Stuck on Felix

 

Pam’s Pictorama Post: My guess is that many of us have had the odd sticker, card or bit of stationary which has somehow and for a truly unknown reason survived, unused, year in and out until a decade or more has passed and somehow, despite relocation of home and hearth, and perhaps amongst the loss and damage of more meaningful things, certain items seem to persist unscathed. It is some strange law of averages it seems. However, most of these such items cannot, yet anyway, lay claim to being almost 100 years old like I suspect these Felix the cat stickers of being. While many (most) of the items I collect share a similar history, few are as ephemeral.

This pair of tiny stickers (just a few inches each) traveled to me from Australia, found on ebay earlier this year. In design, they are very similar to a series of series of British chocolate cards, although sketchier. I wrote about my small accumulation of those in my post, Chocolate Felix (It can be found here. I also have a some chocolate cards featuring Felix from Spain and a post about those can be seen here.)

 

It isn’t the same hand making the art, but a reasonably close fellow traveler in Felix forging I would say. Felix is with his girlfriend, Kitty, here or as I tend to think of her, the White Cat. I have never warmed to Kitty. It isn’t unprecedented that they are a carton or comics couple which appear to be different species of cartoon cat-to-cat with strange proportional difference, but it annoys my aesthetic sensibility. Create a world image and stick with it dammit, I say!

Wikipedia says that Kitty’s first appearance is in 1919’s Feline Follies and she is prominent on the Felix tea set of the day as well. I own one plate, shown below, but the same image appears on all. I wrote about it in a very early post back in 2015 which can be found here.

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Felix Keep on Walking plate, Pams-Pictorama.com

 

This illustrates that it isn’t just Kitty – the dog is also rendered realistically. It appears that Felix exists as an outlier even in his own world, the odd cartoon mouse notwithstanding.

For those of you who don’t have a mirror handy, shows Kitty, the siren kitty waving and her come hither remark is, You needn’t be shy with me Felix. The second one offers him very good advice, If you can’t be good Felix – be careful! Indeed!

Felix in Translation

Pam’s Pictorama Post: This was such an odd card I decided I had to purchase it. At the top – I hope you’ll keep on loving – it’s good for me!” is the strange declaration, and then the next line translates as Not for you, for my little cat Felix. One can’t help, but wonder if the translation to English was terribly inadequate and they were aiming for a slightly different sentiment? This little girl appears to be holding a bizarre tiny Felix and is placing a bowl of milk down for this other, larger Felix. In addition, she’s in this sort of frame like she is bursting out of something. The little Felix appears to have a very long (un-Felix-like) tail as well, that hangs below her arm. (If I’m being picky, I might also point out that the little girl is actually a bit longer in the body than she should be, about a third longer really.) Both Felix-es are smiling and evidently appear happy about what is transpiring – whatever that is. Honestly, it is like something out of a Kim Deitch story! (Hmm, size shifting cartoon cats mixing with humans – I think we were actually discussing that yesterday morning in bed.)

Personally, I don’t really think about Felix as a milk drinking cat – although perhaps there’s a cartoon or two where he reaches for a bottle of the white stuff. In those early days you were more likely to expect him to be guzzling a bottle of hooch than milk though. Early in my Felix toy collecting career, I thought France and Germany would be the hotbeds of early Felix activity, but England easily tops all, with the US in second – odd but true. France and Germany are way behind. One finds the occasional French item, German even more rare and really it is only Schuco that comes to mind. (Steiff of course being a German American company.)

I do not believe I own a single French Felix item, and if they felt the need to pose with a large, stuffed character from the comics, I have not seen one to date, nor know what character they prefer. A great auction loss I have never gotten over was an Australian photo of people posing with a life size Spark Plug from Barney Goggle. I have never seen on before or since. (My photos of people posing with giant Felix dolls seem to have only come from Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Even the Americans did not seem to embrace that practice. For new readers these photo posts abound in the Pams-Pictorama.com archive.)

The card was never mailed, although someone has written across the back, shown below. Between it being French, the hand writing, and the amount of it I have not attempted to Google translate it – but for anyone who can execute a quick translation I would love to know the general idea. For now I offer this odd little image for your consideration – and I hope you’ll keep on loving – it’s good for me!

French felix back

 

Having a Rocky Time

Pam’s Pictorama Post: Stick of rock, Blackpool rock or Brighton rock – the British love their rock candy and since they loved Felix in the 1920’s it was natural that these would go together. Given the survival rate of these cards from various seaside resorts across Great Britain I would say it was a popular marketing concept at the time. I have been eyeing variations of this card for quite awhile when I took matters in hand recently and purchased this version, complete with this nicely pointy Felix, sporting his toothy grin, and which I would hazard a guess was not produced with the knowledge of nor with access to the talent of the Pat Sullivan Studio. To drive the rock candy and beach resort points home, Felix is stepping on these water colored rocks along this beach-y shore. I love the proportion of the roll of rock candy to Felix, slung cavalierly over his shoulder like a workman with a 2×4. There is something compactly compelling about his four point design.

The card was produced (exclusively) Celesque Published by The Photochrom London, Tunbridge Wells. It was sent by Doris on the evening of August 17, 1926 from a place called Redcar, a seaside resort in North Yorkshire, England. Doris writes, complete with swirling curls and luxuriously crossed “t’s” – Having a jolly time at Redcar. Will write later from Easton. Nellie Spot & I are going for a stroll along the beach. About E & CS are…the last bit is illegible and squeezed into the bottom. It is signed (Doris) – I do not know what the parens are for. It is addressed to Miss Mary Dixon, School House, Fontburn, Ewesley, Maspeth Northumberland.

Evidently the hard rock candy in questions is made from boiled sugar in mint flavors (I was disappointed – I thought it might come in fruit flavors or perhaps even be peppery) typically has a pattern inside like the swirl shown here. My teeth hurt just thinking about it, and I immediately see a vision of my dentist sharpening the tools of his trade when I contemplate consuming it. Meanwhile, the talented candy folks have even perfected the art of writing on the inside and I offer the illustration from the Wikipedia site below. The candy is still made in numerous forms today, and for the truly curious, there are opportunities to see the process on Youtube. I skipped those videos, I admit, although I duly note that evidently the pieces of candy can be as much as six feet long before cutting and Felix would appear to be carrying a chunk about three or four feet long here for his part. All in a day’s work for Felix.

Wikimediarock.jpg