>> Sunday, February 4, 2007
USA/Silent/B&W-7 m./Dir: Otto Messmer/Cast: Felix (Himself), Kitty (Herself)
Long before Felix the Cat used his magical “Bag of Tricks” to foil the nefarious plans of the Professor, Rock Bottom, and the Master Cylinder (Anyone else grow up in the 70’s?) he got bombed out of his skull in the silent short subject Felix the Cat Woos Whoopee. The plot of the cartoon is simple--Felix carouses until 6 a.m. at the Whoopee Club, chugging beer, wine, and anything else he can lay his hands on, while his wife waits up impatiently with a rolling pin. As the fuddled feline teeters home, monstrous hallucinations block his path, including dragons, a winged ape, and a walking trombone. It’s a toss up as to whether the missus or Felix’s own imagination poses a greater threat to his well being.
Despite the fact that the animation used in the Felix the Cat shorts was primitive and that any kind of narrative flow was virtually nonexistent, the famous feline was the most popular cartoon character of the silent era. Felix’s appeal lay in that he lived in a surreal world where anything could happen--buildings could dance, one object could morph into another, and Felix himself could change shape on a whim. This bizarre, dreamlike style lends itself well to the woozy narrative of Felix the Cat Woos Whoopee, and it is likely that modern viewers will be surprised at how much they enjoy Felix’s drunken antics. Like fine Scotch, this cartoon has aged remarkably well.
Drinks Consumed--Beer, wine, and hard liquor in unmarked bottles
Intoxicating Effects--Staggering, stumbling, drunk driving, and delirium tremens
Potent Quotables--There’s no dialogue in this one. The pictures speak for themselves.
Video Availability--Available in the collection, Felix! Felix the Cat 1919-1930 Collection (Slingshot).
Similarly Sauced Cinema--Felix inadvertently gets mashed on moonshine in Felix Finds Out (1924). Also, the hallucinatory section of Woos Whoopee anticipates the “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence in Dumbo (1941).