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Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

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Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is one of the first animated cartoon characters made by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks for
Oswald
Universal Studios between 1927 and 1928, then produced by Charles Mintz and Walter Lantz from 1928 until 1943.

Background

In Oswald's first, official short, Poor Papa, he was a considerably older rabbit with a far more aggressive attitude. While the short was poorly received, it was significant in introducing Oswald's children, who would later reappear in Trolley Troubles and Oh, Teacher. As mentioned above, the following short, Trolley Troubles, was the first to showcase the Oswald the world knows today. 

He was portrayed as a small, rather mischievous rabbit, often finding himself in trouble. He would always be saved, however, through his luck (hence the name). He was also shown to have the ability to disassemble his body parts at will, as seen when he literally detached his leg and kissed it for good luck. This trait would carry on to later incarnations. 

Like many classic Disney characters, some stories revolving the rabbit would center wooing a love interest. Oswald's original love interest was named Fanny; a sultry rabbit. She would later be replaced by a cat named Ortensia in The Bankers Daughter

Before he was introduced to Mickey, the infamous Pete was an enemy of Oswald's. The two were bigger rivals, often at odds for varying reasons, though Oswald would always come out on top, due to he impressive strokes of luck.

After the Alice Comedies, Disney's second animated series (after the Laugh-o-Grams) folded up in 1927, Carl Laemmle approached Disney and requested a new, all-animated series featuring a rabbit. Disney and Ub Iwerks created a new character called "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit". The first Oswald cartoon, Poor Papa, was poorly received by Charles Mintz and demanded a better, younger version of Oswald. The next cartoon, Trolley Troubles, was well-received and the series was officially launched.

In 1928, with the series going strong, Disney demanded an increased budget from Mintz, which he refused. Mintz instead told Disney that he was going to cut the budget and if Disney did not agree to the cut, Mintz would take over Oswald for himself. Disney refused and most of Disney's employees left for Mintz. Only Ub Iwerks remained, who, along with Walt, secretly created a new cartoon character to replace Oswald--Mickey Mouse, who became the most legendary cartoon icon in the world, which is what would've been Oswald's position.

Meanwhile, over at Universal, Oswald's popularity and appearances in films would diminish with every passing year until the character fell into obscurity and was ultimately forgotten by the public and possibly Universal itself.

In 2002, the House of Mouse episode called "Dennis the Duck" inspired Disney to get Oswald back from Universal. Over the years, they had tried to get Oswald back through many attempts, but kept failing.

In 2006, the Walt Disney Company finally got back the rights to Oswald through a trade with sportscaster Al Michaels after over 80 years. To celebrate Oswald's triumphant return to the company, a line of special merchandise was released at Disney Stores nationwide and a Walt Disney Treasures DVD set was released compiling all of the surviving Disney-produced Oswald cartoons.

Personality

n his current revival, Oswald is portrayed as being rough, spiteful, resentful, bitter, cold and short-tempered around anyone he doesn't trust. Being forgotten for over 80 years made him very cynical about his life, mainly due to how no one remembers him. He has sympathy for others who suffer fates similar to his.

He especially harbored a strong jealousy and hatred towards his "brother", whom he blamed for ruining his life. Oswald appeared to have a strong attachment to Walt to the point that he had a replica of his statue built in Wasteland, viewing him as a fatherly figure. Unfortunately, Walt's apparent favor towards Mickey would contribute further to Oswald's bitterness. It takes someone with a strong will to earn his trust. Beneath his harsh and cold exterior, however, lies a saddened, miserable and hurt character who just wants to be loved again by the hearts of others. His time with Mickey helped him realize how Mickey cares about him despite their differences and the glory Mickey stole from him for so long, allowing Oswald to drop his grudge and accept Mickey as his brother since it is what Walt would have wanted.

Besides being rather grumpy, Oswald mirrors Mickey in many ways. He is quite mischievous, adventurous and never escapes trouble, but finds his way out through cunning and wit. He loves to play and make others laugh, but still has morals despite his flaws and always tries to do the right thing. He will attempt to do what's best for his family and friends, even if there are risks involved. Though he doesn't appear to be, Oswald can be quite friendly if he wants to. His love for Ortensia is just as strong as Mickey's love for Minnie.

Appearance

Oswald is a short rabbit with black fur, anew a pot belly. He has a white face, a black cotton tail, has long floppy ears, and wears blue-green shorts.

Popularity

In 2002, an episode of House of Mouse called "Dennis the Duck" inspired Disney to get Oswald back from Universal. Over the years, they had tried to get Oswald back through many attempts.

