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Walt Disney’s First Character Oswald The Lucky Rabbit Surfaces

Oswald The Lucky Rabbit
Walt Disney Company

I was born and raised about two miles from Disneyland in Southern California so, Disney is very much a part of my life and I have came to realize the visionary genius of Walt Disney at a very early age. Our first images of Mickey Mouse came in 1928 courtesy of the Disney directed ‘Steamboat Willie’ which by the way, was the first cartoon with synchronized sound, But Disney’s first character was born before he started the Disney company when he worked at Universal and his name was Oswald The Lucky Rabbit. Recently, the Walt Disney Archives found a series of drawings of Oswald that is probably the oldest known cartoon created by Walt Disney. Disney was an animator at Universal when he helped create one of Universal’s first major successes in the form of Oswald The Lucky Rabbit.

There were 26 Oswald cartoons made in the 1920s and 1930s  with Disney at the helm on the story board and you don’t even have to look that close to see where Mickey Mouse came from. Oswald’s characteristics obviously became the basis for Mickey and for good reason.

When Disney left Universal to form his own empire, he wanted to take Oswald with him and Universal said no. So, Disney created a similar charcter in the form of a mouse which became one of the most Iconic and recognizable figures in the world, Mickey Mouse, who also became the face of the Disney empire.

Disney died never having secured the rights to Oswald until sporstcaster Al Michaels’ contract was up with ABC which is owned by Disney. Michaels wanted to return to NBC which is owned by Universal which gave Disney CEO Bob Iger the opening the company long sought. Iger said he would be glad to let Michaels return to NBC in exchange for the rights to Oswald The Lucky Rabbit and Universal said, DEAL!!

To see the original Oswald cartoon in it’s purest form, Click here.

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