Published Nov 03, 2015Prior to Mickey Mouse, the biggest Walt Disney cartoon star was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. The character appeared in dozens of films in the late '20s. Among them was Sleigh Bells, which was previously thought to have been lost until now.
Directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, the six-minute cartoon was initially released on July 31, 1928. Since then, it has not resurfaced and many assumed it was lost forever. This month, however, a single copy of the film was discovered at the British Film Institute in London.
As the Guardian reports, the film was hidden away in the BFI's national archive. There are approximately one million film's in the archive, and this particular real had been acquired in 1981 as part of a lot sale from a lab in Soho that went out of business. Simply labelled "Sleigh Bells," there was nothing to suggest that it was a long-lost Disney film.
Sleigh Bells follows Oswald as he plays an outdoor ice hockey game with an elephant and a laughing donkey. It'll have its world premiere at the BFI next month.
The archive's head curator Robin Baker said, "What a joyful treat to discover a long-lost Walt Disney film in the BFI national archive and to be able to show it to a whole new audience 87 years after it was made. The restoration of this film will introduce many audiences to Disney's work in the silent period."