The Ominous Octopus

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Sons Of Felix The Cat

Walt Disney's Alice comedies featured a cat that looked very much like Felix. So did many other cartoons made in that period.

Alice Comedies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The "Alice Comedies" are a series of animated cartoons created by Walt Disney in the 1920s, in which a live action little girl named Alice (originally played by Virginia Davis) and an animated cat named Julius have adventures in an animated landscape.



 Alice's Wonderland

Disney, Ub Iwerks, and their staff made the first Alice Comedy, a one-reel (ten-minute) short subject titled Alice's Wonderland, while still heading the failing Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City, Missouri.
Alice's Wonderland begins with Alice entering a cartoon studio to witness cartoons being created. Alice is amazed by what she sees: The cartoon characters come to life and play around. After heading to bed that night, she dreams of being in the cartoon world, welcomed by all of the characters. Alice plays with them until a group of lions break free from a cage and chase her.
This short helped set the stage for what was to come in the later Alice Comedies, as it established the world as a playful dream and also introduced the elements which would soon define the series.

 The Alice Comedies series begins

After completing the film, the studio went bankrupt and was forced to shut down. After raising money by working as a freelance photographer, Disney bought a one-way train ticket to Los Angeles, California to live with his uncle Robert and his brother Roy. In California, Disney continued to send out proposals for the Alice series, in hopes of obtaining a distribution deal, which was finally arranged through Winkler Pictures, run by Margaret Winkler and her fianceé, Charles Mintz, on the basis of Alice's Wonderland. Disney convinced Davis' family to bring her from Missouri to Los Angeles to star in the series.[1]


Although seen as cute and funny in their time, the Alice Comedies contain content which might be considered surprising and somewhat harsh today by sensitive viewers. Alice is a little girl, yet she spends much of her time avoiding danger, and even getting kidnapped by the cartoon villains, threatened with such perils as being tied to a log in a sawmill. These scenes are parodies of similar scenes in movie serials such as The Perils of Pauline (1914), starring actress Pearl White. One such Alice cartoon, Alice's Mysterious Mystery (1926) features two cartoon characters who allegedly resemble members of the Ku Klux Klan. One of the villains drags a dog character into a room marked "Death Chamber", and pulls out a long strand of sausage. In "Alice and the Dog Catcher" she is leader of a club called the Klix Klax Klub. Where all the kids wear paper bags over their heads with their faces painted on them.

