More Felix Sing-a-long!

Pam’s Pictorama Post: Happily somehow things always return to Felix here at Pictorama. I like to think that indefinitely, every so often, I will stumble across yet another unexpected example of the British fascination with Felix which extended to ditties like this one – Felix gracing the cover and doing the big sell. (However, as noted in my post Musical Meow! which features French sheet music, currently adorning the walls of my office, illustrates that the Brits were not alone in this mania abroad.) I have a few other sheet music posts that include Felix illustrated tunes, Felix – Here He Is Again , Musical Meow! and Musical Interlude and they are, if you pardon the pun, like cat nip to me. On this one he is doing my favorite Felix trick where his tail flies off on its own, in this case to form a ? – a hotsy-totsy Felix best!

In researching the note at the bottom, Dedicated to FELIX THE FILM CAT/Appearing exclusively in Pathe’s ‘Eve & Everybody’s Film Review’ I hit pay dirt on Felix lore. In the interesting short article that can be found in its entirety at British Universities Film and Video Council site about Eve & Everybody’s Review I found out Felix details that tied together things in a way I didn’t know. Pic and Eve (as it became known) was a series founded in 1921 and running until ’33 aimed at women – hobbies, unusual careers, fashion, etc. under the slogan fashion, fun and fancy. It mostly drew on stock footage for its shorts, but also featured shorts of cartoons. This is the series that was used to launch the Felix cartoons in Great Britain to great acclaim, and became the machine that helped churn out much of the British Felix merchandise treasured by the likes of me close to a hundred years later- sheet music, pins, and china figurines. (Krazy Kat had his turn as well, but does not appear to capture the imagination of the Brits the way Felix did.) It was the distributor of Felix cartoons until 1926 when the Ideal company began to distribute them in their entirety as free-standing entities.

This sheet music appeared on my computer screen during an early morning, pre-work, search on eBay. It was for immediate purchase and it was mine before my morning coffee had even had a chance to kick in. Mornings here at the combined Pictorama and Deitch Studio environs goes something like this – at about 4:30 Blackie begins to stir (some of us believe that it is at Cookie’s insistence, but since I try to sleep through this I cannot verify it) and we attempt to hold him at bay until at least 5:00. Kim gets up; I roll over for anywhere from another 15 to 45 minutes of sleep. Tummies full, the cats are already working on their daytime napping by the time I pour myself some cold coffee from the fridge and sit down with it, a green smoothie (made the day before) and some fresh berries in front of the computer. Kim is already hard at work as I read the paper online (interesting bits aloud), check the limited social media that interests me (laugh at funny animal videos and photos mostly) and give a fast check to the most interesting searches I follow on eBay. On a lucky day last week this was the first thing I saw and bang! It was mine.

Enough about me however. This is a splendid piece of sheet music I have never seen previously. There is no date associated with it. It was previously owned by the H. Austin Storry, Ltd. Pinaoforte & … Warehouse, 14 & 16 Palmerston, Southsea…as per the stamp at the bottom right and from what I can make out of it. Hard to beat the name of this tune, Who threw the water on the Tom Cat’s back?  The author is A. Emmett Adams, is best known for The Bells of St. Mary’s, a hit of 1917. Without knowing for sure, we’ll assume that this Felix ditty is a jauntier song. I could not find a transcription of this being played, but surely anything that advertises itself as Me-ow! Splash! A Melody with a ‘Smack’ must be sort of jolly. The lyrics, in part, go like this:

Felix loved a Tabby Cat
How she used to purr!
All the cats for miles around were sure he’d marry her!
One night he proposed and just as Tabby answered Yes!
Someone dampened their spirits in a rude way more or less;

Chorus:
Who threw the water on the Tom Cat’s back when he spoke to his lady friend?
Who broke the water jug at two o’clock,
Followed at three by the kitchen clock?
Bang! went a pair of boots, crash went a  piece of soap
Right on his best girl’s head.
So she bolted down the mews,
Leaving Felix musing there are other cats instead.
The final verse:
As I try to sleep at night,
When the world is still
Cats sing oratorious beneath my window sill!
Do I get up? I should worry

I just lie in bed!
Somone’s gone mad round the corner 
So I think instead…
Chorus

All this and they threw in two fox trots at the back, When you and I were dancing and Love in the Summertime. Quite a bargain I say and while I paid quite a bit more than 2 pence, I am very happy with my buy as well.

