London: The Walt Disney Company is bringing the sketches of ‘Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’ to life by animating them, 85 years after they were drawn.
The rabbit was one of Disney’s earliest characters and was created back in 1927, a year before Mickey Mouse was born, and had starred in 26 cartoons in the 1920s and 30s.
Archivists have used dozens of Disney’s drawings from his personal sketchbook to create a new cartoon.
Harem Scarem was unveiled at Disney’s D23 fan event and can be viewed online.
Disney and long-time collaborator Ub Iwerks had created the character while working at Universal before he set up his own empire.
Oswald’s oversized ears, big eyes and shorts bear a striking similarity to Disney’s next creation, Mickey Mouse, who was inspired by a mouse who would visit his drawing board.
However, the then 27-year-old Disney had to relinquish control of the character when he left Universal.
In 2006, Disney chief executive Bob Iger and NBC Universal struck a deal to see ownership of Oswald being returned to the company. The character has already featured in video game ‘Epic Mickey’, and is thought to have a starring role in the game’s forthcoming sequel.
“Walt would be so excited about having Oswald back,” the BBC quoted Disney archives director Becky Cline as telling Yahoo News.
“And for a Disney fan, to get the character back in the fold, is really exciting. To see something they’ve never seen before,” she said.
The new 90-second animation does not change the original sketches, but sees them placed in order to create a basic animating effect.
The company has just announced plans to update the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for a new TV animation.