One of the most interesting animation stories of ’06 took place last February when Disney acquired the rights to one of Walt’s earliest creations, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Unlike Universal, who owned the character for decades and did nothing with it, Disney has recognized the potential market for this classic character and is planning a major Oswald push in 2007.
A Disney insider writes to let me know that last week they held an internal launch party for Oswald at Disney Consumer Products in Burbank. The party, which included a live performance by the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA, who mixed classic Oswald cartoons with contemporary music, also featured a gallery exhibit displaying some of the upcoming merchandise. Products include vinyl toys, clothing and stationary. From the exhibit: “Oswald will benefit from a more refined retail launch, focusing on the ‘couture’ market…this equates to high-end merchandise from renowned designers, ranging from apparel to accessories.” Disney also just announced an ’07 dvd release of Oswald cartoons. From the looks of the merchandise, it’s nice to see that Disney is staying relatively faithful to the character’s roots and also keeping him black-and-white. And thankfully, no baggy pants or backwards baseball cap…yet.