 

Felix – Here He Is Again

Pam’s Pictorama Post: I had completely forgotten that I owned this when it found its way to the top of the pile earlier today. Evidently the successor to Felix Kept on Walking (1923) in Great Britain, and cooked up by Ed. E. Bryant and Hubert W. David in 1924 to capitalize on the success of the previous year. The full title, the grammatically curious, Here He is Again Being More Adventures of Felix. He seems to be popping out of a stage door with a rather apologetic look on his face. I gather that these songs were never used in the cartoons, but creating dance songs was a way of opening promotion on a separate front. As I mentioned recently in Musical Meow we know that a few years later in 1928 Felix was making big bucks with Fred Waring introducing a Felix the Cat Fox Trot in France.

The Felix Kept on Walking sheet music entered my collection very early on after a trip to London years ago, and I had it in my early post, Me-ow Kitty Sing A-Long. Kim is not a fan of the art of either of these pieces of sheet music, but I like having them around. (In my possession is a third which he likes more – future post.)  While I cannot offer you the tune of Here He Is Again I have two jolly Youtube versions of Felix Kept on Walking. (Full disclosure – there are several more on Youtube if you love it!) This was such a hit that the title spawned other products and further promotion, and ultimately it became something of a catch phrase. Shown here is the single Felix Keep on Walking plate from my collection. Yes, full services do exist and one of my fantasies is to replace all of our dishes with period Felix plates, bowls and mugs!

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Musical Meow!

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Pam’s Pictorama Post: Welcome to my second installment of cat related sheet music.  As some of you know, early on I shared some of my sheet music collection in Meow Kitty Sing-a-Long, but I uncovered some great pieces when searching for the art to our wedding invitation recently. The Black Cat Dance is just a great image and sort of fun. I am afraid that the names of that and Au Chat! are not distinctive enough to find them on the internet – or much information about them.

I am fortunate to own two copies of the Me-ow music, one is on the wall. The second, the one pictured here, may have been a gift – or I found it some place and it was too inexpensive to resist. Always good to have a spare. It is the only one I was able to find a link to on Youtube and I have included it below.

I had hoped I would find a way to play the Felix the Cat fox trot by Sam Fox; sadly to date I cannot.  However, I did find an interesting 1928 snippet from the Music Trade Review on the International Arcade Museum website. This brief article says that Fred Waring introduced the song in Paris and that he cabled Sam Fox that he believed it would be a hit for him. It also refers to the speed with which Europe gets American dance numbers today, scarcely a month after their initial release. Felix was excellent at selling sheet music and therefore some wonderful images have proliferated on especially British sheet music. I have at least one more example I plan to share in a future cat music post.

Hope this put some spring in your step!

Here is the link to the pdf article from the Music Trade Journal should you be curious: mtr.arcade-museum.com/MTR-1928-86-22/MTR-1928-86-22-18.pdf

 

 

Me-ow! Kitty Sing-a-long

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Pam’s Pictorama Cat Sheet Music Post:  When I first branched out of collecting beyond toys, cat sheet music was one of the first things I started to acquire.  Shown above is a sampling from my collection.  I especially liked that the Leo Feist company liked the cat art work so much, or was so cheap, that he used it in ’24 and again in ’29.  The Cat on Hot Bricks has not made it up onto the wall which is a pity – however The Black Cat Rag, which I adore and came to me via Chris Ware years ago is up, as is the Cat’s Whiskers and the Felix sheet music.  Kim is not a fan of the Felix image – says it is lousy art and he’s right. Nonetheless, it was the first Felix music I ever saw and purchased so I have a soft spot for it.  Felix sheet music really could (and will) be its own post, but I offer this as a placeholder for now.

My collecting in this area has slowed – we don’t have the room to hang all of it – but occasionally I find something I must have and tuck it away for future display.  Part of the point of this blog is to help me sort through some of my collection and have a look at everything I have so I hope you enjoy the trip!

Along those lines, a special thanks and a tip of the hat to those of you who have withstood and/or helped me through the early technical challenges of set-up.  (Seth and Eileen – this means you!)  The Contact page now seems to function and I hope to have lots of comments in the future. Hopefully we have all pistons more or less firing.