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Walt Disney was known for bringing animation to life and providing the voice to these fictional drawings. Although, he would have been an underdog if some business deals in the 1920s had gone sideways. People all over the world are familiar with the loving and funny character of Mickey mouse. But do you know what was Walt Disney’s first character? Only a few know that Mickey wasn’t the 1st Disney character.
Mickey mouse was definitely the first character created by the “Walt Disney Company.” Nevertheless, the first cartoon character by Walt Disney before Disney Studios was Oswald the lucky rabbit, that rose to fame.
Early Career & What Was Walt Disney’s First Character?
As a young boy, Walter Elias Disney was passionate about becoming an animator. When Walt Disney’s family moved to Kansas, he developed an interest in drawing and telling stories through his animation.
In 1917, the Disneys moved back to Chicago, Walt Disney’s hometown. There, he started taking art classes at McKinley High School, where he polished his skills as an animator. In 1919, he met Ub Iwerks through his job as a commercial illustrator.
How It All Started
In 1921, Walt and his chief animator, Iwerks, started a small studio “Laugh-O-Gram Studios.” It was a short-lived film studio from June 28, 1921, to November 20, 1923. The initial success of the studio made Disney hire more animators.
When Walt Disney started his animation studio, he was at a loss for an idea for his first cartoon. He had sold his distributor, Winkler, on the concept of a series of Alice Comedies. It was based on Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll. That was a good idea, but the Alice character was less popular then. Finding people to work on the series also took a lot of work.
In the beginning, Disney started creating animations of fairy tales. He invested six months in his first attempt to create the animated “Little Red Riding Hood,” which didn’t work out. As a result, the studio went bankrupt in 1923.
What Was Walt Disney’s First Character – Julius The Cat?
During his time in Laugh-O-Gram, he worked on some projects called “Alice Comedies” and “Alice’s Wonderland Adventures.” These projects consisted of animated shorts featuring a young girl, Alice, played by a seven-year-old Virginia Davis.
But the only problem was that nothing seemed to fit with Alice’s performance. So Disney began looking for other characters to use as animation in his new series to go along with Alice. He considered using Felix the Cat to leap along with Alice, but it wasn’t the right match.
Disney accompanied the little girl, Alice, with an animation of a cat, Julius, and a dog character named Pete. The cat was featured in several shorts and finally got its name, Julius, in a short, “Alice’s Egg Plant.” It was one of the first-ever animated cartoon characters created by Walt Disney. Disney accepted Julius, and the series became known as Julius the Cat in Alice Comedies.
The surprise success of “Alice Comedies” made Julius the cat famous nationwide. The primary motivation for the creation of Julius was that Charles Mintz (an American film producer) wanted the animations to have as many gags as possible. Julius was the perfect match to the energy performed by Alice in Walt Disney’s shorts.
On the insisting of Charles Mintz, Julius made his first appearance in Little Red Riding Hood, along with Pete. People didn’t know it by any name back then. Julius occasionally appeared in Walt Disney’s comics under the name “Mio Miao” in Italian and “Otto” in Swedish.
What Was Walt Disney’s First Character – Oswald The Lucky Rabbit?
Walt Disney’s career with Universal began in 1927. He signed a contract with the studio to produce short animated films. Universal wanted a character that was not only unique but also different than the others they already had.
Since there were already two animated cats, Julius and Felix, Disney decided to create a rabbit. Walt Disney and his chief animator, Ub Iwerks, created Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, a cartoon character in the 1920s. Oswald’s character is a significant part of the history of animation. It’s also a testament to the creativity and determination of Walt Disney.
The first Oswald the lucky rabbit cartoon, “Poor Papa,” was rejected by Universal due to its poor production and Oswald’s sloppy character. They then worked on another cartoon short, “Trolly Troubles,” which debuted on September 5, 1927. This animation starred the first appearance of Oswald character on the screen.
Oswald the lucky rabbit proved to be a success for Universal, and both the brothers, Walt and Roy, earned about $500 per Oswald the lucky rabbit short. Oswald’s success resulted in Disney making cartoons for Oswald the lucky rabbit for three more years with the studios.
This marked the beginning of Disney’s domination of the animation industry. The company continued to release hit after hit, including “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Fantasia,” and “Bambi.”
The earliest animated character created by Disney was the Oswald character. It also was the first Disney character to feature synchronized sound, a major innovation at the time. The character quickly became popular, and a series of short films featuring Oswald came into production.
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First Disney Cartoon Storyline
Oswald is one of Walt Disney’s first cartoon characters, and its first appearance in a live-action movie amazed the audience. Trolly Troubles by Universal Pictures was taking the world by storm. The lucky rabbit, Oswald, became Disney’s first success. It was the original Disney character and the oldest Disney character that portrayed personality through its animations.
As one of the top animators, Disney was influenced by showing personality through his drawings and on-screen. These images of a rabbit made Disney hopeful of doing something even better with his life. He later went on to create classics like Disney Princess Enchanted Tales, Little Mermaid, and many more Disney movies. Oswald’s adventures, especially with his Oswald the Lucky Rabbit children, were an inspiration.
In this short, the first Disney character, Oswald, drives around obstacles in a streetcar with his rabbit kids, some of whom reminded fans of characters from other stories like Fidget the Bat, and some other friends with outstanding self-confidence to accomplish his task. The funny part in this short was that at some point, Oswald detaches his foot, kisses it for good luck, and then reattaches it.
Universal Takes Control Of What Was Walt Disney’s First Character!
The film was a success for Universal and the beginning of Disney’s journey in the business as a successful animator. However, in 1928, Disney lost the rights to Oswald when he could not renew the contract with Universal Pictures, which held the distribution rights for Oswald’s films. This was a major blow to Disney, who had invested much time and resources into the character.
