"I think everyone since owes a huge debt to Otto Messmer and Felix. We are using techniques, ideas and cliches today that began with this creation. Felix is truly the father of cartoony cartoons."
One of the most influential artists in the History of Animation
, Otto James Messmer
, born on August 16, 1892 in West Hoboken, New Jersey
(now Union City), was an animator and comic artist during The Silent Age of Animation
, The Golden Age of Animation
and The Dark Age of Animation
, and one of the founding fathers of the american cartoon. His most famous creation
is Felix the Cat
, easily the most influential, and at 92 years and going, longest lasting
, cartoon character in history, and the first to achieve genuine popularity and success. Messmer's iconic rubberhose art style
was also universally copied by the animation community of the time, due to how practical and inexpensive it was to animate.
Messmer was undoubtedly a big influence on many animators. Along with Winsor McCay
, Van Beuren Studios
and Max and Dave Fleischer
, he was a big influence on future stars like Walt Disney
, whose Alice Comedies
, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
and Mickey Mouse
cartoons undoubtedly drew much influence from Messmer's work.
A biography of him can be found here.
Tropes Related to Him:
- Deranged Animation: Some of his cartoons can get just plain weird.
- Follow the Leader: When Messmer's creation made a splash in the 1920s, just about everybody was trying to ape the Felix cartoons and his art style. This even lasted till the early 1930s, before Disney began truly establishing its influence in the industry.
- Old Shame: He later openly regretted choosing director Burt Gillett to make the Van Beuren Felix the Cat shorts.
- Rubberhose Limbs: Messmer is arguably the Trope Maker, or at least the Trope Codifier, although that might belong to one of his friends and animators, Bill Nolan, who redesigned Felix into his more circular design. It should be noted that Otto's art style was largely influenced by early Newspaper Comics such as the Katzenjammer Kids.
- Shout-Out: On My Life as a Teenage Robot, the Local Hangout, as well as its owner, is named after Messmer. As a bonus, the entrance looks a lot like Felix the Cat.