Oswald The Lucky Rabbit – Walt Disney

23 12 2010

Oswald was introduced in 1927 after Disney’s series of Alice Comedies had run its course. Disney signed a new contract with Universal Studios head Carl Laemmle where he would produce a series of cartoons for Charles Mintz and George Winkler. The first Oswald cartoon, Poor Papa, was rejected by the Universal studio heads due to poor production quality and the sloppiness and age of Oswald. After this, Disney, together with Ub Iwerks, created a second cartoon called Trolley Troubles featuring a much younger, neater Oswald. The short officially launched the series and proved to be Disney’s greatest success yet. Poor Papa was finally released a year later.[1]

In spring 1928, with the series going strong, Disney asked Mintz for an increase in the budget. But Mintz instead demanded that Walt take a 20 percent budget cut, and as leverage, he reminded Disney that Mintz owned the character, and revealed that he had already signed most of Disney’s current employees to his new contract: Iwerks and Les Clark were among the few who remained loyal to Walt. Disney refused Mintz’s demand, disassociating himself from Oswald after the series’ first season. While finishing the remaining Oswald cartoons, Disney, Iwerks and Clark created the cartoon hero who would become The Walt Disney Company‘s lasting symbol: Mickey Mouse (a slightly altered Oswald the Rabbit to avoid litigation), the most famous of Walt Disney’s characters.

In February 2006, a number of minor assets including the rights to Oswald were acquired by The Walt Disney Company from NBC Universal as part of a deal that sent sportscaster Al Michaels from Disney’s ABC and ESPN to NBC Sports. At the time, ABC had lost its contract for NFL broadcast rights, and despite recently signing a long-term contract with ESPN, Michaels was interested in rejoining broadcast partner John Madden at NBC for the Sunday night package. Universal transferred the copyright in a cartoon character to Disney, and in exchange, Disney released Michaels from his employment contract, allowing him to sign with NBC.

The deal includes the rights to the character and the original 26 short films made by Disney (namely, most of the Oswald films produced from 1927 to 1928). Rights to the Lantz/Universal-produced Oswald films and other related products were not included, and therefore Oswald appears in both Disney releases and in Universal’s Woody Woodpecker and Friends collection.

More at wiki.com

 

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