Felix the Cat is a cartoon character created in 1919 by Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer during the silent film era. An anthropomorphic black cat with white eyes, a black body, and a giant grin, he was one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history. Felix was the first animated character to attain a level of popularity sufficient to draw movie audiences.
Felix originated from the studio of Australian cartoonist-film entrepreneur Pat Sullivan. Either Sullivan himself or his lead animator, American Otto Messmer, created the character. What is certain is that Felix emerged from Sullivan’s studio, and cartoons featuring the character became big in popular culture. Aside from the animated shorts, Felix starred in a comic strip (drawn by Sullivan, Messmer and later Joe Oriolo) beginning in 1923, and his image soon adorned merchandise such as ceramics, toys and postcards. Several manufacturers made stuffed Felix toys. Jazz bands such as Paul Whiteman’s played songs about him (1923’s “Felix Kept on Walking” and others). In 1926, Felix became the first high school mascot for the Logansport, Indiana, Berries.
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