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Today cartoon personalities are very popular. Not just traditional favorites like the Simpsons and Bugs Bunny but new personalities such as the Minions, Phineas and Ferb and Olaf the Snowman are so well known that it’s hard not to think of them as real characters. This Felix the Cat toy is very special because it all started with him. No, Mickey Mouse is not the first animation star. Felix beats Mickey by a full 9 years!
Felix the Cat was created by Pat Sullivan and debuted in 1919. There were earlier cartoons but Felix was the first recognizable star with a personality. His silent antics were often reminiscent of another star of the time, Charlie Chaplin. Felix’s popularity has waned over the years, but saw distinct revivals in the 1950’s and again in the 1990’s.
The only other childhood character that even comes close to Felix in age is Rupert the bear, a perennial British favourite. He was created in 1920, but didn’t achieve animation fame until the 1990s (thanks to Canada’s Nelvana Animation). Winnie the Pooh trailed Rupert by 6 years.
This beautifully made toy is all wood construction with leather ears. Its pieces are held together by an elastic cloth chord. It was made by the Schoenhut Company in the United States. This firm made many high quality toys and dolls that are still eagerly sought after by collectors today. They made Felix in many different sizes. The last copyright date on this toy is 1925. Throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s Schoenhut made similar toys in Disney Characters.
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