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Anime Collector Realizes He Has Early Walt Disney Film

He bought the film short featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit 70 years ago
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2018 5:42 PM CST
In this animation drawing released by Disney, an image from the 1928 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short "Sky Scrappers" is shown. Oswald was a precursor to Mickey Mouse, and another of the early films has...   (AP Photo/Disney)

(Newser) – Seventy years ago, a Japanese teenager bought a two-minute 16mm cartoon for under $5. It sat in Yasushi Watanabe's collection all these years, and he has just learned that it happens to be one of Walt Disney's first films, reports the BBC. The 1928 short, titled Neck 'n' Neck, features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a precursor to Mickey Mouse. It was one of seven Disney films with Oswald thought to have been lost, per the Hollywood Reporter.

Watanabe, an anime historian, realized he might have something valuable on his hands when he read a book by Disney animator David Bossert called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons. He fished out his film, then confirmed its authenticity with Bossert and the Walt Disney Archives. "As I've been a Disney fan for many years, I'm happy that I was able to play a role," says Watanabe. No word yet on what the film might be worth. (Another Oswald cartoon surfaced a few years ago.)

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