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Felix the Cat

Updated on February 1, 2015
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Vladimir is a former champion ratter (retired). His hobbies are bushwalking, birdwatching and nature studies

Felix the Cat, The Wonderful Wonderful Cat

My first encounter with Felix the Cat was in the form of a flickering, hazy, black and white reproduction on the television. Nothing to write home about.

But closer inspection revealed the true Felix to me, the inner Felix.

The trademark pace of Felix the Cat
The trademark pace of Felix the Cat

The trademark Felix pace

His beautiful blackness was the draw-card and his wide grin endeared him to the crowds but the surreal situations he ended up in were the clinchers. He was admired for his famous pace - that hands behind his back, head down, deep in thought pace. The Felix Pace became a trademark, one that has been analysed by critics around the world. I have studied this pose myself.

He was a world breaker in many things. Felix was the first animated character who attracted movie audiences based on his star power, and he was the world's first television actor!

The early life of Felix

Felix first appeared in a Paramount Pictures short called Feline Follies. This was in 1919 when Felix went under the name of Master Tom.

It was a success, and a second film was produced in the same year, The Musical Mews, and this too was successful with audiences.

Felix, to use his real name, quickly became a popular figure in American culture, drawing people to see his films and shorts on his star power alone.

The first appearance of Felix - 1919

The Felix Collection on DVD - deliciously weird

A set put together for the Golden Anniversary of Felix.

A beautifully packaged set, with a graphic of the iconic cat on the cover, and a list of episodes.

The case opens like a book and contains two one- sided discs, the cartoons are complete and the menu is easy to navigate.

Easy for any human to enjoy!

His Rapid Rise to Fame

He rocketed to fame, holding a spot as the world's most popular cartoon character until the advent of Mickey Mouse. The wild, witty cartoons made during this period included such classics as Felix in Hollywood (1923), Felix Switches Witches (1927), and Comicalamities (1928).

Felix was perfect for silent films, with his endless repertoire of expressive mannerisms which don't need sound.

Felix on screen

Felix Fought Back

In the 1920s, Felix began to be supplanted by the stars of the "talkies," and it took him quite a while to regain his early popularity. But Felix was not daunted by his downfall!

When his screen career faded in the 1930s, Felix spent a few decades in a memorable series of comic books and strips. After a brief lag, he made it big in television in the 1950s in various TV series, Felix's Magic Bag of Tricks, Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, and Baby Felix is popular in the Japanese market.

Felix continues to appear in comic strips and television shorts. He has even been spotted in graffiti! Like many cartoon characters, he has been through his fair share of metamorphoses, and the modern Felix is quite different from the original.

Felix is older now, rounder and plumper, like most of us with a few years (and a few good dinners) under our belts.

The first television actor - Felix the Cat

Felix as the original TV Star


When television first started, the engineers had to constantly monitor and adjust the quality of the transmitted picture for the best definition. To do this, they needed an actor to constantly be under the burning studio lights as they tweaked and sharpened the image. Felix volunteered for this job from the goodness of his heart.

Felix was the right colour (black and white) for television and he could stand the heat from the lights. He was patient, biddable and good-natured. Foolishly, Felix accepted a one-off payment for his ground-breaking work, not a good example to other cats who entertained dreams of making the Big Time in show biz.

In 1928, Felix the Cat was placed on a record player turntable and was broadcast using a mechanical scanning disk to an electronic kinescope receiver. The image received was only 2 inches tall, and the broadcasts lasted about 2 hours per day.

Felix remained on his turntable for almost a decade as the early experimenters strove towards the goal of a high definition picture. Now that's dedication for you!

Black on Black in a Shirt

That Felix Song

Felix! Felix! Felix the Cat! was written by Alfred Bryan, Pete Wendling and Max Kortlander in 1928.This is just the first verse. There's also a recording from Bix Beiderbecke and, as soon as I find where it's available I'll post the link.

There's a cat, a fuzzy creature

In the movies, he's a feature

He's some Cat!

All the kiddies and the mammas

Say that he's the cat's pajamas

He's all that!

When on the screen he appears,

They shout these words in his ears (Doggone it!)

Felix, Felix, Felix the Cat,

Welcome, welcome, home to our flat.

You fascinate me with your funny meow;

I'll feed you catnip and sweet milk from the cow.

Felix, Felix, in our backyard,

You can hang up your hat.

Make your pillow underneath a pussywillow,

Felix, Felix the Cat!

Felix fights on!

The popularity of Felix the Cat has never gone away. Not just because of nostalgia, and not just because of his striking appearance and charming personality, but because he is a fascinating creature, an oddly disconnected and yet almost pathologically happy being

And Felix continues to fight Evil!

We must be generous of spirit to the old Stars. Maybe one day I could be an old Star myself?

Be friendly to Felix

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      Helene-Malmsio 5 years ago

      our office manager is "Felix" the cat... black and white Tuxedo feral my dad brought over one day... also called Felix because of the adorable screensaver cat that used to wander all over our computer monitors before we stopped doing all that on our computers... and also because Felix is supposed to be the word for a Happy personality, which he is.

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      imaginemdd lm 6 years ago

      I'm a Felix fan and have a few Felix the Cat collectible items. Thanks for this informative lens. I've added a link to one of my animal pages.

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      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      I HAVE been a fan of Felix the Cat since I was knee high to a grasshopper! As you might know my dear Vladi, I too am a fan of cats -- having the nickname of cat lady -- so you are scratching up the right leg when you invited me by to say hello. Yes, what aj2008 said, "please pass on my best wishes to the woman in the cottage by the creek!" ;)

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      Ah Vladi - I do smile when I read on your Bio that you have created eleven lenses from "scratch" as I can't imagine you scratching anything! I have never been a fan of Felix the cat but this does not stop me from blessing such a well crafted lens. And please pass on my best wishes to the woman in the cottage by the creek!