Saturday, 20 August 2016

Oswald Posters

If you’ve looked into the history of old animation, you likely know the story behind Oswald the rabbit. He was created by Walt Disney in 1927 for films released by Universal. What Walt apparently didn’t realise is that when you work for someone, what you produce belongs to the someone. That meant Universal owned Oswald. With that in mind, Charlie Mintz, who had contracted with Disney to make the Oswald cartoons that he sold to Universal, raided the Disney staff in 1928 and started making Oswald cartoons himself, leaving Walt and Ub Iwerks to come up with a mouse we all know today.

What Mintz thought was a smart business move blew up in his face when Universal turned around and decided it wanted Walter Lantz and Bill Nolan to make its cartoons. Lantz, by his own account, was in tight with Universal boss Carl Laemmle. So Oswald moved to the Lantz studio in 1929.

Universal’s in-house magazine published these full-page ads for Oswald in 1933-35. Oswald had gone downhill by that point. Like most characters in the early ‘30s, he sang and danced and did things while weird stuff happened around him. That became passé. He became pretty watered down and Lantz started looking for new starring characters to take his place. But these ads are pretty attractive. One isn’t actually for Oswald but has a rabbit design similar to what Oswald ended up looking like in the later ‘30s.

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