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Discover the story of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s first character

Discover the story of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s first character

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was Walt Disney’s first character — but few remember him

Many people think that Mickey kicked off the history of Disney. However, instead of being a mouse, it was a rabbit who was responsible for the debut of Walt Disney in the world of animation. But, do you know who he was? Learn more about the first character in the Disney universe, the lucky rabbit Oswald!

The origin

It all started when Walt Disney and your collaborator Ub Iwerks they were working on a short film, where there was a mix between reality and animation: a real girl who acted with animated characters, and the scenario was also created using animation. This would be the beginning of the series “Alice Comedies”, which had a total of 56 episodes produced between 1923 and 1927.

Nonetheless, Walt I felt a restriction due to production costs and the technical limitations of the concept. When looking for something new, he found the solution: eliminate all living elements of action. The producer and distributor of the series “Alice Comedies”, Charles Mintzbegan negotiating with Universal Pictures to launch a new character.

The studio wanted something different, as at the time there were a lot of animated cats, like Felix the Cat, and so Walt sent sketches of rabbits. Mintz signed a contract with the production company on March 4, 1927, for a series of 26 animated shorts starring the new character of Disneywho would be called Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit.

In just two weeks, the Walt Disney produced the first short films, entitled “Poor Papa” (in free translation, Poor Daddy). However, the result did not meet expectations. While Mints didn’t approve of the rabbit’s look and demanded some changes, the studio was unhappy with the story’s format — and the character’s creator agreed.

After years of reformulating the character by Walt Disneyyour nephew, Roy Edward Disneydeclared:

One of the elements brought by Walt was to give real personalities to his characters, with which viewers could identify. Many early cartoons were just about the visual gags rather than the personalities,”

Oswald’s second short, “Trolley Troubles”, was the first to be shown, and shows the rabbit as a train conductor and having to deal with various problems. In this animation, Walt tried to incorporate personalities into the drawings. Check out!

The short was acclaimed by the newspapers at the time, where they predicted that the lucky rabbit would have great popularity in the future. All said and done: several products featuring the character were created in the USA, transforming Oswald into a true star, and his short films were the most popular in the 1920s. With this success, Walt Disney managed to expand his team to 22 people.

However, things went wrong. Mintz and other animators began to negotiate in secret, in early 1928, an agreement to start a new studio and produce short films without Disney. When the creator of the lucky rabbit realized what was coming, in addition to losing the contract with Universal, he lost the rights to Oswald, meaning he could not create any more short films with the character.

After trying to face Mintz and the studio, Walt He ended up giving up — but that wouldn’t be the end of him. Between negotiations, he needed to go to New York, but after losing everything, he returned to Los Angeles and, on the way back, he had an idea that would change his life: Mickey Mouse. With the help of Iwerks and from the few animators who remained by his side, the mouse’s first short was released in November 1928.

But Oswald did not cease to exist! Mintz began the production of new rabbit short films, but there was no longer the same charm and level of animation as there was with Disney. Thus, as the drawings became more different from the original proposal, some animators returned to work with Walt.

After two years of working with the rabbit, the president of Universal at the time, Carl Laemmle chose to produce the character’s shorts within the studio itself and no longer depend on Mintz. He ended up choosing Walter Lantz to take over the stories.

Creator of “Pica-Pau” in the 1940s, Lantz went to consult Walt Disneywhich at the time was enjoying the success of Mickey Mouse, about Oswald and ended up gaining the blessing of the rabbit’s father.

On the eve of Oswald’s 80th birthday, in 2006, some negotiations took place between ESPN and The Walt Disney Company over rights issues regarding some programs. In the midst of this situation, Bob Igerthe executive director of the house of Mickey Mouse at the time, called George Bodenheimer, former president of the sports channel, and made a proposal: Disney would return a program if the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit returned home. Within a week, Universal learned of the situation and accepted the deal.

In February 2006, Diane Disney Millerthe eldest daughter of Walt Disneymade the following statement in a press release:

When Bob was named executive director, he told me of his desire to bring Oswald back to Disney, and I appreciate him being a man of his word. Having Oswald around will be a lot of fun,”

Several Oswald products began to be sold before the end of 2007, but his big return to the lives of Disney fans was in the “Epic Mickey” game released in 2010. At D23 Expo 2017, Iger promised that we would still see a lot of the lucky rabbit.

Source: Recreio

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