"The Golfing Cat" and "The Hunter and The Dog" (lost Louis Wain animated shorts; 1917)

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The Soldier Cat.jpg

A Louis Wain illustration from 1917, the year The Golfing Cat was released.

Status: Lost


The Golfing Cat and The Hunter and the Dog were short cartoons written and animated by famed illustrator Louis Wain, known for his artwork of humanized cats. The films were directed by George Pearson, produced by H. Wood, and were released theatrically by Gaumont Studios in 1917. [1]

History[edit | edit source]

Some time before the film’s inception, Wain’s work for cinema posters of the time and book “Peter, a Cat O’One Tail” had gotten the attention of producer H.F. Wood (or H.D. Wood, sources are conflicting regarding his middle initial)[2][3], who had invited the artist to attempt the fledgling art of animation with Gaumont-British pictures.[2]

Content[edit | edit source]

Not much information is known about the pictures online. Both were as previously stated produced by H.F. Wood with Gaumont-British, and directed by George Pearson. The number of completed films is also uncertain, with some sources listing a third scrapped film, some saying that the films were never fully complete,[4] and Pearson himself stating in his autobiography that “three or four cartoons were completed.”[2] The initial film, The Golfing Cat was reported to be approximately 10 minutes long, though it is unknown how much, if any, footage remains. Some sources suggest that there are only fractions remaining[3], however none seems to be available to the public at the time. The film was reportedly created at Shepperton studios[2], but this is unlikely as Shepperton was founded in 1931, 14 years after the supposed creation of Wain’s films.

Despite the popular success of his art, Wain's style did not easily lend itself to animation, which along with his health and personal life, prevented any further exploration into the medium. Although he was infamous for the speed and ease of his illustrations, he found difficulty producing 16 frames of animation for each second of film, and thus abandoned the format after 1917.[2]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

The films reportedly experienced moderate acclaim, and had a lasting impact on the world of animation, as the first animated feline to hit the big screen. Notably, The Golfing Cat's character, Pussyfoot, is reminiscent of the Felix The Cat and Walt Disney animations that achieved commercial success years later.[2]

References[edit | edit source]