A new Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon has been found in the archives of Norway’s National Library.
“At the beginning, we didn’t know it was a lost cinematographic treasure,” library archivist Kvale Soerenssen said in a statement. “The film was in two reels which weren’t clearly labelled.”
“Empty Socks” initially had a 5 minute, 30 seconds runtime, but approximately 30 seconds are missing from the discovered footage. Previously, only about 25 seconds was known to have survived. That footage is held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was a creation of Walt Disney pre-dating Mickey Mouse. The character and cartoons were hugely popular, but Disney’s contract with Universal gave the company ownership of Oswald. When Disney unsuccessfully tried to renegotiate his contract, he chose to walk away from Universal and the character of Oswald, and he created a new character for his cartoons, Mickey Mouse.
In recent years, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit has gained a cult following among Disney fans, and in 2006, the Walt Disney Company negotiated with Universal for the rights to the Oswald character. Since gaining the rights, Oswald has made appearances in the Epic Mickey video games and the animated short Get a Horse!, and he has popped up occasionally at the Disney theme parks.
The timing for this discovery is perfect, as “Empty Socks” is a Christmas cartoon, and for Disney nerds, a new Oswald cartoon is the ultimate Christmas gift. Perhaps with this discovered cartoon, the Walt Disney Company will restore these cartoons and release a box set, including “Empty Socks,” in time for the next holiday season.
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)