Disney Cartoon 'Harem Scarem' Found 85 Years Later: First Mickey Mouse, 'Oswald,' Unveiled (VIDEO)

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By Daniel Distant , Christian Post Reporter
June 19, 2012|9:31 am

Disney cartoon "Harem Scarem" was found after 85 years in the studio's archives. D23 found the cartoon, which feature original Walt Disney character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who eventually became the basis for popular icon Mickey Mouse.

The Disney cartoon "Harem Scarem," along with its protagonist Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was created in the 1920s and 1930s by Disney himself when he worked at Universal Studios as an animator. 26 cartoons were made total, but Disney lost the character and animation rights to Universal after having a dispute with producer Charles Mintz.

"Walt was so creative and always trying to push the envelope. Not to compensate himself but to make the character better and to make animation better," Disney archives director Becky Cline told Yahoo News. "Walt didn't understand that the contract he had signed gave Mintz ownership of the character. He was absolutely devastated."

At the time, Disney was only 27 years old, but his first failure would become an eventual success beyond his wildest dreams. From Oswald was birthed the idea of Mickey Mouse.

"He had a mouse he used to feed on his art board back in Kansas City. Mickey was kind of born in secret," Cline revealed. Years passed, with Disney and Mickey Mouse becoming successful in his own right. Oswald had been lost, but not forgotten.

Then, in 2006, Disney CEO Bob Iger saw the chance to recapture Oswald in a deal. During negotiations with NBC, Iger was able to forge a deal for the rights to the historical cartoon character once again.

"Walt would be so excited about having Oswald back," said Cline. "And for a Disney fan, to get the character back in the fold is reall exciting. To see something they've never seen before."

2012 is the 85th anniversary of Oswald, and to celebrate, Disney revealed some of the original animations of the character to a private audience in Burbank, San Francisco. Also, Oswald is slowly being integrated into Disney stories and lore: he was in the video game Epic Mickey and could appear in the sequel.

"Oswald is going to have even more fans after this. It's not a big stretch to see Mickey coming from Oswald. Oswald's a bit of an anarchist and a lothario," Cline admitted.

See one of the cartoons featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit below:

 

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