‘Sky Scrappers’ – Saturday Morning Cartoon
If Oswald the Lucky Rabbit looks more like Mickey Mouse than Bugs Bunny, there’s good reason for that: The 1920s cartoon star was co-created by Walt Disney before he made a mint with Mickey.
Disney came up with the idea along with animator Ub Iwerks, another cartoon pioneer who had a hand a couple years later in developing Mickey Mouse. But the pair tested the waters in both style and tone with a series of Oswald shorts that ran in 1927-28 (the series would continue without them until 1943 with Woody Woodpecker’s Walter Lanz in control). A year after they left Universal Pictures, Disney and Iwerks helped revolutionize animation with the first Mickey cartoon ‘Steamboat Willie.’
But none it would have been possible without Oswald leading the way. Like his mouse successor, the rabbit was pretty much an animal version of a typical 1920s person. In ‘Sky Scrappers,’ from 1928, he’s working on a construction site, building one of the towering skyscrapers that was going up all over the place at the time.
Oswald doesn’t do much work here, though. After about a minute or so into the short, he takes a lunch break, diving into a box of food delivered by his cat girlfriend Sadie. Coworker Pete (who looks an awful lot like Mickey’s same-named chief nemesis from the early days) watches from a scaffolding above and seizes Sadie (by her underwear!) with a hook. The rest of the cartoon pretty much centers on the two battling stories above ground.
If you’re a fan of the classic black-and-white Mickey Mouse cartoons from the ’20s and ’30s, you may recognize many of the same plot points, visual gags and style recycled, almost verbatim, in the 1933 short ‘Building a Building.’ Again, none of it would have been possible without Oswald. You can watch the great ‘Sky Scrappers’ above.