Who Me? Felix?

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Hard to say what Felix is thinking – him pointing at his head and the ? above it – it is a bit of a mystery. This is a toothy Felix – just the kind I like best! – and the jolly little hairs flying off his head are very entertaining too. Someone did a good job painting this Felix. The man and woman who have stuck their heads through here seem to be especially well suited for this shot. It reminds me a little of the photo in my post, On a Slow Train Thru’ Arkansas – another cheap and fun carnival photo opportunity. I guess Felix could always be added as an inexpensive but jolly photo novelty prop.

This card is unused so there is no sense of date or location. I do not know if it is American or not – but I suspect it is – it feels American. The very square and toothy Felix seems early. The woman’s hat seems to be from the thirties and the photo process doesn’t seem as early as the twenties, but hard to say for sure.

Given an option to go back in time, I might prefer to have my photo taken sitting on the moon, something I have always longed to do. However, I would nonetheless leap at the opportunity to have our photos, Kim and mine, taken with Felix this way. I mean really, who wouldn’t?

Felix in the Tea Leaves

Pam’s Pictorama: Ah, yes, Felix in my future indeed! This image falls into the just barely Felix mode. Still, if Felix is going to arrange himself in the remains of your tea cup, what can you expect?

While black cats get a bad rap in this country, in other countries and cultures I am pleased to say the little guys enjoy a reputation for good luck. I picked this English ditty up online:

Black cat, cross my path
Good fortune bring to home and hearth
When I am away from home
Bring me luck wherever I roam

– Old English Charm
Evidently the Japanese have a soft spot for them too. I guess in this way the world will remain populated with the precious black kits like my very own Blackie – named for obvious reasons. Blackie has hedged his bets with a small but clear white star on his chest, just to relieve the anxiety of the superstitious. Obviously, I consider him very good luck indeed.
Blackie Eats the Orchid

Blackie Eats the Orchid

On Parade


Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: This is an odd one. It was identified as Tunisian when sold on eBay, but there isn’t much explanation. The back reads: Bon Boisers Maria/Bon courage and is addressed as far as I can read it as: M’othel Image, Hospital ausciliaire, PO 16 Lens Yonne. Roughly translated the message seems to be something along the lines of Good kisses and good courage Maria which we assume she needs since she is in a hospital. Yonne appears to be south of Versaille although I have no point of reference to know more or less how far.

What a wonderful and whacky parade though! I had a perfectly excellent childhood, but my parents (sensible people who hated crowds) were not in favor of parades, which left me with a nagging hankering for them. My father, a cameraman for ABC news for years, frequently filmed the night-before balloon blow-up for NY’s Thanksgiving Day parade – and sometimes the actual parade! However he could not be cajoled into taking us kids, ever. As a result I visited the balloons pre-Thanksgiving for many years as an adult living in Manhattan. Never the parade however. In the end I inherited my parent’s dislike of crowds. But, for floats like this, I think I would happily make an exception.

Another Jaunty Felix at the Beach

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post:  This was the second of two recent purchases. It took a long time to get to me, but it was well worth the wait. Felix strikes an especially good pose. It is as if he is saying, “Come on Jack, let’s blow out of here and find some real fun!” The man seems to be fully at ease – this despite the fact that he is wearing a suit at the beach. Looking further into the background we have lots of women in long cotton dresses and hats – it was a beach with a dress code I guess. A lovely looking beach resort, somewhere in Britain, roaring away in 1920’s full cry. Felix seems to have interrupted this man’s newspaper reading, but no mind – perhaps they are discussing the day’s racing results together.

This postcard is unused, undated and with no indication of location. I have found that these Felix photo postcards are rarely postally used, written on or dated. Clearly you had one taken and kept it for your own enjoyment. I saw my first version of these postcards in a book (the definitive book really) about Felix call Felix: The Twisted Tale of the World’s Most Famous Cat, by John Canemaker. That one, and the ones I was to subsequently find and purchase initially, were people posing with more or less human sized Felix-es. Some even made me wonder if there was a small person inside a Felix costume. In recent years I have found more photos of the sort shown here – larger than a large toy, but definitely not a midget in a Felix suit. Easier for an itinerant photographer to wander the beach with his tripod and camera equipment hawking a photo with Felix I suppose. You had to be set up in a stationary place to set up with the really big fellow.

