The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Tom Klein


Walt Disney and Walter Lantz both endured career setbacks as producers of the same early American cartoon series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. In the case of Disney, his bold, contentious break from the Oswald series defined his visionary zeal. And with Walter Lantz, the gradual separation from Oswald that he arranged with the consent of Universal defined his more genial and conservative approach. Yet in each case, despite their contrasting styles, these trials prepared them and led them to their ultimate success with subsequent cartoons, notably the ones they each created next: Mickey Mouse and Woody Woodpecker.

Biographical statement: Tom Klein is an Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles. He is formerly the Animation Director of Vivendi-Universal’s educational software division. While a graduate student at UCLA School of Film and Television, he catalogued the Walter Lantz Archive, and has since remained active as a scholar and researcher of Lantz studio animation.