The famed black cat with the big grin first appeared in Australia in the year 1919. The question of who created Felix remains a matter of dispute. Australian cartoonist, Pat Sullivan claimed that Felix had been inspired by Rudyard Kipling's "The Cat that Walked by Himself”, while Sullivan’s lead animator, American Otto Messmer claimed that Felix was based on an animated Charlie Chaplin that Messmer had animated for Sullivan's studio earlier on. To this day, the identity of Felix's creator remains in question. Either way, the cat quickly gained popularity and became the first cartoon character that had gained favour in silent movie audiences.
Aside from the distinction of being the first animated character to win the hearts of silent film audiences, Felix made television history when he became the first image ever broadcast by television, when RCA used a Felix doll for a 1928 NBC experiment in New York's Van Cortlandt Park.
The experiment consisted of Felix being placed on a rotating phonograph turntable and photographed for two hours each day for nearly a decade as RCA fine-tuned the picture's definition. This transmission is considered by many to have established the little black cat named Felix, as the worlds first television star.
After his walk though Hollywood, the grinning feline began its military career amidst a battle between two US Navy squadrons who had claimed ownership to the stray cat.In the end, the victorious squadron was VF-3, a squadron formally known as the “Shooting Stars”.Now sporting a bomb with a lit fuse, Felix was soon painted on the squadron aircraft, and patched on the crew flight jackets.(Including famed aviators Charles Lindbergh, and Butch O’Hare)
In 1948, the nickname "Tomcatters” was adopted by the squadron, and to this day, they carry the callsign “Felix"