A STAR IS BORN
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.