After Disney’s farewell, Universal continued to produce more of Oswald, but they faced a major problem: they needed the creative team behind the character. They hired a new team of animators to take over, but the quality of the cartoons declined, and the popularity of Oswald began to decrease.
Despite the setback, Universal continued its efforts but never got Oswald the fame that Walt Disney got him before he lost his rights. His popularity began to fade over time, and people completely forgot Oswald after the creation of Mickey Mouse.
People remember Oswald primarily as a footnote in Disney’s history. However, amidst the plethora of beloved blue and white Disney characters, Oswald’s significance as one of the early blue characters from Disney is a testament to the power of creativity and talent in the entertainment industry. Though overshadowed by Mickey Mouse’s iconic red shorts, Oswald’s presence in his distinctive blue dress remains an important part of the early days of animation.
The Walt Disney Company
In 1928, due to financial issues, Charles Mintz offered Disney a less important position, which he was sure to reject. This way, they forced Disney out of Universal Pictures. Despite this setback, Disney didn’t give up on animation. Instead, he and Iwerks created a new character named Mickey Mouse in 1928, quickly becoming even more popular than Oswald’s character. Mickey Mouse became the face of Disney and the company’s most recognizable character.
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Disney, with his brother, Roy, and his friend, Iwerks, built a foundation for a new company, The Walt Disney Company. Disney’s first character as the founder of the Walt Disney Company was Mickey Mouse. Charlie Chaplin’s character was the inspiration behind Mickey’s images to portray his stories to the world.
What Was Walt Disney’s First Character – Mickey Mouse?
Mickey Mouse made his first appearance in an animated short, “Plane Crazy.” But the first synchronized sound cartoon for a Disney character was “Steamboat Willie” in 1928, where Mickey played the main character. The Disney Company became a huge success after the introduction of Mickey.
Disney’s first character Oswald was the motivation behind Mickey’s creation. Disney wanted to create a similar character to Oswald but one with slightly different characteristics, such as round ears instead of long ones, to bring more joy to the Mickey Mouse character.
After his first film, The Walt Disney Company featured Mickey Mouse in numerous films. The mouse became the face of the company and rose Disney to fame. Disney introduced Minnie Mouse and some other characters to feature along with Mickey Mouse in his adventures.
Disney’s company regained the rights to Oswald in 2006, nearly 80 years after losing the character, through a trade with NBC Universal. The acquisition marked a milestone in the history of Disney and allowed the company to reunite with one of its earliest creations.
Although even after getting the rights back to Oswald, Mickey and the rabbit haven’t been featured together in any film. Oswald had 26 animated film shorts, but none was a collab with Mickey. Mickey mouse, on the other hand, has 18 full-length films.
Disney’s Characters In Video Games
Disney’s characters have been a staple in the entertainment industry for nearly a century. They have been featured in various mediums, including video games. From classic Disney films to theme park attractions and beyond, Disney’s beloved characters have captured the hearts of audiences of all ages.
One of the most notable examples of Disney characters in video games is the Kingdom Hearts franchise. This action role-playing game series, first released in 2002, features a mix of characters from the Disney and Final Fantasy universes.
Players control a young boy named Sora as he travels through various Disney-themed worlds, encountering Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and many others along the way. The series has become one of the most popular and best-selling video game franchises and has received numerous sequels and spin-off titles.
Epic Mickey Series
Another popular Disney video game franchise is the Epic Game series, which features Mickey Mouse as the main character. In these games, players control Mickey as he navigates through a twisted, alternate version of Disneyland and uses paint to interact with the world and solve puzzles.
The first Epic Mickey game was released in 2010 and received widespread critical acclaim for its unique gameplay mechanics and compelling storyline. A sequel, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, was released in 2012, and it introduced co-op play and added the ability to play as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a classic Disney character.
Disney’s animations have also been cast in other video game franchises, such as the Mario Party series and the Disney THINK Fast trivia game. One of the most significant ways Disney’s animations have become a part of the video game industry is through licensed merchandise and merchandise tie-ins.
From action figures to plush toys, a wide range of merchandise is available based on Disney cartoons and video games. This merchandise has become extremely popular with fans of all ages and has helped further cement Disney’s place in the gaming industry.
People often spread the news of Disney games through various channels, including social media, YouTube, and video game websites. Fans eagerly await announcements of new titles featuring their favorite Disney cartoons and quickly share their excitement on social media and online forums.
Legacy Lives On
Walt Disney is one of the most famous and influential figures in the entertainment industry. He created some of the world’s most beloved cartoons and stories, and his legacy continues to live on more than 50 years after his death.
In addition to his work in animation, Disney was also a visionary in the field of theme parks. In 1955, he opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the first-ever theme park. The park was an instant success and paved the way for creating Disney World in Florida and other Disney theme parks worldwide. These parks have become some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting millions of visitors every year.
Disney’s impact on the entertainment industry cannot be overstated. He changed how people thought about animation and theme parks, and his work has inspired countless artists, filmmakers, and entrepreneurs. He was a true innovator, constantly pushing the boundaries of what was possible and embracing new technologies to bring his stories to life.
Despite his passing in 1966, Disney’s legacy continues to live on. Disney has grown into a global media, owning properties such as ESPN, ABC, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm. The Walt Disney Studios continues to produce some of the world’s biggest and most beloved films, including the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universes.
Disney’s stories have become a part of popular culture and have been passed down from generation to generation. Mickey Mouse, in particular, is the world’s most recognizable and beloved character. Disney’s impact on the entertainment industry and popular culture is so profound that people often refer to him as a cultural icon.
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