Friday, 27 July 2012

Felix and the Snakecycle

The silent Felix the Cat cartoons always have at least one imaginative transformation and though the story may not be clear, Felix’s emotions always are.

“Outdoor Indore” (1928) has some nice cycle animation of a tiger and an elephant, a bizarre gag when the elephant sucks up the entire Atlantic Ocean, and a laughing ending I still can’t figure out. But probably my favourite scene is the snakecycle.

Felix is in Africa where, eventually, he finds an elephant to bring back to the United States (whether that was his intention at the outset of the cartoon, I don’t know). His feet become sore and he needs some transportation. The scene cuts to a charmer with a recorder making a snake dance. That gives Felix an idea.

This may be the first time an idea teapot has poured water on a cartoon character’s head.

Anyway, Felix detaches his tail to use as a flute. Sure enough, two snakes come out of the ground and start dancing.

Now the weird stuff. The snakes jump past each other. One snake eats the other, then bites on its own tail, forming a circle.

The head then snakes around (pardon the pun) to form a second little circle. Ta da! Felix has a Pennyfarthing bicycle).

The movie ad above is from 1929; The Film Daily says the cartoon was “Indore” not “Indoor.” The significance of the spelling is lost on me.


  1. That first image of Felix reminds me of a poster at an elementary school I went to recently that proclaims "We're a bucket filling school -- no dipping!"

  2. Excellent post! Love those 1920's cartoons by the great Otto Messmer, as well as the Fleischer Studio's Inkwell Imps series.

  3. Oops, how'd I miss this? It's "Indore" as in India—that country where there are lots of elephants, you know.
    This cartoon actually makes sense as a silent with intertitles, as I've seen it at Tom Stathes' place. Felix wants to get a job watering the elephants at the circus (thus the hose); the ringmaster tells him they have no elephants right now, but will pay him well if he'll get them one. Thus Felix's trip there: eventually he encounters an elephant, offers him a circus job (better than what he's got at the moment), and Bob's your uncle.