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  1. #1
    Extraordinary Member
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    May 2014

    Default Felix the Cat is 100 years old this year...

    Does anyone recall the name Felix the cat ? Well he's 100 years old this year and one of the longest running cartoon characters that is now in the Public Domain if you could believe it...

  2. #2
    Mighty Member Electricmastro's Avatar
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    Jun 2019


    His public domain 1919 cartoon:

  3. #3
    Death becomes you Osiris-Rex's Avatar
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    Dec 2015


    Used to watch him when I was a little kid. Whenever he would get in a fix he would reach into his bag of tricks. I think an image of Felix was also one the first thing ever broadcast on TV.

  4. #4
    Mighty Member K7P5V's Avatar
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    Aug 2017
    Chicago, Illinois


    This is wonderful news. Unfortunately, I don't know much about Felix the Cat (except that he appeared as an "Easter Egg" during the time Todd McFarlane was drawing The Amazing Spider-Man).

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Güicho's Avatar
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    Apr 2014


    Wow Felix the Cat (I know Felix more form his bag of trix era) also Zorro 100 years old this year!

    Didn't realize they were the same age.

    Although his debut film would come the next year...

    Happy Birth Year to two clever, cunning, dressed all in black, characters!
    Last edited by Güicho; 11-11-2019 at 07:02 AM.

  6. #6
    Spectacular Member Banner's Avatar
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    Mar 2019


    It goes back so far that in the early days they were still using the "slash and tear" technique instead of animation cels during the production of Felix. Some more about the animation industry back then:

    "When Hearst began its International News newsreel series in 1915, the company drew on its stable of cartoonists to bridge media platforms in order to cross-promote both the newspaper comics and the film series by providing animated accompanying material under the studio direction of Gregory LaCava. Although few of the newspaper cartoonists actually animated the films, some, like Mutt and Jeff”s creator Bud Fisher, did benefit mightily from studios owned by them but run by employees. Dorgan’s involvement in the films bearing his name likely was minimal, as evinced by the animation credit for Paul D. Robinson.

    Hearst’s hostility to Britain during WWI resulted in failing business for his newsreels, and in an attempt to cut costs, the animation studio was closed in 1918, and its production transferred under license to rival Bray Studios, Inc. The “Joys and Glooms” series is one of the holdovers from this transfer, in which Thomas E. Power’s Hearst strip was animated by Paul Terry’s brother John. Both of the Hearst strip-derived films are typical of this period in that they are heavily dependent on conventions of newspaper cartooning. These include the use of dialogue balloons and traditional character design that makes no allowances for the demands of making these characters move. But it was in this period that character design began to be adapted for more easy manipulation in space. This change was dictated by the requirements of animation production. Due to the large number of drawings required and quick production schedules necessary for a small staff to turn out cartoons on a series basis, production efficiencies also required compromises in either character design or in the animation itself. Many of the characters in these films are irregularly-shaped human or animal forms, as was typical of newspaper cartooning. When rotated in space, the character’s outlines would change in shape, making it more difficult and expensive to move them in animation. Thus, the animated characters in these films generally do not rotate, and their movement is restricted to two dimensions. Often only their mouths would move. Later, beginning with such figures as Otto Messmer’s Felix the Cat, animation characters were designed with production efficiency in mind. Felix, an “inkblot” character with little detail on his form, was basically two black spheres with limbs attached. When the body and head rotated, they still retained their basic circular profile, making the animation of the character’s movement in any plane relatively simple. This set the pattern for numerous other “inkblot” characters, most famously Disney’s Mickey Mouse.

    The “Joys and Glooms” film also shows the use of the cel (or celluloid) method, devised by John Bray and Earl Hurd, and generally licensed for use in the animation industry. By means of the cel method, the background or static elements of each image would be drawn on one sheet of translucent paper or (less frequently, due to greater expense) a clear plastic celluloid sheet. The moving parts of the image would be drawn on a separate sheet of paper or celluloid. When the two sheets were sandwiched together, the composite drawing would be photographed. This would eliminate the retracing of all the static elements in the image, resulting in great savings in labor and much shorter production schedules. However, since royalties had to be paid to the Bray Studios, who were the proprietors of the Bray-Hurd patents, many other companies tried to avoid the use of these – either by the simplification of the image to eliminate backgrounds, or by the use of an alternate “slash and tear” system invented by Hearst staffer Raoul Barre, in which areas of the sheet of paper holding the moving part of the image were slashed away to reveal a drawing of the static parts beneath. Although somewhat less efficient, it was the simplest means of avoiding paying fees for the use of the Bray-Hurd Process, as the Bray Studios did take unauthorized users of its technology to court for patent infringement."
    Last edited by Banner; 11-19-2019 at 10:24 AM.

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