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    Renegades of Animation: Pat Sullivan

    Pat Sullivan became famous worldwide for his creation of Felix the Cat. What most animation histories gloss over is Sullivan’s checkered past and longtime standing as a wildcat renegade. He didn’t follow the rules. And he made damn sure to fully protect his intellectual properties.

"A Cat and a Kit" & "The Last Life"

Discussion in 'Silent Animation' started by EyeOdyssey97, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. EyeOdyssey97

    EyeOdyssey97 Newbie New Member

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    I recently began to research the old Felix the Cat shorts from the 1920's, studying the art style and how the frames are laid out. And I discovered on Wikipedia a list of the silent shorts in which Felix made appearances. A couple of shorts I wasn't aware of before really stood out, one being "A Cat and a Kit", which has the earliest animated product placement I am aware of (1925). The said product is for General Electric's Mazda Lamps. Let's just say, they weren't aiming toward subtlety.

    "This looks like a place to buy good lamps."

    That's what Felix said after looking at the said "good lamps", then the camera makes a closeup to them with the brand name in bold lettering. Very subtle guys.

    "Now that you've got good lamps"

    Wow, are these guys even trying?

    That aside, the short had some good visual gags. One of my favorites is a scene in which Felix uses the moon as a headlight. The main plot of the short involves Felix trying to reach his wedding. The intro surprised me though. We first see Felix talking on the phone with his soon to be wife, but his main body is completely white. I first assumed this to be his wedding suit, it being white since a black suit would blend in to him. But then he pulls his fur out a drawer and puts it on. In that case, is his wife (who is seen as white) furless, like a Sphynx cat? That was the point when I realized that I was over analyzing a cartoon about a cat who uses his tail to shape shift into miscellaneous objects.

    I eventually made it to the Educational Pictures shorts. A large chunk of them were lost. While looking, one other short caught my eye, The Last Life. Oddly enough, that was the last short of the Educational Pictures run. This can't be coincidental. I assume it was a big fourth wall gag, like the ending of Blazing Saddles. But who could really tell, it was lost. The IMDB article on it provides no facts beside the stuff we already know. It was made in 1928, it was directed by Otto Messmer, and it was a short. Are there any articles out there that have any details on this short?
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  2. peterhale

    peterhale Moderator Staff Member I SUPPORT BCDB!

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    David Gerstein's "Classic Felix Encyclopedia" gives this synopsis for The Last Life:
    I always loved the Messmer Felix - I remember seeing some 16mm films when I was a child. One gag particularly delighted me: standing on the telegraph wires outside Kitty's window, Felix plucks a spire and a dome from the skyline background in order to present her with an ice cream cone.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013

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