 Shorts and subsequent releases

The shorts are now in the public domain.[citation needed] In 2000, Inkwell Images released a DVD titled Alice in Cartoonland - The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney in the series Golden Classics with ten short films from the series as well as some documentaries and a poster gallery. In 2007, Kit Parker Films released another DVD called Alice in Cartoonland by Walt Disney: 35 mm Collector's Set with ten films from the series and a selection of bonus features. There are 14 films from the series on these two DVDs.
In 2005 and again in 2007, ten shorts in the series were released as part of the Walt Disney Treasures series. Seven were part of the Disney Rarities that was released in 2005, while three more were released as part of The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, released in 2007.
Walt Disney both directed and produced every film this series. All animation was done by Walt Disney himself in the period of time before he was financially stable enough to employ a team of animators for successive films. Four actresses have played Alice: Virginia Davis (15), Margie Gay (31), Dawn O'Day (1) and Lois Hardwick (10). The film Alice in the Jungle contains only archival footage of Virginia Davis.
#Short filmDateActressDVD release
1Alice's Wonderland1923Virginia DavisWalt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
2Alice's Day at SeaMarch 1, 1924Virginia Davis
3Alice's Spooky AdventureApril 1, 1924Virginia Davis
4Alice's Wild West ShowMay 1, 1924Virginia DavisWalt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
5Alice's Fishy StoryJune 1, 1924Virginia Davis
6Alice and the Dog CatcherJuly 1, 1924Virginia Davis
7Alice the PeacemakerAugust 1, 1924Virginia Davis
8Alice Gets in DutchNovember 1, 1924Virginia DavisWalt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
9Alice Hunting in AfricaNovember 15, 1924Virginia Davis
10Alice and the Three BearsDecember 1, 1924Virginia Davis
11Alice the PiperDecember 15, 1924Virginia Davis
12Alice Cans the CannibalsJanuary 1, 1925Virginia Davis
13Alice the ToreadorJanuary 15, 1925Virginia DavisAlice in Cartoonland - The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
14Alice Gets StungFebruary 1, 1925Virginia DavisWalt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
15Alice Solves the PuzzleFebruary 15, 1925Margie GayAlice in Cartoonland - The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
16Alice's Egg PlantMay 30, 1925Dawn O'DayWalt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
17Alice Loses OutJune 15, 1925Margie Gay
18Alice Gets Stage StruckJune 30, 1925Margie GayAlice in Cartoonland - The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
19Alice Wins the DerbyJuly 15, 1925Margie GayAlice in Cartoonland - The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
20Alice Picks the ChampJuly 30, 1925Margie Gay(Only a fragment of this cartoon is known to exist)
21Alice's Tin PonyAugust 15, 1925Margie GayAlice in Cartoonland - 35 mm Collector's Set
22Alice Chops the SueyAugust 30, 1925Margie GayAlice in Cartoonland - 35 mm Collector's Set
23Alice the Jail BirdSeptember 15, 1925Margie GayAlice in Cartoonland - 35 mm Collector's Set
24Alice Plays CupidOctober 15, 1925Margie Gay
25Alice Rattled by RatsNovember 15, 1925Margie GayAlice in Cartoonland - The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
26Alice in the JungleDecember 15, 1925Virginia DavisWalt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
27Alice on the FarmJanuary 1, 1926Margie GayAlice in Cartoonland - The Original Alice Comedies by Walt Disney
28Alice's Balloon RaceJanuary 15, 1926Margie GayWalt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
29Alice's OrphanJanuary 15, 1926Margie GayAlice in Cartoonland - 35 mm Collector's Set
30Alice's Little ParadeFebruary 1, 1926Margie Gay
31Alice's Mysterious MysteryFebruary 15, 1926Margie GayWalt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
32Alice Charms the FishSeptember 6, 1926Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
33Alice's Monkey BusinessSeptember 20, 1926Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
34Alice in the Wooly WestOctober 4, 1926Margie GayWalt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
35Alice the Fire FighterOctober 18, 1926Margie Gay
36Alice Cuts the IceNovember 1, 1926Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
37Alice Helps the RomanceNovember 15, 1926Margie Gay
38Alice's Spanish GuitarNovember 29, 1926Margie Gay
39Alice's Brown DerbyDecember 13, 1926Margie Gay
40Alice the LumberJackDecember 27, 1926Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
41Alice the Golf BugJanuary 10, 1927Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
42Alice Foils the PiratesJanuary 24, 1927Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
43Alice at the CarnivalFebruary 10, 1927Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
44Alice at the RodeoFebruary 21, 1927Margie Gay
45Alice the CollegiateMarch 7, 1927Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
46Alice in the AlpsMarch 21, 1927Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
47Alice's Auto RaceApril 4, 1927Margie Gay(Lost cartoon)
48Alice's Circus DazeApril 18, 1927Lois Hardwick
49Alice's Knaughty KnightMay 2, 1927Lois Hardwick(Lost cartoon)
50Alice's Three Bad EggsMay 16, 1927Lois Hardwick(Lost cartoon)
51Alice's PicnicMay 30, 1927Lois Hardwick
52Alice's Channel SwimJune 13, 1927Lois Hardwick(Lost cartoon)
53Alice in the KlondikeJune 27, 1927Lois Hardwick(Lost cartoon)
54Alice's Medicine ShowJuly 11, 1927Lois Hardwick(Lost cartoon)
55Alice the WhalerJuly 25, 1927Lois HardwickWalt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s–1960s
56Alice the Beach NutAugust 8, 1927Lois Hardwick(Lost cartoon)
57Alice in the Big LeagueAugust 22, 1927Lois Hardwick

 See also


  1. ^ The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story, Leslie Iwerks, Walt Disney Pictures, 1999

 External links

One of the old Disney silents resissued with sound.

Some pretty good Felix the Cat cartoons were made by the Van Beuren studio, even when they didn't have the rights to the name "Felix the Cat". Later on they made some genuine Felix the Cat cartoons, but the series ended after only three films were made.

Van Beuren Studios

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Van Beuren Studios was an American animation studio that produced theatrical cartoons from 1928 to 1936.

