Have you ever walked through the halls of your school or down a busy street and overheard someone talking about a piece of content they watched the previous night? Did this person think highly of the show that they watched or were they as critical as a film critic? Whether you’re watching something that aired fifteen years ago, or even that previous night, that content probably created a lasting impact without you consciously realizing it. This same idea could be said about one of Walt Disney’s most beloved cartoon characters.
People often say, “it all started with a Mouse”, but I’m a strong believer that it started before Mickey debuted in Steamboat Willie (1928). Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was one of Walt’s first creations. His first appearance was in the short Trolley Trouble (1927), which is not currently streaming on any platform. Though Disney produced 27 Oswald shorts, the trademark was owned by Universal Pictures. It wasn’t until 2006, when then CEO Bob Iger traded Emmy Award winning and Hollywood Walk of Fame star Al Michaels for the copyright to Oswald. Since acquiring one of Walt’s first creations, he’s only been used sparingly. Epic Mickey (2010), Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (2012), the Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse: Canned (2017) episode, and even a few park appearances are the extent of his rebirth.
It’s been rumored for some time that under Disney’s control, they’re preparing for Oswald to start his own franchise. Could Disney+ start by adding the twenty-seven shorts that were produced by the Walt Disney Company? Bridging the past helps shape the future for more stories to come. Like Oswald, more history shall be explored. Stay “tooned” and remember the past.
Gregory Bertrand is a film and television enthusiast. His degree in Early Childhood Education is from Saint Cloud State University and he’s currently teaching in a school. When he isn’t shaping young minds, he spends his time researching, analyzing, and documenting Walt Disney contractual obligations while streaming a slew of old and original content.