9 oldest cartoon characters in the world
The oldest cartoon in the world is considered to be Fantasmagorie, a 1908 French animated film created by Émile Cohl. However, it was Walt Disney who brought the revolution to the cartoon world and transformed cartoons into a source of entertainment. Some of the characters he created, such as Mickey Mouse, continue to be popular today. Here is a list of the oldest cartoon characters:
1. Felix the Cat
Felix the Cat dates from the Silent Film era and continues to be one of the most recognized cartoon characters in the world. Felix the Cat was created by Pat Sullivan and Otto Messmer and his first appearance was in November 1919. The character’s specific traits are its famous laugh, its grin, and black body. Felix the Cat has lost its popularity for a while after sound cartoon appeared, but he was revived in the 50s on American TV and the cat has been included into multiple television programs and two feature films since.
2. Bonzo the Dog
This cartoon character was created in 1922 by British artist George Studdy. Bonzo the Dog was featured in some of the world’s first cartoons and even inspired a big merchandise campaign in the 1920s which was implemented in multiple countries. Bonzo is white, chubby, and his skin is saggy; his expressive blue eyes have captured the heart of the audience and made him one of the first cartoon characters to be loved around the world.
3. Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse was created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks at the Walt Disney Studios, and later became the official mascot. Mickey Mouse is an anthropomorphic character wearing red shorts, white gloves, and big yellow shoes. What was different about Mickey Mouse was that the funny cartoon character was featured in some of the first sound cartoons, such as the short film Steamboat Willie, from 1928. Mickey Mouse was the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and one of the cartoons featuring Mickey, Lend a Paw, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1942.
4. Donald Duck
Also created at Walt Disney Productions, Donald Duck came to life in 1934. He is one of the most famous and recognizable cartoon characters, with his sailor shirt and cap with a bow tie. His mischievous personality and semi-intelligible speech have made Donald one of the most popular Disney characters; he appeared in more films than any other Disney characters and he is the most published comic book character that is not a superhero. Donald’s love interest is Daisy Duck and he was added three nephews, called Huey, Dewey, and Louie. Multiple artists have contributed to the creation of this character: Dick Lundy, Fred Spencer, Carl Barks, Jack King, and Jack Hannah.
5-6. Tom and Jerry
This cartoon classic was created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, as a slapstick comedy featuring two rival characters. The plot of every episode is pretty much the same – Tom tries to capture Jerry, causing destruction and pandemonium. A little known fact is that Tom and Jerry were actually called Jasper and Jinx in their debut appearance. Although the writers and directors of this cartoon have changed over time, one thing remains the same – Tom and Jerry simply take pleasure into tormenting each other.
7. Olive Oyl
Olive Oyl was created by E. C. Segar in 1919 and first featured in the comic strip Thimble Theatre. Later, the strip’s name was changed to Popeye after the main character. Before that, Olive Oyl had been the main character for 10 years, until 1929, when Popeye appeared. Olive is a flapper girl with a thin body and large feet; she becomes Popeye’s girlfriend and gets angry with him over the tiniest things.
Although not as old as the other characters in this list, Scooby-Doo is extremely popular and has been ranked the fifth Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time in 2013 by TV Guide. Scooby-Doo was created in 1969 and has been featured in animated TV series ever since. Scooby-Doo is a Great Dane helping four teenagers, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, to solve mysteries involving apparently supernatural creatures.
9. Fred Flintstone
Fred Flintstone is the leading character in the animated sitcom The Flintstones, the husband of Vilma Flintstone and father of Pebbles Flintstone. The character first appeared in 1959, and the original series on ABC aired until 1966. The action is placed in the Stone Age, in the fictional town of Bedrock, where dinosaurs and cavepeople live together. Fred’s distinctive trait is his trademark yell “yabba dabba do!”
These old cartoon characters have stood the test of time and they continue to be some of the most beloved figures at the present moment. It’s impossible to not have heard about Tom and Jerry or about Scooby-Doo, and they will surely continue to be popular for generations to come.