tdr0511_The Mickey’s precursor Oswald’s life full of ups and downs


Mickey Mouse is the most representative character created by Disney.

For the Disney’s father Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse was a dream, hope and a superstar who saved him from difficult times. He loved Mickey as a special character for him.

However, the Mickey Mouse is not the first popular character created by Walt. There was another character who appeared on the screen and became a superstar before Mickey Mouse did.

The name of the character is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

He was a precursor of Mickey Mouse; a rabbit character who pretty much looked like the classic Mickey.

Oswald was born in 1927, one year before the Mickey’s debut on the screen. At that time, Walt was a producer working for the film distributor Charles Mintz. He was making the “Alice Comedies” series, combining live action and animation.

Then, Walt received criticism over the similarity of Julius the Cat in this film to Felix the Cat drawn by the cartoonist Pat Sullivan. As this led to the decline in popularity of the series, he was ordered to develop another new animation series.

To create a new animation, there needs to be a new character.

Wanting the next character to be a friendly rabbit, he created Oswald.

The fully animated film “Trolley Troubles” featuring Oswald became a big hit.

Oswald appeared in a total of 26 stories, developing to be a very popular character. In February 1928, however, in negotiations between Walt and the distributing agency Universal Pictures on commission, they asked Walt to pay extravagant distribution commission, insisting that they have the ownership of Oswald. Moreover, they hired capable animators away from Disney.

Because of this, Walt lost the film work, Oswald and the animators all at once.

Under such circumstances, Walt managed to protect the studio and created Mickey Mouse, who later became his lifesaver. Partly because the popularity of Oswald declined after he went out of Walt’s hands, Mickey Mouse soon became a superstar for children.

On February 2006, after Oswald went through many things, the ownership of Oswald as well as all of the 26 short films made by Walt was returned due to a successful deal between Walt Disney Company and NBC Universal.

In 2010, Oswald appeared as a float in the Disney Easter Wonderland held in Tokyo Disneyland.

After approximately 80 years after being born, Oswald finally became a member of Disney characters.

Let’s look forward to Oswald becoming more and more popular as an official Disney character.

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