TV historians will tell you that “Felix the Cat” was one of the first images ever broadcast on television (when RCA broadcast a Felix doll in 1928 on experimental station W2XBS)— but it wasn’t until the late ’40s that the first animated character was created expressly for TV.
In the late 1940s, Alex Anderson and Rocky and Bullwinkle creator Jay Ward originated Crusader Rabbit, which was test marketed in the late 1940s and appeared for the very first time on KNBH (Los Angeles) on August 1, 1950. The cartoon series aired during the 1950-51 season on several NBC-owned and operated stations. Crusader Rabbit featured the Don Quixote-like title character, aided by his friend Ragland T. “Rags” Tiger as they pursued adventures in serial (i.e. cliffhanger) installments.
Watch the first episode of Crusader Rabbit and listen to Anderson and Bliss discuss the show on the Archive’s show page for Crusader Rabbit.