23 March 2008

Hoppy Easter

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit stopped by today and wanted to wish all of the Main Street Gazette readers a "Hoppy Easter!"

Oswald was a Walt Disney creation. After the Alice Comedies, and before Mickey Mouse, Oswald was Disney's focus. Walt Disney created 26 Oswald cartoons, but, when Disney went to renew his contract with Universal he was told by his distributor Charles Mintz that Disney would take a twenty percent budget cut or else the studio would find someone else to create the cartoons. This was due to the way contracts were written up at the time. Not only would Walt Disney lose the character of Oswald, but Mintz also revealed he had hired away nearly all of Disney's animators. These negotiations instilled in Walt the desire to never again allow his creations to be controlled by another party. On this idea, he would stand firm throughout his life.

On the return trip home from losing Oswald, Walt Disney created a little mouse named Mortimer Mouse. So the story goes, Lillian Disney did not like the name and it was replaced by Mickey Mouse.

Oswald's tale with Disney was not done, however. In February 2006 it was announced that the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit would be returned to Disney, now under the watchful eye of Bob Iger. Alongside Oswald, Disney, more specifically ESPN, would gain the rights to expanded highlights of the Olympic Games (through 2012), Notre Dame Football (through 2011), and the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (both through 2011). As well, ESPN also gained the rights Friday coverage of the Ryder Cup, along with extended highlights (through 2014). For Universal's part, they received Emmy-winning sportscaster, Al Michaels in the deal.

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