If I had said Saturday mornings with Disney, would you have looked? We all have those memories, the snatch of childish laughter from the other room as we prepare breakfast, the beep-beep of the Road Runner just before he blows up his nemesis yet again, the T-t-t-that’s all folks, of Porky Pig. Either as a grandparent, parent, or child you’ve heard the siren song of Saturday morning cartoons from living rooms all across the land.
It all started with a cat, of course. Felix the cat arrived on the scene of movie houses in 1919 as a star of silent films. No exploding bombs, lisping canaries, or stuttering pigs graced those short pieces from creator Otto Messner for Pat Sullivan’s studio. Then came the talkies and the rest, as they say, is history. Or perhaps Walt Disney.
Julius is a flagrant re-interpretation of Felix. He came into being at the urging of Margaret Winkler, a distributor for Sullivan who was always at odds with him. The Cat Women Collective know a cat fight always makes for juicy gossip and apparently artistic temperaments can make the fur fly. Margaret pushed a reluctant Walt Disney to come up with his own animated cat and thus Julius was born. He became the comic relief in the Alice Comedies. He starred with a seven-year-old child, Virginia Davis, in the animated series where his became the more dominant role over time.
It wasn’t until the third film that Julius received a name. Alice’s Spooky Adventure finds Julius once again in the role of hero, a characteristic he shares with our very own Trouble, the Sherlock of black cat detectives.
Julius appeared in forty-seven of the fifty-one Alice Comedies. Walt Disney went on to create, in collaboration with Ub Iwerks, more animated characters including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Iwerks is responsible for the creation of Mickey Mouse and the reign of a cat over the world of Disney gave way to the icon that is now recognized worldwide.
We take it in stride, of course. We would not go so far as to say we are difficult to work with, only that we will not be dictated to by mortal man. A mouse, on the other hand, is quite willing to jump through hoops for nothing more than the accolades of children.
That said, Trouble has been hard at work directing the humans in his path to where they need to go in the art of crime detection and affairs of the heart. His latest efforts are our gift to you, our faithful readers, as an early Christmas present. Trouble Under the Mistletoe is a free e-reader download beginning on Black Friday, Nov. 24th.
Turnout, Mississippi isn’t much more than a spot in the road but that doesn’t stop a dead body from turning up under the mistletoe. In this short story the Tizzington sisters are in the thick of everyone’s business, bless their hearts, but are they up to their own brand of mischief as well?
Place your order early and when the rest of the holiday shoppers are hard at it, you can simply open your Kindle, Nook, or tablet and, with your feet up, enjoy Trouble’s latest escapade.
Rebecca Barrett writes historical fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction (writing as Campbell O’Neal), children’s stories, and short stories of life in the South. An avid reader all her life and a product of “front porch” socializing, she became a story-teller at an early age.
Her current novel, Trouble in Dixie (available now), features that handsome, sleek, black cat detective, Trouble. This is a new series with multiple authors (The Cat Women Collective) who follow the antics of super-sleuth Trouble as he lands in first one crime scene then another. Of course, the humans help a little. These romantic mysteries are fun and light hearted and just perfect for a beach read or a rainy day.