Mickey Mouse origins: Oswald The Lucky Rabbit
You may have heard of a lil’ mouse called Mickey, but do you know of his bittersweet birth?
Well… before Mickey there was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Unfortunately he wasn’t particularly lucky for Disney, or perhaps he was.
Disney signed a contract with Universal Studios to animate a series of Oswald cartoons. After it’s sucess Disney wanted a budget increase to improve the quality of the animations but Charles Mintz of Universal refused and instead insisted Disney would take a 20% budget cut and as leverage, he reminded Disney that Mintz owned the character, and revealed that he had already signed most of Disney’s current employees to his new contract. Disney refused and disassociated himself with Oswald after the first season.
During the time they were completing the series Disney, Ub Iwerks and Les Clark worked on a character that would eventually become Disney’s iconic symbol: Mickey Mouse.