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Rabbit back in its hutch

Michaels returns long-lost Disney creation

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit has moved back into the Mouse House.

Move brings him home from Universal, where he’d resided since 1928 following contractual disagreements between Walt Disney and distributor Charles Mintz, and comes out of a larger negotiation to bring sportscaster Al Michaels from Disney-owned ESPN to NBC.

Disney had wanted “the fun and mischevious Oswald,” as he’s called by prexy-CEO Bob Iger, back for years because he’s a big piece of Disney history. Oswald was the second character to come from Walt Disney’s creative mind in 1927 following his first creation, Alice and her “The Alice Comedies.” Oswald’s painful departure spurred Walt to create a little mouse named Mickey.

Furthermore, the rabbit — who appeared in 26 cartoons produced by Disney — was the first Disney character to generate merchandise, in the form of a candy bar, a stencil set and a pinback button.

So, what does the Mouse House have in store for Oswald now?

A studio rep declined to comment on specifics but said there are “a number of opportunities” in the works.

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