On this day 100 years ago, Felix the Cat first appeared in film, sporting his new name in The Adventures of Felix. The legendary cartoon character created in the silent film era by Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer in Australia was a whimsical black cat that walked on two legs and often had the moves and childlike nature of Charlie Chaplin (who was an inspiration for Sullivan).
The first cartoon superstar, Felix was the first cartoon character created specifically for animated film. He routinely paced back and forth deep in thought—his trademark move. His shape transformed over the decades into a less angular, more cute cat with longer legs.
Four years after Felix’s screen debut, the character made the jump to comic strips in 1923 (with the partners producing the strips through the mid-40s). Commercial success went far beyond screen and print, however, when—as early as the 20s—Felix the Cat became the first licensed and mass-merchandised character ever, with its likeness appearing on clocks, lighters, toys, postcards, and salt shakers. In 1927, the fabulous feline was the first giant balloon character to appear in the Macy’s Day Parade. WATCH a video on Felix through the century... (1919)