Mickey Mouse is such an incredibly iconic character that immediately evokes certain emotions and ideas in your mind at just the utterance of his name. Admit it, it just happened to you right now. Whether he evokes a smile, a sense of awe at the craft of Ub Iwerks or warm thoughts about Walter Elias Disney, Mickey Mouse continues to have an impact to this day. But before Mickey ever whistled his way into your hearts there was another, and he was a rabbit.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was Walt’s cartoon star before Mickey Mouse ever had the need to enter our world. But Walt lost the rights to the character in 1928 which led to the eventual creation and meteoric rise of Mickey. Fast forward to 2006, where Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger put together a rather peculiar swap between Disney and Universal that sent sports commentator Al Michaels to NBC in exchange for the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Finally Oswald was home and it sent a signal throughout the Walt Disney Company that was greater than a little long-forgotten rabbit could ever seem to carry. Honor the past when building the future.
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Finally, Oswald is home.
Soon Oswald was to be everywhere, though in a much more measured and calculated way then the often forceful approach the Walt Disney Company takes today when promoting franchises. He appeared in the Epic Mickey video game series whose lack of success lied more with poor gameplay mechanics than with the inclusion of the Lucky Rabbit. The Disney California Adventure transformation saw the inclusion of Oswald’s Tires an obvious nod and guests could purchase Oswald Ears much like the iconic Mickey Ears only of course with a slightly different shape. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit made his first character meet and greet appearances at a Disney park earlier this year at Tokyo Disney Sea. And now Oswald makes his way onto Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure beginning on September 14, 2014 and you too can be part of the Disney future that honors the past. [/column]