This time we are going a little further back than normal. The Felix the Cat cartoon was one of the first popular cartoon series. Felix dates all the way back to the early 1900’s during the era of silent films. Felix was actually so popular that a Felix the Cat stuffed doll was actually used by the RCA company in the first ever Television broadcast.(wikipedia)
These silent Felix the Cat Cartoons were very well received obviously. Along with the cartoon, multiple other items were produced including a comic strip, which yet again was quite popular. Various merchandise including toys, ceramics, etc were also produced. There is even a complete subreddit just for Felix the Cat.
Unfortunately for Felix, his popularity begin to drop with the dawn of “Talking Pictures”. It was hard to keep up with the new sound based cartoons capturing everyone’s attention. For Felix however, it was just too late. There were some cartoons featuring Felix had included sound produced later on, but the attempt itself is generally seen as a failure.
A DVD collection of earlier Felix cartoons is available on Amazon.
The Felix the Cat Cartoon Gets a Revamp.
Thankfully for Felix, all was not lost. He would make a return in the 1950’s with a whole new coat of paint. This would be the era of Felix I personally am more familiar with. Granted I was not alive when these Felix the Cat cartoons were originally produced, but I remember many times seeing repeats in the early 1990’s. Many are also available on Vhs and DVD. (see on Amazon)
This is also the Felix that most will remember also. The revamp is when Felix’s magic bag was introduced and added a whole different level of wonder and fascination to the show. Obviously with the introduction of the magic bag, Felix naturally had multitude of antagonists appear. Along with friends and enemies, there were a number of Felix the Cat characters. His main nemesis would be the Professor who wanted to steal Felix’s magic bag. As an odd twist, there are also times the Professor and Felix would work together, but I don’t want to spoil anything so that is as much as I will say about it. (You can find out more here, if you don’t mind spoilers). Some more villians in the cast of Felix the Cat characters would be Master Cylinder, Wack Lizardi, and General Clang. When it comes to Felix the Cat characters that are allies, there are Kitty Kat, Princess Oriana, and Rosco.
Yet again Felix was back in the limelight. The cartoons did well. Merchandise was yet again being produced and this success continued on for a great while. Felix may not necessarily have been a household name again like Mickey Mouse, but could definitely be considered a success.
The Felix the Cat cartoon premise would also be the basis for a full feature length movie in the late 1980’s. Unfortunately the theater release did not end up happening, but a straight to Video release did titled “Felix the Cat The Movie”. Which can be found on Amazon.
Around this time a game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System was also produced, just titled Felix the Cat. Quite a good game actually, albeit a little pricey. You can see our Felix the Cat Nes review here.
In conclusion, Felix ended up being a cultural icon. All of this stemmed from the Felix the Cat cartoon. He may not have grown to the fame and fortune of other characters like Bugs Bunny, but remains a remembered and loved character by many.