April 30, 1928 – The Oswald Short Film, Ozzie of the Mounted, is Released to Theaters
“This cartoon, as usual, is loaded with a lot of great gags. I love Oswald during this period – he looks great. He’s got lots of personality, and he was a very appealing character.” – Animation Expert Jerry Beck
On April 30, 1928, the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short, Ozzie of the Mounted, was released to theaters. This short would actually be remade later by Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising over at Warner Brothers, which was then titled Big Man from the North. Most scenes were redone shot by shot. This short also contains the element of a mechanical animal, which Iwerks and Disney used fairly often in the Oswald cartoons.
The short opens on a blustery winter day in front of the headquarters of the Mounted Police. Inside, the police chief is pacing the floor, puffing on his corncob pipe. The door opens, and in slides Oswald, giving the chief a salute. The chief points out a wanted poster for Peg Leg Pete, which causes Oswald to shake from fear. The chief demands that Oswald go capture Pete, so Oswald screws up his courage and sets out into the blizzard.
Outside, Oswald winds up his mechanical horse and sets out to find Pete, who is then seen out in the snow with snowshoes, skulking around. Oswald, traveling the other direction, crashes into Pete around the corner of a bar, and is flung from his horse. He looks to see who he crashed into, and is surprised to see that it’s the villain he’s been looking for. He pulls out a gun and points it at Pete, who, by standing alone, is able to intimidate the rabbit. Oswald shoots the gun, only to have the bullet bounce off Pete’s stomach and knock Oswald over.
Pete, seeing an opportunity, begins to strangle Oswald, squeezing the rabbit’s tongue out of his mouth. As Oswald appears to be dead, Pete looks up at the audience in horror and quickly slips away, hitching a ride on a nearby dogsled. Oswald finally gets up, pulls his tongue back in, and begins to fix his mechanical horse so he can give chase. After some disastrous results, Oswald finally fixes the horse, and begins to follow Pete.
Many gags ensue on this chase, including Oswald getting stuck in a loose spring from the body of his horse, and ending up flattened when the horse pulls him into a branch. Pete ends up losing his sled team and begins to slide down a hill, out of control, until he hits a rock. Unfortunately for Pete, the rock is actually a bear, who growls and runs after Pete. Oswald, seeing the bear, also tries to flee, but is caught by the pants by the bear, who sends Oswald flying to the nearby jail. Seeing his chance, Oswald flings open the door to the jail, telling Pete to run in for safety. Oswald traps Pete and the bear in the jail, and the short ends with Oswald laughing at his villain’s misfortune.