Amedee J. Van Beuren, 1933
Producer Amedee J. van Beuren first became involved in the animation industry in 1920, when he formed a partnership with Paul Terry and formed the "Aesop's Fables Studio" for the production of the Aesop's Film Fables cartoon series. Van Beuren released Terry's first sound cartoon Dinner Time (1928) through Pathé Exchange which later became part of RKO. Terry ran the animation studio while Van Beuren focused on other parts of the business. In 1929, Terry quit to start his own Terrytoons studio and John Foster took over the animation department. It was at this time that the Fables Studio became the Van Beuren Studio.
Van Beuren released its films through RKO Radio Pictures. The early sound Van Beuren cartoons are almost identical to the late silent cartoons: highly visual, with little dialogue and occasional sound effects. Bandleaders Gene Rodemich and Winston Sharples supervised the music. The company's main cartoon characters were "Tom and Jerry", a tall-and-short pair, usually vagrants who attempted various occupations (no relation to MGM's later Tom and Jerry, a cat and mouse). They were renamed "Dick and Larry". Van Beuren was keenly aware that successful cartoons often featured animated "stars," and urged his staff to come up with new ideas for characters. Cubby, a mischievous little bear, resulted.
Van Beuren remained unsatisfied, and agreed to license the popular comic-strip character The Little King and radio's hottest comedy act, Amos 'n' Andy to adapt into animated form. Strangely, neither series was successful. Van Beuren then hired Walt Disney staffer Tom Palmer to create a new series of color cartoons. These handsome "Rainbow Parade" cartoons featured established characters: Felix the Cat and the Toonerville Trolley gang.
These Van Beuren efforts were well received, and Van Beuren had finally succeeded in sponsoring a popular cartoon series. However, RKO ended its distribution of Van Beuren theatrical shorts in 1937 when it began distributing industry-leader Walt Disney's cartoons.
The Van Beuren Corporation also acquired and produced live-action features and shorts (including Frank Buck's monster hit Bring 'Em Back Alive). In 1932, Van Beuren purchased 12 Charlie Chaplin silent films (his 1916-'18 "Lone Star" comedies for Mutual Film Corporation) for $10,000 apiece, added music (by Rodemich or Sharples) and sound effects, and reissued them through RKO.
The Van Beuren library was sold to various television, reissue, and home-movie distributors in the 1940s and 1950s, including Commonwealth Pictures and Official Films.



 External links


Farmer Alfalfa was a Paul Terry character, but there was some overlap as he was associated with Van Beuren. Here we see the farmer with a Felix-type cat, who was a recurring character in those films.

CANDY TOWN was practically a Felix the Cat cartoon, even though they didn't call the cat that. Some of the creatures they encountered on the moon looked a great deal like some of the things they'd had in outer space in some of the old Felix the Cat cartoons.

"Waffles" was teamed with a little dog in a series of cartoons that led to the later "Tom and Jerry" series at Van Beuren.

Some people thought the Van Beuren Felix wasn't quite the same as the original, but this is a pretty good poster, and I thought the cartoons were OK.

Warner Brothers

Beans the Cat
A black cat in white overalls
Beans as seen in Hollywood Capers
Beans the Cat was the third Looney Tunes cartoon character star after Bosko and Buddy. Created by Leon Schlesinger, Beans is most likely modelled after Waffles, a feline from the Van Beuren Studio, as both characters are black-furred cats in overalls.
He made his first appearance in the Merrie Melodies cartoon I Haven't Got a Hat (1935), along with Porky Pig who would have a much longer run in the series. He then made a cameo in The Country Mouse, another Merrie Melodies short release that same year.
Before having a role in another cartoon, Beans was already seen in the "That's all folks!" closings in the last three Buddy shorts. Finally, six months following his debut film, Beans starred in A Cartoonist's Nightmare which would be his first solo cartoon, followed by Hollywood Capers. Beans then began appearing with characters from the cast of I Haven't Got a Hat.
Featured on screen in only a couple of years, Beans appeared in just 9 shorts. His swan song was Westward Whoa in 1936. Before being retired completely, he made a brief appearance in Plane Dippy.
Beans was voiced at first by Billy Bletcher and sometimes Tommy Bond, and later by Will Ryan.


Although Krazy Kat came from a preexsisting comic strip, the animated cartoon version increasingly came to resemble Felix the Cat.

