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(Collector’s Edition)

I remember watching episodes of the FELIX THE CAT ($20) television series when I was a wee little tyke. While my memories of the individual storylines faded over the years, I did remember the basic premise of the show, as well as the lyrics and melody of the theme song, which has never left my head. The character of Felix The Cat was created by Otto Messmer and he was the probably the biggest animated star of the silent era. Over time, Felix faded into the background when talking animated stars like Mickey Mouse, Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny came into the spotlight. However, like any good cat, Felix proved that he had nine lives by reappearing in the 1959-1959 television series produced by Joseph Oriolo. Spanning 264 episodes, the syndicated FELIX THE CAT television show remained a fixture on television for decades.

Continuing on into the 21st Century, 10 selected episodes from the FELIX THE CAT TV series have been released on DVD by Sony Wonder. In the series the mischievous Felix usually finds himself in some kind of dilemma, usually at the hands of his arch nemesis- The Professor, who wants to steal Felix’s magical bag of tricks. As one might imagine, The Professor proved to be no match for the magical bag of tricks, and in later adventures, he mellowed towards Felix, allowing the cat to become babysitter and friend to his nerdy nephew Poindexter. In other adventures Felix has his problems with the criminal Rock Bottom and Master Cylinder- The King Of The Moon. All of the episodes are charming, amusing and perfectly suited to a younger audience, as well as those who remember FELIX THE CAT from their own childhoods and are feeling a bit nostalgic.

Sony Wonder has made the FELIX THE CAT episodes available on DVD in the original full screen aspect ratio of its television broadcasts. Considering the age of the programs, the transfers are incredibly nice. The image is very clean and mostly free from age related anomalies and excessive debris. An occasional speckle and a bit of film grain are probably the biggest flaws in the presentation. Considering that this is vintage animation for television, the picture is a bit softer than what one would find in theatrical cartoons of the same period. Colors generally have a dusty pastel quality, but otherwise look rather good. Blacks are accurately rendered and contrast is just fine. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is crisp and free from noise or distortion. Dialogue is always completely intelligible. The fidelity is rather limited, with music and sound effects sometimes sounding a bit harsh.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the individual episodes, as well as some supplements. The 1920 short film FELINE FOLLIES, which was Felix’s unofficial film debut, is included on the DVD. A Felix the Cat Through the Ages interview with author John Canemaker offers a concise history of the character and his creators through various incarnations. Original Felix the Cat Promo Reel offers clips used to promote the TV show in various languages. Felix the Cat Sing-A-Long provides the kiddies a chance to follow a bouncing ball and sing the show’s theme song. A trivia game and DVD-ROM features have also been included on the DVD.

The FELIX THE CAT animated series holds a special place in my childhood memories, because it is one of the first TV shows I remember watching. The DVD will bring back a lot of memories in someone of my generation, and I’m sure that FELIX THE CAT is a show that fans will want to share with their kids.


Felix The Cat (Collector's Edition)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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