So earlier today, I was bicycling through downtown Sausalito, and out of the corner of my eye who did I spot sitting in a toy store window but…Oswald the Rabbit. Looking rather jaunty and relaxed.
Yes! The Japanese Oswald dolls, manufactured to be plucked (or not plucked) out of crane games in Toyko arcades, have hit these United States–or at least hit this one store, The Games People Play. (Jerry Beck reported on the great Oswald revival earlier this year.)
In Sausalito, Oswald (Oswalds, actually–there were a bunch of him) had plenty of company. The store has a nifty selection of strange Japanese Disneyana, classy Tintin and Babar figures, and other offbeat playthings likely to be of interest to visitors to this site.
While the Ozzie dolls’ tags credit Walter Lantz and Universal, they also mention Walt Disney’s association with the character, which makes one wonder if his return has something to do with the fact that he’s a Disney character who Disney doesn’t control. (I’m not sure who, if anyone, controls the “Alice” Comedies these days, but I certainly wouldn’t object if some toy concern operating on this philosophy rolled out a line of Julius dolls.)
Anyhow, you won’t be surprised to hear that I pedalled home with an Oswald in my backpack. The floppy-eared little guy has rarely looked better. It’s encouraging to think that a cartoon character who was pretty much washed up more then seventy years ago can make a comeback–take heart, Scrappy!
Another plus: I’m virtually positive that we won’t see Oswald showing up on slot machines or in Hooters promotions. At least not unless King Features gets its hands on him…