Animated adaptations
Krazy Kat Bugolist 1916 silent.ogv
The title card of this 1916 silent short read "Krazy Kat - Bugologist. A Cartoon By George Herriman. Animated by Frank Moser." Length 3m24s, 416kbit/s

A scene from the 1930 Charles Mintz Krazy Kat cartoon, Lambs Will Gambol.
The comic strip was animated several times (see filmography below). The earliest Krazy Kat shorts were produced by Hearst in 1916. They were produced under Hearst-Vitagraph News Pictorial and later the International Film Service (IFS), though Herriman was not involved. In 1920, after a two-year hiatus, the John R. Bray studio began producing a second series of Krazy Kat shorts.[24] These cartoons hewed close to the comic strips, including Ignatz, Pupp and other standard supporting characters. Krazy's ambiguous gender and feelings for Ignatz were usually preserved; bricks were occasionally thrown.
In 1925, animation pioneer Bill Nolan decided to bring Krazy to the screen again. Nolan intended to produce the series under Associated Animators, but when it dissolved, he sought distribution from Margaret J. Winkler. Unlike earlier adaptations, Nolan did not base his shorts on the characters and setting of the Herriman comic strip. Instead, the feline in Nolan's cartoons was a male cat whose design and personality both reflected Felix the Cat. This is probably due to the fact that Nolan himself was a former employee of the Pat Sullivan studio.[25] Other Herriman characters appeared in the Nolan cartoons at first, though similarly altered: Kwakk Wakk was at times Krazy's paramour,[26] with Ignatz often the bully trying to break up the romance.[27] Over time, Nolan's influence waned and new directors, Ben Harrison and Manny Gould, took over the series. By late 1927, they were solely in charge. One of their early innovations was to turn Ignatz from a white mouse into a black mouse.[28]
Winkler's husband, Charles B. Mintz, slowly began assuming control of the operation. Mintz and his studio began producing the cartoons in sound beginning with 1929's Ratskin. In 1930, he moved the staff to California and ultimately changed the design of Krazy Kat. The new character bore even less resemblance to the one in the newspapers. Mintz's Krazy Kat was, like many other early 1930s cartoon characters, imitative of Mickey Mouse, and usually engaged in slapstick comic adventures with his look-alike girlfriend and loyal pet dog.[29] In 1936, animator Isadore Klein, with the blessing of Mintz, set to work creating the short, Lil' Ainjil, the only Mintz work that was intended to reflect Herriman's comic strip. However, Klein was "terribly disappointed" with the resulting cartoon, and the Mickey-derivative Krazy returned.[30] In 1939, Mintz became indebted to his distributor, Columbia Pictures, and subsequently sold his studio to them.[31] Under the name Screen Gems, the studio produced only one more Krazy Kat cartoon, The Mouse Exterminator in 1940.[32]
King Features produced 50 Krazy Kat cartoons from 1962–1964, most of which were created at Gene Deitch's Rembrandt Films in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), whilst the rest were produced by Artransa Film Studios in Sydney, Australia. The cartoons were initially televised interspersed with Beetle Bailey (some of which were also produced by Artransa) and Snuffy Smith cartoons to form a half-hour TV show. These cartoons helped to introduce Herriman's cat to the baby boom generation. The King Features shorts were made for television and have a closer connection to the comic strip; the backgrounds are drawn in a similar style, and Ignatz and Offissa Pupp are both present. This incarnation of Krazy was made female; Penny Phillips voiced Krazy while Paul Frees voiced Ignatz and Offissa Pupp. Jay Livingston and Ray Evans did the music for most of the episodes.[24] Most of the episodes are available on DVD.

RATSKIN, 1929. Krazy Kat had changed quite a bit in appearence, but hadn't yet gotten to be quite so much like Felix the Cat.

Krazy Kat would come to resemble Mickey Mouse as well as Krazy Kat

And like both had a lookalike girlfriend.

Posters such as these were displayed at theaters that showed the cartoons.

"Ain'tcha never seen a leg before?"

Columbia leads the way in this advertisement as they were the distributor of the cartoons. Mickey Mouse can be seen in the procession as well as Krazy Kat, because at that time Columbia was releasing Disney's cartoons.

ALICE'S ORPHAN ( Disney ):

CANDY TOWN ( Van Buren ):

HOLLYWOOD CAPERS ( Warner Brothers ):

SEEING STARS ( Columbia )

"Alice" Comedies At Toonpedia:

The Alice Story:

Lost Laugh-O_Grams Found

Krazy Kat:

Krazy Kat Komiks:

Van Bueren Cartoon Site:

Warner Brothers Cartoons: