Lost 1927 Walt Disney Film Featuring Oswald The Lucky Rabbit Found In Norway

Marlin lost Nemo, Dory lost her parents, and Cinderella lost her glass slipper. However, Disney lost one of its most iconic films they ever developed, until now. A library in Norway, near the Arctic Circle, randomly found the film Empty Socks in its archived collection.

Empty Socks features one of Disney’s earliest characters, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald is the predecessor to Mickey Mouse, and was created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. Although finding an early Oswald film is quite special, Empty Socks is the very first Christmas-themed Disney movie, according to the Huffington Post, which makes its discovery exceptionally exciting.

The National Library of Norway has been sorting through its archived films and preserving them in digital format for everyone to have access to. Archivist Kvale Soerenssen didn’t realize the library possessed such a treasure, which was stored upon two reels in an unmarked box. He assumed it was simply a Felix the Cat movie. However, David Gerstein, a writer and animation historian, contacted the library and advised that they might possess the treasure. After exchanging information about the found footage, it was determined that it is of great significance.

A frame from the recently-discovered Disney cartoon
A frame from the recently-discovered Disney cartoon

Originally, the film was a full 5:30 minutes in length, but damage to the movie has removed between 30 and 60 seconds from the overall reel. According to an article posted in Yahoo! Movies, a 25-second sequence is preserved at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. There is no confirmation if that footage is the missing portion from the newly found reel.

The National Library in Norway has completed the digitization of the film and sent a copy to Disney for their archives. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is a significant character in Disney lore, appearing in 26 movies total, as well as some other shorts. Recently, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit has made a resurgence in the Epic Mickey game franchise, partnering alongside his counterpart Mickey Mouse. Fans of the video game series Kingdom Hearts have wondered if Oswald will make an appearance as a keyblade wielder, as well.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey mouse shaking hands, from Epic Mickey
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey mouse shaking hands, from Epic Mickey

Alongside the discovery of Empty Socks, another Oswald film was found titled Tall Timber, which was the last film featuring the Lucky Rabbit in 1928. Soon after, Disney and Iwerks lost the rights to Oswald during a contract dispute. Disney regained the rights to him in 2006, when they traded sportscaster Al Michaels to Universal in exchange for the return of their character.

[Photo Courtesy: The Huffington Post]

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