Every time the Professor gained possession of the bag, he could never open it, much less control it.
34 years later, Felix returned to TV in the bumpers for CBS's Saturday morning shows. The next season, CBS raised the curtain on The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, a new Felix show patterned after the 1920s and 1930s theatrical cartoons. Prior to that in the 80s's Joe Oriolo's son Don finished up production on Felix The Cat: The Movie which had sporadic theatrical release. Joe had started production on the feature until he passed away, leaving Don to complete it. In the 90s, the Joe Oriolo series was repackaged for syndication with a new opening and a new theme by Mark Mothersbaugh.
The Felix the Cat shorts were animated at Paramount Cartoon Studios (the former Famous Studios, whose parent Paramount Pictures had been a theatrical distributor of older Felix cartoons) for TV release by Trans-Lux in association with Felix the Cat Productions. DreamWorks Classics currently handles the TV distribution rights to the show.
Credits (as per the syndicated repackaging)
Executive Producer: Pat Sullivan
Produced and Directed by: Joe Oriolo
Writers: Joe Oriolo, Joe Stolz, Joe Sabo
Animators: Cliff Augestin, Ellsworth Barton, George Germanetti, Frank Endres, John Gentella, Rube Grossman, Steve Muffati, Grim Natwick, Joe Oriolo, George Ruhfle, Jim Tyer
Voices: Jack Mercer
Music: Winston Sharples (recorded at RCA Studios)
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