"There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this set, even before its appearance. Most of that centers around the claim on the cover to include "The Complete 1958- 1959 Full- Color Series". This set includes 31 episodes, a far cry from the 260 supposedly created. So what's going on? The Felix cartoons of this era are widely believed to run about four minutes each. The ones in this set run about seven minutes, almost twice as long. Possibly each episode was originally run in two parts. In that case, there would really have been 260 parts, making up 130 two- part episodes.
John Canemaker, in Felix: The Twisted Tale of the World's Most Famous Cat, writes that Joe Oriolo's original plan was to create 260 episodes that could run as four minute individual episodes or a continuing quarter hour, depending on the station format. Many cartoons of the time ran as "cliff-hangers", multi- part stories that dropped off at the end of the episode, including Ruff and Reddy, Crusader Rabbit, and Underdog. This was so that the clowns and spacemen who were the live hosts of kids' TV could sprinkle cartoon shorts throughout their shows, which ran from Fresno to Binghamton. Oriolo's revival cartoon arguably had little to do with the original Pat Sullivan/ Otto Mesmer film shorts, but it was Joe who gave Felix his magic bag along with the show's personnel, which included the Professor, Poindexter, Rock Bottom, and Master Cylinder. Oriolo tried to follow the Hanna- Barbera successes of limited animation, and deliberately aimed his show at kids, which may be why it has remained such a favorite.
This set is beautifully packaged, with a graphic of the iconic cat on the cover, and includes a list of episodes. The case opens like a book and contains two one- sided discs. The plastic around the discs isn't very strong, and my set arrived with the plastic broken, but the discs still played OK. Disc one opens with ads for Rocky and Bullwinkle DVD sets and the Veggie Tales movie, The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, and includes 16 Felix episodes running about seven minutes each, for a total disc running time of 120 minutes.
Disc two includes the remaining 15 episodes and three special features. These features are the same as on the Felix the Cat Collectors' Edition issued in 2001 through Sony Wonder. They include the first Felix cartoon, "Feline Follies" from 1919; an excellent interview with John Canemaker on the history of Felix called "Through the Ages"; and an archival promo reel for stations to use, including an ad in French and a black and white ad in Spanish (The Collector's Edition also included other features not on this set). The second disc running time is 112 minutes. The Collector's Edition included ten episodes on a single one- sided disc. On this set they are episodes number 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 21, 27, 29, and 30.
The episodes include;
Disc one: 1. The Magic Bag; 2. Into Outer Space; 3. Abominable Snowman; 4. Felix Out West; 5. Electronic Brainwasher; 6. Felix the Cat Suit; 7. Do- It- Yourself Monster Book; 8. Blubberino the Whale; 9. Ghostly Concert; 10. Captain No- Kiddin'; 11. Felix in Egypt; 12. Detective Thinking Hat; 13. Balloon Blower Machine; 14. Friday the 13th; 15. Stone Making Machine; 16. Penelope the Elephant.
Disc Two: 17. The Money Tree; 18. Oil and Indians Don't Mix; 19. The Glittering Jewels; 20. The Gold Car and County Fair; 21. Sheriff Felix VS. the Gas Cloud; 22. Felix's Gold Mine; 23. How to Steal a Gold Mine?; 24. Private Eye Felix and Pierre Mustache; 25. The Gold Fruit Tree; 26. The Flying Saucer; 27. Felix Baby- Sits; 28. Instant Money; 29. Master Cylinder- King of the Moon; 30. The Invisible Professor; 31. Venus and the Master Cylinder."
This set is correctly named.
toserveman | Cincinnati, OH USA | 10/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To my knowledge, this set is complete as advertised. I believe there were 31 episodes produced during the 1958-1959 time period. There were another 91 or so produced during 1960-1961, bringing the total to about 122. I don't know where the notion that Trans-Lux produced 260 some odd Felix cartoons during 1958-1959 came from. That would have been an incredible feat, even if each cartoon was only about 7 minutes in length. If someone has some evidence that there were indeed 260 shorts produced by Trans-Lux, I would sure like to see it.
