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Felix Find a Way

Foxy Felix the Cat is saved

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The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission voted to declare the three-sided “Felix the Cat” sign atop the Felix Chevrolet auto dealership an historic and cultural monument.

The designation forces property owners, developers and city officials to carefully study the effects of demolition, but doesn’t permanently block removal of a historic structure.

The South Figueroa St. corner, where the dealership sits, had recently been targeted for renovation. The Figueroa corridor is being transformed as new loft and condo developments go up between the University of Southern California and the Staples Center area.

The neon sign, which depicts a Chevrolet logo crowned by the cartoon character, was erected at Figueroa and Jefferson Blvd. when new dealership owner Nick Shammas relocated the Chevrolet franchise there in 1958.

The Felix character was “adopted” by L.A. auto dealer Winslow Felix, who opened Felix Chevrolet in 1922 at 12th St. and Grand Ave. Felix was a friend of filmmaker Pat Sullivan, who owned the animation studio where Otto Messner, who created Felix, worked.

Felix the Cat first appeared on November 9, 1919, in “Feline Follies.”

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