Otto Messmer

Ziggy from Kara Johnson on Vimeo.

Survey of Animation, Flip Book & Research Paper, Vimeo Movie, 13 Seconds

In 1914 Otto Messmer learned animation from Hy Mayer and started producing advertising films with him until Pat Sullivan hired him in 1915. Sullivan hired him as an animation in his new studio in New York City making more advertising films but after a year Messmer served in the Army as Sullivan went to jail.

In 1919 Messmer and Sullivan resumed work together and Messmer created the ‘first cartoon star,’ Felix the Cat. Felix the Cat was loved for his simple design and his complex personality, he became the first cartoon character merchandised. By 1923 Messmer had put Felix the Cat into newspaper comic strips, but in 1931 Felix the Cat design had been discontinued. Pat Sullivan died in 1933 and had not fulfilled his promise to give the rights of Felix the Cat to Messmer, but he did not pursue it any further and retired from film making. Sullivan took credit for Felix the Cat putting his name in the paper, movies, products, and in the designs; in the 1960’s, almost 40 years since Sullivan died, did Messmer tell people that he was the creator of Felix the cat. Since then Messmer made more Felix the Cat in comics, films, billboards, and television. In 1950’s and 1960’s Joe Oriolo recreated Felix the Cat for a series of cartoons, and in 1990’s CBS had put a Felix the Cat series on television.

Otto Messmer gave his cartoon characters a distinct black and white simple design with a complicated and original personality. Messmer gave Felix a specific personality with emotions like joyous, shrew, and mischievous. He also gave Felix a world wide known trademark when Felix ‘circles’ when he’s perplexed. In my flip book i tried to keep Felix the Cat’s simple black and white design within my character with a complicated and original personality. Although i tried to adapt Messmer’s Felix the Cats design my Ziggy the Elephant was more white than black and had a more simple, innocent personality.

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