Unsurprisingly, I have long searched for one of these giant Felix doll props. I came close years ago when someone I was conversing with on eBay said he had one in a storage locker – and then he disappeared! Oh the frustration! You know though that I plan to hunt one down one of these days – and if you stick around you’ll all know about it.

From Your Loving Sister

Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: At first glance this photograph was all about the foliage for me. I have a real thing for masses of climbing leafy and flowering foliage in high definition like this photo has. A 19th century garden of Eden. Then I focused on the three woman who are so clearly related – especially the one in the middle and the one on the right. Those two (and the cat) staring right at the camera. A formidable group! It is from Britain and is clearly very early. I have yet to identify the exact photo process, but like some others I have mentioned previously, it has a hard shine on it and a slight moire effect when photographed. (It drove poor Kim crazy getting it right when scanning.) I don’t know if this is a form of deterioration or just the nature of it. The definition of the print shows the large negative off to a real advantage.

This card was not mailed. However, written on the back in black pen is, To My New Brother From your loving sisters Elsie. And below that in pencil Family from Sutton Coldfield. Our friend at Google maps tells me that is the Midlands in the UK. As I mentioned, no doubt that these women are related. So interesting how some families, or even just a few people within a family can end up looking so much alike – others, not so much. At one time my brother and I (sporting similar haircuts) looked so much alike that someone I worked with walked up to him at a club in Manhattan and said, “You must be Pam Butler’s brother.”
Of course this card found its way to me because of that great cat. Very much a voting member of that family he has a place of pride, dead center in the photo and he looks right at New Brother – you can almost see him thinking, Yeah, Buddy, me too. Wanna make something of it?

Spooning with Felix

Pam’s Pictorama: I have been giving these Felix spoons the sideways look on eBay for years now. Suddenly there was this one and no one was bidding on it and the next thing I know…I  own it! I am surprised to find that there is very little information available about the maker, or anything much at all about it at all. It is marked nickel silver, but no maker that I can see, and the smiling, dashing Felix is silver and black enamel. Someone selling one on a website claims that these spoons were made by Charles Horner of Halifax who was an Art Deco designer of jewelry. At first glance Mr. Horner seems a bit higher end than our friend Felix appears. Still, he seems to have produced a broad line of products so perhaps it is possible. It is a nicely made spoon. Like I said in my post, Living the Felix Life, when my ship comes in I plan to use Felix china for our everyday dishes and now I will make sure all the spoons are Felix as well!

When I informed Kim I had purchased the Felix spoon and showed it to him, he told me of his memory of owning an Ollie spoon as a child – part of a Kukla Fran and Ollie set of ice cream spoons with distinctly designed squared off shovel-like bowls at the end. Of course I immediately went to eBay and found a Kukla spoon – no Ollie spoon, except for one that had been made into a ring. It did make an attractive, if somewhat bizarre, ring and I briefly considered buying it – but really, where could I wear it?

Spoons are a surprisingly affordable collectible. The excellent design on some was a bit of a revelation – I saw a rather remarkably well designed W.C. Fields spoon for example – and the actual existence of others being the revelation, such as the Charlie McCarthy spoon or the Dionne quintuplets.  I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if there are some future spoon entries heading your way, dear reader, a future edition of Blame It on the Blog.

West Coast Kitties

Pam’s Pictorama: Bonus post. Some of you may know that I am currently on the west coast traveling for business. Frankly, it hasn’t been an especially good trip so far, however I stumbled into a store yesterday and picked up this cheerful cache of cat gems which have helped rally me. The store is called Favor, on Sutter about a block from the Hotel Rex where I am staying. Cat folks take note.

Dinner with friends tonight – next leg Santa Barbara tomorrow!