In 2006, the Walt Disney Company finally got back the rights to Oswald through a trade with sportscaster Al Michaels after over 80 years. To celebrate Oswald's triumphant return to the company, a line of special merchandise was released at Disney Stores nationwide and a Walt Disney Treasures DVD set was released compiling all of the surviving Disney-produced Oswald cartoons.

Japan released a small Christmas short with Oswald and Ortensia online for the holidays. Creating the first new pure Oswald animation since his return to Disney. The story simply revolved around Oswald hiking up a mountaintop to visit Ortensia for Christmas.

In Get A Horse, Oswald makes a cameo appearance near the end of this short, waving to the audience from the bottom right side of the screen when Mickey and the gang all rejoice at Pete's defeat when Minnie drives Pete's car through. This was Oswald's first appearance in a Disney animation production in more than 84 years. However, Oswald's cameo was so well hidden that it was not noticed by the public that Oswald even appeared in the short until this fact was announced by Jerry Beck on his Facebook page in a post made on September 28, 2013.

For the Mickey Mouse (2013 TV Series), on Disney.com the online game "Hidden Mickey" (based on the episode "No Service"), reveals that some Oswald dolls can be spotted as prizes at carnival game booths along the boardwalk.

Film Appearances

Big Hero 6

A sticker of Oswald's face can be spotted atop the ceiling of Hiro's bedroom during the scene Baymax tends to his toe-stubbing injury.

Get A Horse!

Oswald makes a cameo appearance near the end of this short, waving to the audience from the bottom right side of the screen when Mickey and the gang all rejoice at Pete's defeat when Minnie drives Pete's car through.

This was Oswald's first appearance in a Disney animation production in more than 84 years. However, Oswald's cameo was so well hidden that it was not noticed by the public that Oswald even appeared in the short until this fact was announced by Jerry Beck on his Facebook page in a post made on September 28, 2013.

Video Games

Epic Mickey

Oswald is one of the main characters in the Nintendo Wii video game Epic Mickey. In the game, he is the ruler of The Wasteland--a world where forgotten, rejected and retired Disney creations reside. Working with the Mad Doctor, he constructs robotic Beetleworx as a construction crew for his Disneyland-inspired vision. But then, an accident caused by Mickey Mouse early in his career creates a monstrous Shadow Blot that brings the Wasteland into ruins. The Mad Doctor then betrays Oswald and sides with the Blot. After a long battle, Oswald and his sweetheart Ortensia seal the Blot inside a large jug at the top of Mickeyjunk Mountain, but at the cost of Ortensia's life.

Ever since, Oswald remains at the mountain to guard the jug while nursing his grudge against Mickey for having stolen the life and career that could have been his. When Mickey arrives, Oswald ends up reluctantly helping him on his quest to get out of Wasteland by refurbishing the Moonliner rocket in Tomorrow City, although Oswald is implied to be tempted to remove Mickey's heart and take it for himself on that rocket ride. After defeating the fake Shadow Blot at the summit of Mickeyjunk Mountain, Mickey reveals that he is responsible for the Thinner Disaster and the Blot and a furious Oswald accidentally releases the real Blot, who steals Mickey's heart and begins to destroy Wasteland. The two decide to use the rocket to attack the Blot, only to land in Dark Beauty Castle, where the plans change to using fireworks to do the job.

The Blot ends up consuming Oswald, Mickey, and Gremlin Gus. Then the three have to fight the Blot from the inside. Oswald is stuck to the Blot's walls but is freed by Mickey. He catches Mickey's released heart but takes a good look at it, then, though a bit reluctantly, gives it back to Mickey, and launches the fireworks, which destroys the Blot once and for all. In doing so, Oswald is the real hero; he gives back Mickey's heart in the end, and then saves the day. The impact causes Oswald and Ortensia to crash back to Mean Street, and causes Mickey to leave Wasteland. In the shower of Paint that results from the explosion, Wasteland is restored and Ortensia is revived, helping to seal Mickey and Oswald's friendship and perhaps even extending into a true brotherhood.

Originally, Oswald was to play a far more negative role. He was meant to be the main villain during the game's early stages. He and the Blot were originally going to combine and become the Storm Blot, but this was soon dropped and Oswald eventually became an anti-hero with a boss battle before finally settling down to deuteragonist.

Epic Mickey 2

In the sequel to Epic Mickey, the Mad Doctor returns to Wasteland, claiming to have reformed and offering to help protect the world against a new threat in the form of natural disasters. Oswald teams up with Mickey to save the day once again. To aid Mickey, Oswald has a remote that can defeat or redeem enemies with electricity, like Mickey's paint. Oswald's remote can turn Beetleworx into allies, and power machines. Oswald's other powers are the use of his ears as a helicopter to float and to remove his arm and use it as a boomerang to get items or hit things and enemies.

