Lost Oswald The Lucky Rabbit Disney Cartoon Is Found

The discovery of a lost cartoon made by Walt Disney and starring Oswald The Lucky Rabbit gives new life to the 87-year-old classic.

image from the cartoon Sleigh Bells
Via British Film Institute
The film short “Sleigh Bells” stars Oswald The Lucky Rabbit and runs for about 6 minutes.

Where were you 87 years ago? A lot of you might not have been born. Not so for Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, a cartoon creation of Walt Disney. Oswald, who pre-dates Mickey Mouse, was a year old in 1928 when he appeared in the cartoon short titled “Sleigh Bells.”  After its first release in 1928, it wasn’t seen again and, until recently, was considered lost. 

But what was lost is now found, and at the British Film Institute! The BFI and Walt Disney Animation Studios announced this week that “Sleigh Bells” had been found in the BFI National Archive by a researcher browsing the organization’s online catalogue. Walt Disney Animation Studios took this only-known-print of the cartoon and created a new preservation print plus digital copies. 

“Sleigh Bells” will be seen again by the public for the first time at a December 12, 2015, event at BFI Southbank. The event is called “It’s A Disney Christmas: Seasonal Shorts,” and it’s touted to include animation from the early 1900s to present day, some rare, and the program runs for about 90 minutes. “Sleigh Bells” takes up approximately 6 of those minutes.

The character of Oswald The Lucky Rabbit had been mostly forgotten for a time because he was created when Disney was under contract to Universal, which retained rights to it. The Disney company only regained control of Oswald in 2006.

In 2014, another lost Oswald The Lucky Rabbit film dating from 1927 was discovered in Norway’s National Library. It is titled “Empty Socks” and runs for a little more than 5 minutes. 


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