The problem with this release is that there is no slipcover to hold the DVD package closed. At least mine didn't have one. So it can easily pop open. The cartoons look excellent and the menu is easy to navigate. If the packaging were better, I would have given it 5 stars. "
It's 130 episodes on a technicality -- and then, enjoy!
John McWhorter | New York, New York United States | 10/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's get this issue of "260 episodes" out of the way. Each "episode" of this show consisted of a first half with a cliffhanger pause and then a second half. The pause was there to allow a commercial, but the disc of course has no commercials, and so you get seven minute episodes with a minor "blip" in the middle. This DVD set is the first season of what was 130 episodes of the show, a number that tallies from lists in Lenburg's cartoon encyclopedia and elsewhere make clear.
And what a deliciously weird cartoon this was. The limited animation and UPA graphics become an aesthetic in themselves. Felix is, if we may overanalyze a bit, a fascinating abstraction, an oddly disconnected and almost pathologically happy being who serves only to frustrate "The Professor," who wants this magic bag Felix carries, although we are not told where Felix got the bag or what his purpose with the bag is except to be protected from anything the Professor pulls.
The voice work is also neat. Popeye's Jack Mercer does both Felix and The Professor (as well as later additions Poindexter and Rockbottom). You can hear echoes of Popeye now and then in the rendition of The Professor, and occasionally, Felix speaks without mouth movement a la the ad-libbing in the earliest Popeye cartoons, and The Professor garbles here and there in a way reminiscent of Popeye's "scatting."
At the end of each one, Felix squawks "Righty-oh!" and then does a trademark laugh that anyone who grew up watching TV in the sixties or seventies remembers fondly -- but which is oddly detached from what went on before. Felix is primally attached to seeing his assailant defanged to the point of this ritual celebration of such with us, every single time -- "Righty-o! AH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAH!!!" But "Righty-o" what? What was "Righty-o"? And why the laughter when often Felix had been close to death a minute before?
These cartoons are not only cheap, but vaguely surreal -- people partaking of mind-altering substances would thoroughly enjoy hitting "Play All" and watching endless ones in sequence. I, for one, have seen them more or less sober, but still urge folks to check out how the Felix we remember from our childhoods is actually a tad psychedelic. "Righty-o!!!""
Now That the Egg Is Off My Face
Some Other Guy | USA | 08/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am very pleased (that's right, pleased) to be proven wrong in my previous review. With the help of Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew, I was able to clarify some details about this set, that I was incorrect about.
Although as I claimed earlier there were indeed 260 cartoons produced, (a fact John Canemaker bears out in the interview included in this set) it appears that the set is indeed complete within the context of the 1958-1959 heading. According to Jerry, Classic Media is working very closely with the Oriolo family on this one and their information about the cartoons in that portion of the timeline (1958-1959) is right.
This means I owe the folks at Classic Media one big apology. Under the circumstances they deserve praise. While, I wish the set were larger, more along the lines of their HarveyToons release, perhaps they have their own reasons for doing it this way. I only hope it doesn't mean that the rest of the collection will remain unavailable. There are still a lot of great Felix cartoons still to come, including VaVoom! and the return of the Master Cylinder!
I defended the HarveyToons set (incomplete though it was)on the argument that while it wasn't really the whole shebang that it was a great value for the price. I will defend this set on the grounds that it is complete for the years prefaced and if not extraordinary value that HarveyToons was, fairly priced none the less.
It shares the same handsome packaging design that HarveyToons did and the cartoons all look great. Though some folks don't like the open book style of the sleeve (w/no outer sleeve) it seems just fine to me. The discs are quite secure in their holders and not likely to fall out. If anything, it takes too much effort to release them.
So, yes, I'm happy and hope the set does well so that we may see the remaining 229 episodes commited to disc. What are you waiting for? Place your order!
Now that I've finished this slice of humble pie, I think I'll have another with the folks at Classic Media. "
Van | Sao Paulo, Brazil | 10/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was a great idea to release the re-mastered episodes of Felix the Cat (1958-1959). The series capture the essence of Felix -- naive and smart -- great for people of all ages. "