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Al Michaels deal reunites Disney with original animated character - AP, 2/9/06


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  • Al Michaels deal reunites Disney with original animated character - AP, 2/9/06

    In exchange for allowing sportscaster Al Michaels to leave ABC early for a job at NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Co. is getting back a piece of its history - the first animated character created by Disney and the forerunner to Mickey Mouse.
    His name was "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit," and the cheeky bunny was created by Disney and his chief creative partner, Ub Iwerks, in 1927 at the request of Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal Pictures.
    Before Oswald, Disney and Iwerks had made a series of animated and live action shorts based on "Alice in Wonderland." The films were distributed by Charles Mintz.
    Disney cranked out 26 of the silent Oswald cartoons. The character proved popular and soon began appearing on merchandise.
    In 1928, Disney traveled to New York to negotiate a renewal of the contract to produce the Oswald series.
    Mintz balked at paying more for the series and instead suggested that Disney fold up shop and come to work for him.
    Disney refused. But what he didn't know was that Mintz had secretly hired away most of Disney's key animators - except Iwerks. Universal owned the rights to Oswald and would continue to create cartoons without Disney.

    In the deal announced Thursday, Disney will get the rights to the Oswald character plus all 26 shorts created by Disney. The deal, which also includes some sports content, does not includes the films and other products produced by Universal. Disney has not said what it will do with the cartoons, but a DVD release is likely.
    "When Bob (Disney president and CEO Robert Iger) was named CEO, he told me he wanted to bring Oswald back to Disney, and I appreciate that he is a man of his word," Walt Disney's daughter Diane Disney Miller said in a statement Thursday. "Having Oswald around again is going to be a lot of fun."
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  • #2
    Re: Al Michaels deal reunites Disney with original animated character - AP, 2/9/06

    The Walt Disney Company Press Release

    Mickey Mouse's Predecessor Rejoins Disney's Family of Animated Characters through Agreement with NBC/Universal
    Last edited by Darkbeer; 02-09-2006, 01:22 PM.
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