Oswald the Lucky Rabbit? Heard of him? Most have not. He’s the key character of a great story. But, was it a tragedy or a historic turning point? Ready to be inspired? Read on…
He was the creation of Walt Disney and animator Ub Iwerks. By 1928, the plucky little rabbit was the most popular character on the silver screens across America. Walt and his Disney team had found success!
However, life has its surprises… During the peak of Oswald’s popularity, Walt, along with his wife Lillian, traveled to New York to renew his contract with film producer & distributor Charles Mintz of Universal Pictures.
In Mintz’ garish Fifth Avenue office, he shocked Walt with his “one and only offer” effective immediately: Walt’s advance per cartoon was to be cut from $2,250 to $1,800. Further, if that was unacceptable, Mintz would retain all rights and further production to Oswald and would do it with Disney’s own staff!
Meanwhile during this meeting, Disney animators were handing in their resignations to accept positions with Mintz’ company. With this understanding, Mintz then offered Walt the opportunity to retain the rights to Oswald if he could obtain rights to 50% of the Disney studios.
It was a hostile effort by Charles Mintz and it was a moment of truth for Walt. He had already experienced bankruptcy in his early efforts and worked hard to build up the success of Oswald. Yet, to Mintz’ surprise, Walt relinquished the rights to his own creation, thereby losing all his income, but retained ownership of his drastically diminished studio.
Walt and his wife left for their long trip home. It was a depressing journey. But, during that train ride home to Los Angeles, Walt sketched out his next character – a mouse he wanted to call Mortimer. His wife Lillian balked at the name and suggested that they change it to Mickey. Disney and Iwerks (who had chosen to stick with Walt) went on to create Mickey Mouse and Walt insisted that this time, he wouldn’t lose control of his creation and, as we say, the rest is history
So, here’s the question: Do you believe in YOURSELF and YOUR FUTURE?! You may have had many setbacks but unless you allow it, your past doesn’t need to predict your future! Let your tragedies be turning points! Learn. Grow. Regroup. Reinvent. Refocus on your future!
By the way, you may recognize the name Charles Mintz. Pixar in one of their continuing inside acknowledgments to animation history, named the villain in Up Charles Muntz. In addition, in 2006 Disney Company obtained rights once again to Oswald.