Trivia / The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat

  • Creator Backlash: Despite efforts to shift to script written episodes in Season 2, it was even more of a ratings disaster than the first season, and it was seen as a disaster in the eyes of everyone involved with it, according to Milton Knight.
  • Descended Creator: Don Oriolo wrote and performer the theme song.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The show is almost impossible to find on home video, getting only a handful of rare VHS releases, one rare DVD release in the US (containing only the first four episodes) and a few in China and Germany. The fact that virtually everyone involved in the show hated working on season 2, combined with the show being jointly owned by Lionsgate, which recently acquired Starz, which in turn owns the library of Film Roman, and DreamWorks Classics/NBCUniversal (who got the show after acquiring the rights to the character in 2014), has only added to the difficulty.
  • The Other Darrin: Felix had two voice actors in this series: Thom Adcox Hernandez in season 1, and Charlie Adler in season 2.
  • Troubled Production: Milton Knight, an animator and director on the series, claimed that the production for the show was fun, but not exactly ideal.
    • One major problem during production was that they couldn't make up their mind what kind of cartoon this was supposed to be—studio head Phil Roman was most comfortable with the plot-and-dialogue-driven approach used in his commercial successes Garfield and Friends and The Simpsons, and had given this series what seemed like a guarded blessing—there was one group who wanted a Felix like the Otto Messmer shorts, one group who wanted Max Fleischer surreality, Don Oriolo, the current owner of Felix, wanting it to be like his dad's made-for-TV Felix cartoons (which most of the staff working on the show was against—they ultimately, but begrudgingly, added certain elements from it into Twisted Tales, like the Magic Bag), one group who wanted the show to be Ren and Stimpy-esque (understandable, since some of the artists on the show were former Ren and Stimpy artists), and one director who wanted a Robert Crumb influence!
    • Another problem was that in addition to having a month to storyboard, design and do layout work on each short, they could not learn from their mistakes, because by the time film began to come in, the season had been just about wrapped up. The artists had no say on retakes in animation either, which was left to Phil Roman to decide—and unfortunately, the overseas animation on the show tended to be rather sluggish.
    • Eventually, Phil Roman and Don Oriolo found the "Cartoonist Driven" approach of the first season to be too taxing on them, and not even worth the trouble since, despite being one of the most expensive shows that Phil Roman's studio had made, the first season turned out to be a flop in ratings, so the second season went through an extensive retool—while the first season was storyboarded while working from a basic outline, and was absurdly surreal in its premises and animation, the second season decided to take the series into a direction more in vogue with the Joe Oriolo Felix cartoons and shift production to make the show a more standard TV cartoon, with scripts replacing the all-storyboard approach (usually provided by the writer of Garfield and Friends, Mark Evanier, who has remained silent on the series ever since), resulting in much more linear plotting and less surreal humor and more emphasis on wordplay and one liners, as well as bringing back some of the Oriolo era characters like Poindexter, Master Cylinder and The Professor. Unfortunately for them, the second season turned to be an even bigger flop in the ratings, and it ultimately got the show canned, with season 2 ending after just 8 episodes. The shows failure ultimately put the Felix the Cat cartoons on ice yet again, with only low key revivals coming of the series after the fact.
  • Writer Revolt: Most of the staff openly hated the made-for-TV Felix cartoons made by Joe Oriolo in the late 50's/early 60's, and wanted the show to exclusively follow the roots of the original silent cartoons and abandon the characters and tone of the TV cartoons. Don Oriolo, Joe's son and then-owner of Felix the Cat, insisted that they at least include certain elements from it like the Magic Bag so that the show would have some kind of tie to his dad's work. As mentioned earlier, by the time the second season started production, Phil Roman and Don Oriolo decided to take the series into a direction more in vogue with the Joe Oriolo Felix cartoons and shift production to make the show a more standard TV cartoon, with scripts replacing the all-storyboard approach, resulting in much more linear plotting and less surreal humor and more emphasis on wordplay and one liners, as well as bringing back some of the Oriolo era characters like Poindexter, Master Cylinder and The Professor. In response, "Attack of the Robot Rat" had the writers shoot back by making it a very mean spirited parody of the Joe Oriolo Felix cartoons. "Phoney Felix" can also be seen as a Stealth Parody of the retool of Season 2, with Felix having his show hijacked by an imbecilic imposter who imitates some of the traits of Oriolo Felix, such as saying his "Righty-O!" catchphrase, singing the TV show theme song and using a (shoddy knockoff) of the magic bag of tricks.
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