Epic Mickey Power of Illusions

Oswald appears in the game to Mickey as he re-enters Wasteland. Because Mizrabel was forgotten, she brought Castle Illusion to Wasteland to drain the currently famous characters and threatens Wasteland's safety as well, and had kidnapped Minnie to lure Mickey in. In the game, Oswald monitors the hub stations as parts of the castle break away to inform Mickey of the captured toons and locate Mizrabel herself.

Disney Infinity 2.0

In Disney Infinity 2.0, Oswald appears as a townsperson.

Disney Infinity 3.0

He will appear as a summonable character by Mickey in Disney INFINITY 3.0.

Relationships

Mickey Mouse

Ortensia

Bunny Children

Goofy Goof

Donald Duck

Daisy Duck

Clarabelle Cow

Horace Horsecollar

Minnie Mouse

Gremlin Gus

Homer the Cat

Pete

The Mad Doctor

The Shadow Blot

Mizrabel

Knownable Relatives

  • Mickey Mouse (Surrogate Half Little Brother)
  • Ortensia (Wife)
  • Bunny Children (Children)
  • J. P Whiskers (Father in Law)
  • Homer the Cat (Brother in Law)

Trivia

  • Mickey and Oswald may not look alike in their final forms, but if you push in Mickey's snout and give him long floppy ears and a round lower body, he looks just like Oswald.
  • Oswald has black fur and blue shorts, but in Japan, he has blue fur and yellow shorts.Oswald's Japanese appearance may have inspired the character design for the Bunny Children, as each Bunny Child is blue in color.
  • Despite having a different appearance in Japan, his usual design can still be seen there, as the Oswald float (in Tokyo Disney Land's Disney Easter Wonderland event) still have his original design and his design wasn't changed in the Japanese release of Epic Mickey.
  • Oswald's name is also different in Japanese, as he is called Oswald Rabbit instead of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • Oswald is (supposedly) the first actual cartoon character.
  • Oswald is similar to Bonkers character Fall-Apart Rabbit in that they are both rabbits who have the ability to remove their body parts, and are friends with famous toons. Fall-Apart and Oswald were also both voiced by Frank Welker.
  • In the Bonkers comics, there is a character named Nimrod the Rabbit, a comedian and keeper of the Toonstone, that looks like the way Oswald would look if he received a modern treatment.
  • Fourteen years prior to Epic Mickey, Oswald's video game debut was in a Sega Master System game titled Woody Woodpecker's Frustrated Vacation, released only in Brazil in 1996. This game notably marked Oswald's final appearance in his Walter Lantz design.
  • Mickey and Oswald, though similar in appearance, are not exactly related. For this to be true, Pete, Goofy, and Donald would be considered his brothers as well being that they are characters of Walt Disney as well. However, Mickey was created by Walt to replace the loss of Oswald. Walt himself has never confirmed their relationship to each other so therefore Oswald and Mickey as brothers is not valid. However, they are deemed generally half-brothers by fans due to this conclusion though the relationship was not stated and from the fact Walt played a role in both their creations.
  • In his earlier appearances, Oswald was voiced by June Foray. However, he was voiced by BillNolan, Pinto Colvig, Mickey Rooney and later on is currently voiced by Frank Welker, making his earlier appearances the only times he was voiced by a woman.
  • On House of Mouse, in the episode "Dennis the Duck", the titular character of the same episode could be seen as a duck version of Oswald, as they have a similar style.
  • Unused concept art by Disney artist Kevin Nelson for Wreck-It Ralph had Oswald being proposed as a racer for Sugar Rush. It is unknown if it was supposed to be a simple cameo, an actual appearance (probably showing him as the protagonist of an in-universe Epic Mickey game), or if Nelson was only joking when he drew him in that concept-art, even not considering the possibility of putting this scene on-screen.
  • In Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Oswald's ability to use his ears as propellers for flight bears a resemblance to the same technique used by Cream the Rabbit from the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
  • Oswald appeared on a page in the Inside Out book, The Bing Bong Book.
  • If Oswald wasn't bought by Universal, he would've had Mickey's life as the most popular cartoon character in the world.
  • Unused concept art by Disney artist Kevin Nelson for Wreck-It Ralph had Oswald being proposed as a racer for Sugar Rush.

Voice Actors

  • Japanese :
  • English : Bill Nolan (1929), Pinto Colvig (1930 – 1931), Mickey Rooney (1931 – 1932), Frank Welker (2010 – Present)
  • English voice actress : June Foray (1943)

all information on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit came from http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Oswald_the_Lucky_Rabbit

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