October 15, 2015 posted by

Halloween Continues: “Felix Dines And Pines” (1927)


Summer is vanishing quickly here, and our road is absolutely beautiful with the leaves turning. I was thinking about putting a leaf in all the orders as they go out, but they’re not falling quite yet!

On the Thunderbean DVD front, Willie Whopper has been selling well, and every day a huge batch is going out.. thanks to everyone that has ordered. We’re getting them out the door as fast as we can the first day’s orders were more than we’ve ever had for any title. Snafu will be back before too long, and the little ‘Thunderbean Thursday’ set is almost ready as well- busy times here.

Last week’s post yielded a great list of animated films from the responses… if you haven’t already, it’s worth looking at people’s suggestions and links. I was entertained for a few hours, unwinding a few nights back.

If you didn’t see it already, I especially loved Steve Segal’s link to Midnight Dance (1996) by John McClosky:

dines-pines-monsterFor this week’s cartoon, I pulled something out of the possible ‘future’ pile at Thunderbean, and cobbled together a quick version for this week’s post. It’s Felix Dines and Pines (1927), an especially weird entry in the great silent Felix the Cat series, and qualifies very nicely as a ‘spooky’ cartoon.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the Pat Sullivan Studio’s Felix cartoons, and have seen quite a few similar surreal sequences in them. They seem to be an sequences in some of the early Fleischer Talkartoons. Clever gags and a convoluted plot are usual elements of the Felixes, and this short is no exception. I especially like the fight between Skidoo and Felix in the middle of the picture (where Felix briefly loses his head), and Santa Claus turning into an especially ugly monster here, and of course the fun warped buildings.

We’ve transferred 3 prints of the film; an ‘ok’ dupe print from the 70s made by Thunderbird films, an original 1920s 16mm print suffering from ‘Vinegar’ syndrome, and an incomplete 35mm Nitrate print with two tinted sequences, lent by the wonderful folks at the Library of Congress. On good prints of these films, the ink work is especially nice to see… sometimes you can even see the erased pencil lines under the inks. If your computer is fast enough, make sure to watch in HD.

We may end up using the dupe for the first half rather than the current focused-challanged part here – and while it’s far from a ‘finished’ cleaned up version of the film, we hope you enjoy this ‘Spooky’ cartoon!

Here is a 1931 Felix the Cat comic strip, featuring a similar plot to Felix Dines and Pines. Courtesy of the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, as featured on the Classic Felix the Cat page by David Gerstein


Have a good week everyone!


  • Here’s more Spooky Kooky Halloween themed Cartoons,
    Garfield in Disguise aka Garfield’s Halloween Adventure,
    Ghost Hunters with Mickey,Donald and Goofy
    Milton The Monster
    The Groovy Ghoolies
    Beany and the BooBirds
    Penny Crayon in The Haunted House where she helps her uncle who is a magician save his home from Yuppies who wanted to by his home
    The Trap Door a claymation cartoon from England
    And from Wales
    Funny Bones

    • “Ghost Hunters” is actually titled “Lonesome Ghosts”.

  • Ooh, I’d forgotten about “BEANY AND THE BOO BIRDS”. That is an all-time favorite of mine, along with another “BEANY AND CECIL SHOW” entry that I think is called something like “EDGAR ALLEN POEHOUSE” in which the Invisible Man (voiced to sound like Elmer Fudd) scares Beany and Cecil out of buying the abandoned abode as their land-locked homestead. There are a lot of funny bits aimed at the first golden age of TV (“The Scarey Como Show”). Oh, and Steve, I’m delighted that the WILLIW WHOPPER cartoons are selling quite well. Glad the fans are actually coming out in support of this wonderful release; wish I could chime in on FELIX, but alas, it is silent. I like the character, though, and I’ve probably seen this title somewhere on local TV.

    • Also don’t forget Mr. Peabody & Sherman when they go visit Edgar Allen Poe and help him to write his famous tales of terror.

  • Does anyone know who animated “Dines and Pines”?
    We’ve gone from Pat Sullivan claiming years ago to be the guy behind these cartoons to animation fans giving sole credit to Otto Messmer. But Messmer had a staff of animators. They had to be responsible for animating something.

  • There is Mesmer’s work throughout this one, with some shots clearly by him in the middle of the film. The chicken fight scene is clearly his…. my guess would be some of the layout is his, though.. there’s folks here that can identify some of the other shots, but there’s quite a bit that isn’t his here…

  • Steve-
    Do you know what the dealie-o was with Thunderbird Films?

  • I think that’s correct, Steve, that Otto animated the chicken fight. Most of the other animation in this short was by Raoul Barre (he animated Felix swallowing the jumping beans, and the evil Santa Claus) and Dana Parker who animated Felix eating the shoes that caused his bellyache and nightmare. I like Dana’s drawings of Felix almost as much as Otto’s.

  • One thing that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the responses here: The cartoons in the new “Willie Whopper” DVD look outstanding! Received my copy last week, watched all the cartoons. Even the ones from “ordinary” 16mm prints look great. (There are only 2 of those; 2 others from 16mm fine grain master positives.) Some introductory and end titles are a little rough, probably because of the source materials for those titles. They don’t intrude.

    You should see “Hell’s Fire” – it’ll take your breath away! Far better than the cut version originally available.

    Now for the unsolicited plug: If you haven’t already done so, buy it!

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