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Tag Archives: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

December 12

December 12, 1927 – The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film Empty Socks Premieres in Theaters


On December 12, 1927, the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film Empty Socks was released to theaters. It was the ninth Oswald film to be created, and was, until 2014, considered to be a lost film, with only a small fragment of the film in existence in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The film was donated by a private collector to the Norwegian Film Institute, with the archive of the Institute subsequently handed over to the National Library of Norway. The film, discovered with a copy of the other previously-lost film Tall Timber, was screened at the National Library on December 17, 2014.


August 20

August 20, 1928 – The Last Disney Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film Hot Dog Premiered in Theaters

Oswald Hot Dog

On August 20, 1928, the final Disney created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film, Hot Dog, was released to theaters. The short film marked the end of the working relationship between Charles Mintz and Walt Disney, with Disney losing the character to Mintz after refusing to resign with a 20% cut in profits; this would ultimately lead to the creation of Mickey Mouse. The film has since become a lost cartoon, with only the title card and a storyboard page surviving.

July 23

July 23, 1928 – The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film Sleigh Bells Premieres in Theaters


“The restoration of [Sleigh Bells] will introduce many audiences to Disney’s work in the silent period – it clearly demonstrates the vitality and imagination of his animation at a key pint in his early career.”

On July 23, 1928, the 25th Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film Sleigh Bells was released to theaters. Originally considered a lost film, it was discovered by the British Film Institute (BFI) in their collection in 2015. The collection had been uploaded to an online database, where a Disney researcher spotted the film. Before being spotted, the film reel was earmarked to be thrown away, but BFI’s upload ultimately saved the film. The film premiered for the public on December 12, 2015, almost 90 years after its premiere.

April 16

April 16, 1928 – The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film Ride ‘em Plowboy is Released to Theaters


On April 16, 1928, the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film Ride ‘em Plowboy premiered in theaters. It was the 18th Oswald short film released, and has since been considered a lost film. The only remnant of the film that survives to this day is a storyboard page depicting Oswald tilling a field, using a cow as a plane, and a rooster in a musical hen house.

February 20

February 20, 1928 – The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film Africa Before Dark is Released

Africa Before Dark_Oswald

On February 20, 1928, the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film Africa Before Dark was released to theaters. The short, the thirteenth Oswald creation, was originally thought to be a lost film. In 2009, a full 33mm nitrate copy of the film was located in the Austrian Film Museum in Vienna. After being restored by the Walt Disney Animation Studios, was unveiled at a special screening, along with the located short Poor Papa, with score by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra on June 13, 2015.

February 9

February 9, 2006 – Disney Trades to Reacquire Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Mickey Oswald

“Oswald is definitely worth more than a fourth-round draft choice. I’m going to be a trivia answer someday.” – Al Michaels

On February 9, 2006, Disney-owned ESPN finalized a trade with NBC-Universal, trading the contract of NFL play-by-play analyst Al Michaels for one of Disney’s earliest popular creations, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald, Walt’s first animated character, was lost to producer Charles B. Mintz at Universal in 1928. Mintz not only took all of Walt’s animators, but the character Oswald himself when Walt could not in good conscience accept the terms Mintz offered for a new contract. The trade gave Disney all rights to the earliest Oswald cartoons, as well as creative control of the character. Also included were exclusive rights for ESPN from NBC Sports, which included expanded coverage of the Kentucky Derby, the Olympics, and Notre Dame college football games until 2011 (or 2012 in the case of the Olympics).

January 23

January 23, 1928 – The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film Neck ‘n’ Neck is Released to Theaters


On January 23, 1928, the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film Neck ‘n’ Neck was released to theaters. It was the eleventh Oswald cartoon produced, and has since become lost. It was animated by Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising, who would go on to found the Warner Brothers and MGM animation studios. According to a few sketches found in the archives, the short was about a race between Oswald and a police car.

November 28

November 28, 2011 – The Lost Oswald Short Film Hungry Hobos is Found in the UK

An image from a lost 1928 Walt Disney short, HUNGRY HOBOS. Photo Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios.

“When we checked this film we couldn’t quite believe our eyes. For an archive, finding a lost masterpiece is incredible – you just don’t think it will happen to you.” – Amanda Huntley, HuntleyFilm Archives

On November 28, 2011, it was announced that a copy of the lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film Hungry Hobos was found in the Huntley Film Archives, an independent film archive. The film, originally released in 1928, is the last remaining copy of the short in existence. It was also announced that the film would be auctioned in Los Angeles in December, with the proceeds to further the restoration of films in the archive. The Walt Disney Company, aware of the discovery, won the short at the auction for a sum of $31,250. After a year-long restoration, the film was debuted at the 39th Annual Telluride Film Festival in Telluride, Colorado.

May 14

Posted on

May 14, 1928 – The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film Hungry Hobos is Released to Theaters


“This cartoon as far as we know hasn’t been seen in over half a century.” – Dave Bossert, producer, creative director and head of special projects at Walt Disney Animation Studios

On May 14, 1928, the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film Hungry Hobos was released to theaters. The short was considered one of the “lost” Oswald shorts, but was discovered in the Huntley Film Archives in England. The company, a stock footage company, found the 16 mm film in a vault, surprising many who assumed that the short had been destroyed as many films of the time had been. The film was then bought back by Disney for $31,250, and digitally restored. It was then screened at UCLA’s Silent Film Event in 2013, with a new score for the film written by Emmy-award winning composer Mark Watters, best known for his work with the Have a Laugh series for the Disney Channel. The short itself has Oswald, along with the early version of Peg-Leg Pete riding the trains as hobos and playing checkers, with comical results.

November 14

November 14, 1927 – The Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Short Film The Ocean Hop is Released to Theaters


$25,000 prize for first ocean hop – New York to Paris”

On November 14, 1927, the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short film The Ocean Hop was released to theaters. It was the sixth Oswald short produced by the Disney Studio. There are several similarities to this short and the Mickey Mouse short film,

A prize is being offered for the first flight from New York to Paris, known as an “ocean hop.” Oswald is considered the dark horse entry, and shows up with a simple mechanical plane that makes lots of clanging and banging noises when turned on. Although mocked by another contestant, Oswald believes that his plan will succeed. The contestant comes up with a diabolical plan of placing gun near the wheels, keeping Oswald grounded. The race begins, and Oswald is unable to move thanks to the gum. The plane struggles, and the evil contestant is able to take the lead.

Oswald's friends help create a new plane to help him win the contest

Oswald’s friends help create a new plane to help him win the contest

Oswald’s wings and propeller take off, leaving him behind. Luckily, some friends decide to stop by and help, and set up a new plane, with a dachshund as the plane’s base. Finally, Oswald is ready to win the contest. The evil contestant passes by a sign that directs people to either Paris or the North Pole, and directs everyone else to the North Pole. In the morning, the evil contestant thinks he has nothing to worry about, when he spies Oswald flying by. He takes a gun and shoots the balloons propping the plane up, and Oswald falls to the ground, saved by a parachute. When he arrives on the ground, he’s actually landed in Paris amongst a cheering crowd.