Recognizing the Oswald the Unlucky Rabbits

Our achievements should never be overlooked, even in the face of leading talent


Alyssa Barrios

Oswald the Rabbit bears some resemblance to today’s iconic Mickey Mouse

Accomplishments are fleeting; the attention lasts merely a day or two before people move on to the next big thing: a new Facebook post or fidget spinner. Hard working individuals are shoved to the side and disregarded as “lesser,” while those with more popularity can complete any small task and lavish themselves with fame. None are so prevalent in this stature than one unlucky rabbit named Oswald.

On Sept. 15, 1927, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit for Universal Pictures. Oswald quickly went from a rising star to a mere fad. His demise didn’t center around the quality of the animations but of one iconic figure: Mickey Mouse.

After Universal seized the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Disney created Mickey Mouse, the cornerstone mascot of all cartoons and a character inspired by Oswald. Mickey’s success over Oswald is still seen today: a lot more people remember “Steamboat Willie” over “Trolley Troubles” despite both being equally funny and entertaining animations to watch. In addition, after “The Walt Disney Company” bought back the rights to Oswald in 2006, he only ever appeared alongside Mickey either playing minor roles or Mickey’s partner in the “Epic Mickey” video games.

People considered Oswald an unimportant backdrop to the prosperous mouse, much akin to how people treat us in comparison to thriving friends or celebrities-ignoring the goals we accomplish and instead focusing on bandwagoning on others. When the attention is centered solely around them, our achievements have no impact or meaning–we’re merely the backdrop.

Even though Mickey Mouse is the apparent factor for Oswald’s fall, the blame is often incorrectly placed on Universal Pictures for removing the essence of what made cartoons enjoyable to watch-changing Oswald’s design and style to appeal to a younger audience. However, there’s no mistaking that Mickey and Disney destroyed Oswald’s popularity since they diverted attention away from him, with no amount of talent being able to save the rabbit.

Oswald doesn’t deserve to be disdained due to a mere clone that’s more popular. It is disrespecting the makers of the original cartoon and shatters the opportunity to have innovative and endearing Oswald cartoons to watch. However, people should understand that ignoring Oswald is no different from ignoring talent and penalizing creativity in the real world.

The issue with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is more indicative of a larger societal issue: lack of recognition. People generally want others to care about what they’re doing in order to feel their life is validated in this world. This allows them to make a living off of hard work and be able to put smiles on people’s faces, which is never unfulfilling.

However, if people really want their work to be recognized, then they can’t ignore all the Oswalds in the world. They should be honoring and cherishing those who may not be as good as them but try just as hard.

The simplest act anyone can perform is being respectful of others’ opinions and abilities. Watch an old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon and value its elegance; focus and love the Oswald the Lucky Rabbits in your life-the people who work arduously to attain their goals-as it not only makes a happier world but will reciprocate for your hard work one day.