When the 84-year-old Japanese researcher Yasushi Watanabe bought an animated film decades ago when he was still a high school student, he was far from realizing that he had acquired one of Oswald's few surviving testimonies, Mickey Mouse's predecessor.
The cost of 500 yen (nearly four euros at current prices) was discovered by the rare Walt Disney cartoons "Neck & Neck" that centered on Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit, the lucky rabbit, a hero created by Disney, before Mickey Mouse, who will return 90 next Sunday.
The discovery was reported by the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, contacted by historian Yasushi Watanabe, aged 84, after reading the book "Oswald," Lucky Rabbit: The Search for Cartoon Disney Lost, "published a year ago by David Bossert, a Disney studio manufacturer.
The book spoke about 26 short films produced by Disney in the early years with Oswald, which were lost. Watanabe acknowledged the possibility of having purchased one of these children more than 60 years ago.
Oswald was a long-haired figure with a small round black nose created by Disney in the 1920s, from which she lost copyright.
To replace him, he gave Mickey Mouse and his first film "Steamboat Willie," the first one to be presented 90 years ago on November 18, 1928.
Watanabe's film, Mickey Manga Spider, takes about five minutes in its original version, and two minutes in the assembly display on the small home projectors of the time. Tells about a policeman watching Oswald and his girlfriend in a motorcycle. As the trio walks through the streets, the hills and valleys, their characters and vehicles stretch and shrink, as if they are harmonies, forming a recurring technique in the films of the American producer and director.
Given the possibility of Watanabe, the Japanese newspaper contacted the author of the book, and Walt Disney, who confirmed that Mickey Manga Spider is one of the missing films whose original title is Neck and Neck. .
"We are absolutely happy to find out that there is a copy of the lost film," said Becky Cline, who heads the Walt Disney archive for the Japanese newspaper.
"As a fan of Disney for many years, I am delighted to be able to participate in this discovery," said Watanabe, a Japanese scientist specializing in the history of animation films.
The short film is now in Kobe Planet's archive, evaluating yet another 50-second copy of the same animation, recently discovered at the Kyoto Toy Film Museum.