Many people assume that Walt Disney's first successful character was Mickey Mouse, but while Mickey is definitely his most famous character, he wasn't the first huge success that Walt Disney had. That honor goes to a little rabbit named Oswald.
Oswald was a plucky little rabbit who became an overnight success years before Mickey Mouse. Walt thought highly of the little guy and had high hopes for his success. Unfortunately, Universal Studios had other plans. They wanted Oswald all to themselves and since Walt had agreed to sign away the copyright to Oswald in exchange for Universal's distribution deal, there was nothing he could do. Never one to give up, Walt created the one and only Mickey Mouse who became a worldwide phenomenon while his older brother Oswald became a footnote in animation history.
Fast forward to just a few years ago. Disney CEO Bob Iger studied up on company history before taking the reins and promised Diane Disney Miller that he would get Oswald back. And he came through on his promise! NBC, now a part of Universal Studios, wanted the contract of an ABC Sports anchor and Bob Iger saw the opportunity to get Walt's first creation back in the family fold. The agreement was signed and Oswald returned to stand beside his younger brother in the Disney family, right where he belongs!