During 1927 (Operating under Universal Pictures) Walt Disney created a character known as Ozwald the Lucky Rabbit. Seeing huge success with said character, this was soon put to an end somewhat. When meeting executives (during 1928), Disney was confronted by a sharp sting; Universal had “hijacked” all of his employees and retained the rights to the Disney character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. On top of this they offered to keep Walt on only if he agreed to a lower salary…he left.
With dignity still intact, creativity still bubbling but a lack of staff, the Disney Brothers Studio would find it hard to keep pushing forward with a lack of employees. However, there was a silver lining; Ub Iwerks, an animator, stayed with Disney and his loyalty would in turn aid in manifesting something way beyond comprehension. With Ozwald the Lucky Rabbit now gripped by the claws of Universal, Walt and Ub would need to find a new offering.
Welcome Mortimer Mouse, or should I say Mickey! With a bit of tweaking and some intense late nights, Walt and Ub managed to birth a new character from the rabbit they had originally. Initially called Mortimer, but later changed to Mickey (due to Walt’s spouse disliking the name Mortimer), Disney now had a character to work with. Although the first two Mickey shorts were met with no real admiration, “Steamboat Willie” managed to turn the tide. Being the first animation featuring synchronised music and sound effects, “Steamboat Willie” imprinted the image and character of Walt Disney’s new offering in the minds and hearts of many.