“Neck ‘n’ Neck,” a short animated film created by Walt Disney in 1928, has been discovered in Japan (via The Telegraph). The black-and-white short, previously thought to be lost, features the character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and runs two minutes. Disney created Oswald in 1927, just a year before Mickey Mouse turned him and his company into one of the world’s most beloved animated studios.
In a rather humorous twist, “Neck ‘n’ Neck” had not been lost this entire time; quite the opposite, as Japan’s Yasushi Watanabe has had a print of the short ever since he purchased it as a high schooler from a toy wholesalers’ market in the city of Osaka. Watanabe, now 84 years old, didn’t realize he had a lost Disney short film in his possession until he read David Bossert’s 2017 book “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons.” The book mentioned Disney had created 26 short films that starred Oswald, but only 19 have survived.
The Walt Disney Archives have confirmed Watanabe’s print is the long-thought-lost short “Neck n’ Neck.” The film centers around Oswald and his girlfriend being pursued by a dog policeman. The cop chases the two up a mountain road as, in typical Disney fashion, their vehicles stretch and contort to fit the bending road.
“We are absolutely delighted to learn that a copy of the lost film exists,” Walt Disney Archives director Becky Cline told The Telegraph. Bossert added the discovery is “very excited” and said he hopes to bring together a group of animation scholars in Los Angeles to screen the footage.
The discovery arrives just head of the theatrical release of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest movie, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” which opens in theaters nationwide November 21.