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Be­fore there was Mickey there was Oswald the Lucky Rab­bit (BE­LOW), cre­ated by Walt Dis­ney and an­i­ma­tor Ubbe Eert “Ub” Iw­erks in 1927, back when Dis­ney Broth­ers Stu­dio was a lit­tle an­i­ma­tion hub within film gi­ant Uni­ver­sal. Peo­ple couldn’t get enough of the beam­ing bunny, who starred in his own se­ries of an­i­mated car­toons.

But when Walt tried to ne­go­ti­ate a bet­ter deal with Uni­ver­sal boss Charles Mintz in 1928, Charles re­fused. So Walt left, and Oswald stayed be­hind.

On the train ride home, ideas for a new char­ac­ter started to form. Ubbe drew up sev­eral car­toon an­i­mals – a cow, a horse, a frog – but Walt re­jected them all. Even­tu­ally Ubbe sketched a mouse and Walt knew he had his star.

He orig­i­nally dubbed the crea­ture Mor­timer but his wife, Lil­lian, thought the name should be snap­pier and catchier – so Mickey it was.

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