Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Cat Named Kitty, Among Other Things

The character of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit went through a number of changes over the years, going from the original black and white version to the white version that continued to be used in comics after the the cartoons ended. Oswald's girlfriend changed, too. Some accounts have said that Oswald's girlfriend originally was a rabbit that was replaced by a cat,

 but there was more to it than that. The cat character was in turn replaced by a dog, which appeared to be the same girlfriend character that was in Pooch the Pup cartoons.

And then, like Jean Harlow, the character became a blonde*. Although she was still supposed to be a dog.

TOWNE HALL FOLLIES had a girl named "Bunny Lou" who appeared to be a rabbit in name only. She was a blonde.

But they also brought the rabbit back, although the story was now that it was Oswald's younger sister.

SPRINGTIME SERENADE had a girl rabbit character that was closer in size.

Some of the later cartoons with the white Oswald had the little sister character as another white rabbit.

                                                                FUN HOUSE ( 1936 )

In addition to changing Oswald's girlfriend to a different type of creature, they also changed her name a number of times during the course of the series. The name "Ortensia" seems to have been used for both the rabbit and the cat at different times, although it has since been established that Ortensia is the cat ( "Fanny" is used for the rabbit ). And actually the cat had different names in different cartoons.

In THE CLOWN, the character is called "Kitty".

In GRANDMA'S PET the character is again called "Kitty", but her hair seems darker, possibly because she is being Red Riding Hood.

In DAY NURSE, the girl's hair is a lighter color again.

In CARNIVAL CAPERS, the girl character is supposed to be a dog and has long ears. At the end Oswald calls her "Honey".

In WILD AND WOOLY, the girl is again called "Honey" at the end.

In THE HILLBILLY, the dog is called "Poodles Hound", which is the name they used for the same character in the Pooch the Pup cartoons.

In CANDY HOUSE, the girl character is named "Fanny" and is said to be Oswald's sister. The character therefore is a rabbit. This is a Hansel And Gretel story.

In THE DIZZY DWARF, the same girl character is in a Rumplestiltskin story.

In SPRINGTIME SERENADE there is a girl rabbit again, which is closer in size to Oswald.

SLUMBERLAND EXPRESS was a later cartoon with the "white" Oswald that had the little sister rabbit character as another white rabbit.

The rabbit sister returns in THE FUN HOUSE.

And again in KIDDIE REVIEW.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was about the same character as Mickey Mouse to begin with, but is not as well known today. The tale of his girlfriends is even less well known than he is.


*Blonde hair was very popular in Hollywood after Jean Harlow became famous, and the period has since become known as "the Jean Harlow era".


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