Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was a character Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created after his Alice Comedies for Universal Pictures. Oswald starred in a series of 27 silent cartoons between 1927 and 1928 for Charles Mintz of Winkler Pictures, who contracted with Universal Studios for the distribution. When Walt lost the rights to Oswald, the idea for a new character, Mickey Mouse, was born. The Oswald character was later continued by Walter Lantz. Sound was added by Universal, the copyright holder, to some of the Disney Oswald cartoons in the early days of television. Oswald was the first Disney character to generate merchandise: a candy bar, a stencil set, and a pinback button. In February of 2006, The Walt Disney Company reacquired the rights back to Oswald.
“I wanted to complete Walt’s mission. I knew there was an empty spot in his heart since Oswald left. There was something about bringing him back that seemed right. What’s so interesting about Oswald is that even after Walt lost him, he continued to be influential. Many of the shorts that Walt created with the character were essentially remade as Mickey Mouse shorts, and the boondoggle with Mintz led to Disney’s fierce protection of his characters and intellectual property. And the shorts themselves are really, really good. They’re wild and unhinged and hilarious and shaped Walt’s vision." - Bob Iger
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