I never thought I’d say this, but Classic Media’s new DVD collection Felix the Cat: The Complete 1958-1959 Series is better than it has any right to be. In fact it’s probably the best DVD Classic Media has released (unfortunetly, that’s not saying much).
It collects the first 31 (of 260) made for TV Felix cartoons made by Joe Oriolo in 1958-59. Jack Mercer (voice of Popeye) provides the voices (all of them) and the limited animation is provided by Fleischer/Famous and Terrytoon veterans including Al Eugster, Tom Johnson, Steve Muffatti and especially Jim Tyer (I spotted at least five Tyer tour-de-forces, The Gold Fruit Tree, Felix’s Gold Mine, Do-It-Yourself Monster Kit, Felix The Cat Suit and The Gold Car and The County Fair). The Tyer cartoons are particularly fun – lots of crazy poses and extreme reactions, as expected.
It’s really worth it for the Tyer shorts alone – but there are several nice bonus features included: Felix’s debut short from 1919, Feline Follies, a promo reel of TV Felix commercial spots, the opening theme song in Spanish and Japanese, and an interview with John Canemaker providing a concise historial overview of the character’s history. The cartoons themselves have been restored from 35mm master elements and look and sound great. Even the package design is pleasing. I guess I like these cartoons for nostalgic reasons. I grew up watching them every day. They are a far cry from the Messmer classics, but a real guilty pleasure for many of us baby boomers. It goes on sale Oct. 2nd.