Oswald the Lucky Rabbit; war spoof with animals and toy guns on a poster that advertises the Winkler movie 'Great Guns,' 1927. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Walt Disney Hits The Jackpot With Oswald The Lucky Rabbit
As the "Alice Comedies" were winding down in 1926, a new opportunity appeared for Walt Disney when his distributor, Charles Mintz of Winkler Pictures, managed to work out a deal with Universal Pictures, which was looking to reenter the cartoon market. After the studio approved Walt’s preliminary concept and sketches of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, he shifted all his focus toward it.
Walt ensured that Oswald’s character was well fleshed out, rather than simply being a vehicle for random, strung-together gags like his previous character, Julius. He wanted to write character-led comic situations, and in this, he landed a winning formula as he learned the importance of a strong and attractive central character.
Alongside his animator, Ub Iwerks, Walt fine-tuned Oswald to maximize likability and appeal, making the first Oswald short a hit among major trade publications with some even claiming it to be a great comic invention. Where Walt’s previous works were considered rigid and jerky, Oswald was more natural, loose, and visually appealing, resulting in funnier gags and more compelling animation.