Felix the Cat was created by Pat Sullivan, but was largely the work of Otto Messmer, the man who animated the films and drew the newspaper comic strips. According to the introduction to this Bosko Video program, Messmer directed and animated more than 175 Felix cartoons in the years 1919 through 1929. During that time, Felix the Cat was one of the world’s most-popular animated characters, with several short films in circulation at any one time throughout the 1920s and a profitable line of Felix the Cat merchandise.
Despite Felix’s high popularity, he died a quick death as a movie star when Sullivan refused to enthusiastically transition his meal ticket character to sound films. Some of the silent cartoons were rereleased with new product featuring poorly recorded and poorly synchronized sound effects by Copley Pictures in 1930, but it was too late. Disney’s Mickey Mouse was the new reigning king of the cartoon short. Pat Sullivan’s wife may have committed suicide or accidently fallen from a hotel window in February 1932; Sullivan’s own death came a year later from alcoholic complications — two tragic deaths brought about by the end of Felix’s motion picture career. However, it was animator Otto Messmer, the man who knew Felix best, who benefitted in the long run, for he continued drawing Felix for the Sunday papers until 1943 and continued the daily strip until 1967. Messmer died at the age of 91 in October 1983. — Carl Bennett
2004 DVD edition
Felix the Cat Woos Whoopee (1927-1930), black & white and color, 61 minutes total, not rated,
including Felix Woos Whoo-pie (1927), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, Arabiantics (1928), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, Futuritzy (1928), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, Outdoor Indore (1928), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, False Vases (1930), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, Forty Winks (1930), black & white, ? minutes, not rated, and Skulls and Sculls (1930), black & white, ? minutes, not rated.
Digiview Productions, CCS-A, UPC 8-72322-00428-4.
One single-sided, single-layered, Region 0NTSC DVD disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 7 chapter stops; slimline DVD keepcase, $1.98.
Release date: 2004.
Country of origin: China
This ultra-cheap DVD collection (which could be found at Wal-Mart and other low-ball retailers) has the distinction of containing only two cartoons that are available in other DVD compilations. The disc contains Felix Woos Whoo-pie (1927), Forty Winks (1930), Arabiantics (1928), False Vases (1930), Futuritzy (1928), Skulls and Sculls (1930) and Outdoor Indore (1928). All are transferred from Copley prints. It’s not great, but it’s certainly worth the dollar that we paid for it.