Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat is a funny animal cartoon character created in the silent film era. The anthropomorphic black cat with his black body, white eyes, and giant grin, coupled with the surrealism of the situations in which his cartoons place him, combine to make Felix one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history. Felix was the first character from animation to attain a level of popularity sufficient to draw movie audiences.
On November 9, 1919, Master Tom, a prototype of Felix, debuted in a Paramount Pictures short entitled Feline Follies. Produced by the New York City-based animation studio owned by Pat Sullivan, the cartoon was directed by cartoonist and animator Otto Messmer. It was a success, and the Sullivan studio quickly set to work on producing another film featuring Master Tom, the Felix the Cat prototype in The Musical Mews (released 16 November 1919). It too proved to be successful with audiences. Otto Messmer gave two different versions of how Felix got his name, the one on his official site ”Rejoining Sullivan with a great idea for a new character named Felix the Cat, and the second that ”Mr. (John) King of Paramount Magazine suggested the name “Felix”, after the Latin words felis (cat) and felix (lucky), which was used for the third film, The Adventures of Felix (released on 14 December 1919). Pat Sullivan said he named Felix after Australia Felix from Australian history and literature. In 1924, animator Bill Nolan redesigned the fledgling feline, making him both rounder and cuter. Felix’s new looks, coupled with Messmer’s character animation, brought Felix to fame.