Logansport HS to celebrate 90th birthday of mascot, Felix the Cat

On Friday, December 16, Logansport High School will celebrate the 90th Birthday of Felix the Cat as the oldest mascot in the state of Indiana.

The celebration will take place in the Berry Bowl, in conjunction with the girls/boys varsity basketball only doubleheader vs. Lafayette Jeff.

The athletic department is asking the community for help in two different ways. First, there is a planned recognition of any past students who performed as Felix. If you were Felix or know the name of someone that was Felix, please contact the athletic department at 574-753-2250.

Secondly, anyone who has pictures of Felix working the games for Logansport throughout the years is encouraged to also contact the athletic department so their picture may be included in a digital photo montage shown at the game.

Pre-Sale tickets to the game are on sale currently at the LHS athletic office or at Creative Promotions, 506 North St. Tickets are $5 and Berries fans are encourage to get them early as we expect a capacity crowd.

Finally, a special commemorative shirt will be sold for this event. The shirt is $10 – $12 depending on size and can be purchased both at the athletic office and Creative Promotions or bought online at stores.inksoft.com/felixbirthday and picked up at the game.

There will be activities in the auxiliary gym for children of all ages, and a photograph session with Felix as well. The Berry Boosters are sponsoring a fried chicken meal running from 4:30PM – 6:30 p.m. in the LHS cafeteria for $7 a meal.

Graduates of Logansport High School have always taken a lot of pride with the uniqueness that Felix brings to the rich history of LHS. According to the story, the date was March 31, 1926, and sixteen members of the Logansport High School basketball team were on their way to a post season banquet at the Barnes Hotel in downtown Logansport. Accompanied by their coach, Cliff Wells, they were entering the hotel when they spotted a small stuffed cat made of oilcloth in a store window. This replica of Felix the Cat was in Logan’s school colors, red and black, and immediately won the admiration of the team. Coach Wells purchased it right then and there. The cat spent the evening with the team in the Rose Room of the Barnes Hotel for the banquet, which was hosted by Mr. and Mrs. O.L. Harrington. Coach Cliff Wells would later give the red and black cat to the next season’s senior team captain, Raymond “Curly” Hupp. During Hupp’s senior season, Felix was held captive in Curly’s gym locker. At halftime of an important game that saw the Berries trailing, Curly took Felix from the locker and placed him on the floor for good luck. The Berries went on to be victorious, and thus Felix became our mascot and the first ‘official’ mascot in Indiana. After Felix made his first appearance, thanks to Curly, he was often brought to the floor in later games that season by LHS cheerleader, Henry “Hank” Muckenfuss.  Felix had been replaced six or seven times. The last stuffed Felix figure to be placed out on the floor is now housed in the Cass County Historical Museum. Felix IV was submitted to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Museum in New Castle in 1986, where he is on display today. Felix V is housed in the main lobby at LHS.  Though still highly revered, the figure has given way to a live version of Felix who interacts with fans, dances on the floor, and enlightens children and adults alike.

don-oriolo As part of celebrating the 90th Birthday of the Oldest Mascot in the state of Indiana, Felix the Cat, Logansport High School is honored to bring the “Felix the Cat Guy” Don Oriolo, to Logansport for a free community event.

Don is the son of Joe Oriolo, the protégé of Felix creator, Otto Messmer and producer of the 60’s Felix tv series, in doing so creating Poindexter and the magic bag. Near the end of his career, Joe Oriolo, recognizing his son Don’s imagination and passion for Felix, and his incredible success in the entertainment business, asked Don to bring their beloved Felix into the twenty-first century. Don created Felix the Cat: The Movie (1988), Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat (1996), Felix the Cat Saves Christmas (2004) and Coconut Fred’s Fruit Salad Island! (2005) and under Don’s watch Felix became the number one licensed character in Asia. Don is a talented producer, composer, artist, musician and he has spent many years in an executive capacity at some of the biggest music publishing companies, as well as being a studio guitar player, avid guitar collector, and owner of Oriolo Guitars. Don has worked alongside musicians and bands such as Gloria Gaynor, Doctor Hook, The Paragons, The Tokens and many more. He also wrote Jon Bon Jovi’s first charted single, a Christmas-themed song entitled “R2D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” Don was also instrumental in launching the careers of iconic musicians Meatloaf, Jim Steinman, and Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, to name a few.

In 2010, Don Oriolo announced the launch of the Oriolo Guitar Company. Don combined both the love of music and guitars with Felix the Cat. Don’s guitars have been played by many famous artists, including Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, Steve Miller, Todd Rundgren, and Buddy Guy. One of Don’s guitars was donated in memory of 1975 graduate, Michael Lee Thomas, who played guitar in the Reba McEntire Band until a fatal plane crash in 1991. The guitar has been a mainstay in lobby of LHS.

Please join us for an evening with Don in the McHale Performing Arts Center. Hear all about the history of Felix the Cat’s creator Otto Messmer, Don’s father, Joe Oriolo and much more. In fact, Joe Oriolo created that famous friendly ghost, Casper! Don will sing some songs, draw Felix, tell stories and much more! In addition to the community event, Don will be our guest of honor at Felix’s Birthday Celebration on Friday night, December 16 at the Girls/Boys Varsity basketball doubleheader vs. Lafayette Jeff. In addition to Don, Boomer from the Pacers, Purdue Pete, Charlie Cardinal from Ball State, Rowdie from the Indianapolis Indians, as well as other high school mascots from around the state, will all be in attendance for the celebration.

The Birthday of Felix the Cat is an officially recognized Indiana Bicentennial event.

SOURCE: News releases from Logansport High School

(Editor’s Note: This was originally posted on Dec. 4, 2016)

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