ABC Sportscaster Traded for Rabbit

Whilst I let my brain page out one task and page in another, a quick post…

Disney has announced that sportscaster Al Michaels has been traded to NBC/Universal for a cartoon rabbit, rights to Friday coverage of the next four Ryder Cups through 2014, and granted increased usage of Olympic highlights through 2012 and other NBC properties through 2011. Also included with Michaels was expanded highlight rights to ABC and ESPN event.

So who is this rabbit? Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Who is Oswald you ask? Simply put: the first Disney character.

Oswald starred in a series of 26 silent cartoons made by Walt Disney and Ub Iwers between 1927 and 1928 for Charles Mintz, who contracted with Universal for the distribution. The first Oswald cartoon was Trolley Troubles, released September 5, 1927. Between that year and the next, Disney’s studio produced over two dozen black and white, silent Oswald cartoons, which were very favorably received by reviewers. In 1928, Disney tried to increase the budget for the animation, but Universal (the distributor) refused, actually insisting on a cut in budget. Rather than accept the cut, Disney relinquished his creation. When Walt lost the rights to Oswald, he came up with the character of Mickey Mouse. Mintz gave the series to his brother-in-law, George Winkler, who set up his own studio, manned by several ex-Disney animators, to produce new Oswald cartoons for Universal. The Oswald character was later continued by Walter Lantz. Sound was added by Universal, the copyright holder, to some of the Disney Oswald cartoons in the early days of television. Oswald was the first Disney character to generate merchandise: a candy bar, a stencil set, and a pinback button.

Why now? Evidently, The Walt Disney Co. had been trying to reacquire the rabbit for some time. Bob Iger indicated when he took command that he wanted to bring Oswald back to Disney. This was an important factor in mending fences with the Disney family. According to Walt Disney’s daughter Diane Disney Miller, “Having Oswald around again is going to be a lot of fun.”

In other news, evidently Ken is attempting to reignite his relationship with Barbie, who left him two years ago for Blaine. Ken has returned wearing a beach-wear ensemble complete with board shorts and white T-shirt. According to her publicist (I don’t make this up, folks), Barbie “appreciates the new look Ken is sporting.”. I guess she’s a girl who is swayed by the looks of her boy-toy.

[As an aside, as I was preparing this post, I kept typing “Oswald, the Lucky Rabbi”. Interesting slip of the fingers there.]

Now, back to work…