Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

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Black text and an illustration of Oswald the rabbit on a white background.

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Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is a cartoon character created by Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney.  He was devised as a character for animated shorts distributed by Universal Studios in the 1920s and 30s. 

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit debuted in 1927 in a cartoon called "Trolley Troubles", which was a major success.  The profits from the Oswald series of cartoons allowed the fledgling Walt Disney Studios to expand, growing to a team of nearly 20.  When Walt Disney met with Universal Studios in 1928 to renegotiate their contract, he refused a 20% cut in pay, ending their partnership, and allowing Universal to take the rights to Oswald.  Walt and Ub subsequently created Mickey Mouse later that year, eclipsing the popularity of Oswald, and jump-starting the Golden Age of Animation.  As the property of Universal, Oswald was featured in an additional 142 animated shorts throughout the 1930s.  Oswald continued in comic books from the 1940s through the 1960s. 

In 2006, Disney CEO, Bob Iger, made a deal with NBC Universal.  Disney traded ABC and ESPN sportscaster Al Michaels to NBC Sports in exchange for the rights to several creative properties, including Oswald.  Since re-acquiring the rights to the character, Disney has released Oswald merchandise, featured him in video games and included him in Disney theme park attractions.

Catalog ID EN0400