Sing to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”:
You know Mickey and Minnie and Donald and Daisy Aladdin and Jasmine and Anna and Elsa. But do you recall The most famous character of all? (dramatic pause) Oswald the Lucky Rabbit!
Disney Animation has introduced us to some of the world’s most recognizable fictional characters: everyone knows Mickey Mouse and Elsa! But there are also a few classic animated characters that have been lost to time or locked in the Disney Vault.
Test your deep-cut Disney knowledge with us and see how many of these characters you can name before you read all about them below!
How many did you know? If you identified 6 or more correctly, you’re probably a Disney fanatic!!!
Here’s a little about each of these largely-forgotten characters and some fashion inspired by them for the die-hard Disney fan!
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from Universal Short Films (1927-28)
This one was kind of a trick question: although he was created by Walt Disney (and drawn by famous Disney animator Ub Iwerks), Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was not actually a Disney character until recently! Disney and Iwerks created Oswald for Universal Pictures.
The Walt Disney Company didn’t acquire the rights to Oswald until 2006 when they traded sportscaster Al Michaels to NBC/Universal for the rights to Oswald. Now you know: sometimes Disney works like the NFL!
Oswald, who existed pre-Mickey Mouse, shares a lot of his personality traits with Mickey (and many people comment on how similar their clothing and design is as well). We wouldn’t go so far as to say that Mickey Mouse “rips off” Oswald, but it’s clear that Disney didn’t have the rights to his character when it came time to open his own animation studio and borrowed from the Universal-owned character!
FashionEarstas who frequent Disneyland in California will definitely recognize Oswald’s headgear: official Disney Parks Oswald Ears are a big seller there and are particularly popular with male FashionEarstas!
Alice from Alice’s Wonderland (1923) and a series of Alice Comedies (1924-27)
Alice appeared in the early 1920s (pre-Disney Studios and pre-Snow White!) and was a true innovation in combining animation and live-action filmmaking! Alice was the main character in a series of short comedy films, in which she got into hijinks and escaped from wacky villains. Her pal Felix the cat was also a frequent co-star.
1923’s 10-minute film Alice’s Wonderland (which was never released in theaters) follows Alice through her dream of jumping into the world being created in an animation studio. Unfortunately Disney’s Laugh-O-Gram Studio went bankrupt after finishing the film.
Don’t confuse this Alice with the more famous Alice from Alice in Wonderland (1951)! While the original Alice’s adventures in her cartoon dreams were certainly inspired by the Lewis Carrol books, these are two distinct Disney characters!
Clarabelle Cow from Walt Disney Shorts (1929-40)
If you’ve seen the “Once Upon a Christmastime” parade or cavalcade at Disney World, you might have asked yourself “wait… who is the baking cow?”
(and if you haven’t, you can see and hear her on our video of this year’s Christmas cavalcades here)
Next time you see her, you can tell your friends: That’s Clarabelle Cow, Minnie Mouse’s best friend!” Now you sound like the smartest person on Main Street, USA!
Clarabelle first appeared in the late 1920s and became a very popular figure in Disney’s cartoon shorts throughout the 30s. But starting in the 1940s she went into the vault and wasn’t brought back until the television shows of the 80s!
One notable cameo from Clarabelle: she’s one of the animated cows in the “cattle call” scene of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)!
Now you can see Clarabelle at various places in Disneyland and Walt Disney World (when they are doing meet-and-greets), often with her boyfriend Horace Horsecollar.
She also frequently appears in the new Mickey Mouse cartoons on Disney+, usually alongside Minnie and Daisy Duck.
Foxy Loxy from “Chicken Little” (1943)
Foxy Loxy was the star of the WWII-era morality tale “Chicken Little,” which is a short film about a fox who wants to convince all the chickens and turkeys to come into his lair so he can eat them. The character is loosely based on the Foxy Loxy character from the original Chicken Little story, who convinces Chicken Little that the sky is falling.
Foxy is one of the few Disney villains who succeeds with his evil plan and isn’t punished for it. That’s probably because he was designed to represent Adolf Hitler, who was committing atrocities in Europe at the time and seemingly (at least in 1943) getting away with them. The fox was originally going to be reading Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, but this was eventually changed to just a “Psychology” book. What he reads aloud, however, is still from Mein Kampf.
We love 1940s fashion, so if you wanted to do a subtle vintage DisneyBound look, these orange high-waisted pants would be adorable paired with a vintage fox brooch. If you can find a faux fur at your local thrift store, that would really top it off!
Bongo Bear from Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
Bongo is the star of a short in Fun and Fancy Free, where he escapes from the cruel conditions of the circus and goes to live in the wild. There he meets his sweetheart, Lulubelle and gets into hijinks!
Fun fact: the story of “Bongo” was adapted from “Little Bear Bongo,” a children’s story by Nobel Prize-winner, Sinclair Lewis.
Disney made lots of films about bears and lots of films about circuses! Bongo doesn’t appear at Disney World’s Storybook Circus area (home of the Dumbo ride) or Frontierland (home of the Country Bears Jamboree) but we think he would fit right into either land!
And to wear to these destinations: adorable Bongo and Lulubelle ears by LaurasEarstoMagic on Etsy! We were so excited to see that this obscure character has a pair of ears for him and his sweetie!
Madame Medusa from “The Rescuers” (1977)
Another largely-forgotten Disney Villain, Madame Medusa terrorizes little orphan Penny in the film The Rescuers (1977). She owns a pawn shop in New York but spends the film in the bayou with the kidnapped Penny and pet crocodiles, Brutus and Nero. (It seems that Disney was going for a Roman mythology theme with these names, which don’t have much to do with the characters themselves).
Medusa spends most of the film trying to force Penny into a tiny pirate’s cave in the Devil’s Bayou to retrieve a huge diamond called the Devil’s Eye. Foiled by Penny and the talking mice Bernard and Bianca, Madame Medusa has a hilarious ending involving water skis and her vengeful pet crocs.
To add some subtle Madame Medusa humor to your wardrobe, check out this Villains Pawn Shop shirt by theWildPeas on Etsy! It looks super soft and comfy, just like Penny’s diamond-stuffed teddy bear!
Princess Eilonwy of Llyr from The Black Cauldron (1985)
It’s not often that a full-fledged Disney Princess gets forgotten, but that’s exactly what happened to Eilonwy, a protagonist of the film The Black Cauldron (1985). Maybe it’s because her Welsh name is tricky to pronounce?
Eilonwy is a plucky 12-year-old princess who is captured by the villainous Horned King, where she meets farm boy and love interest Taran. Together with the help of magical characters, they visit the Fair Folk and retrieve the Black Cauldron.
Honestly, I watched The Black Cauldron only one time when I was pretty young and was terrified enough that I never wanted to watch it again. Apparently that was a fairly common reaction to watching the film and it lost money at the box office, almost bankrupting Disney.
Because Disney subsequently tried to forget about the flop, Eilonwy isn’t included in the official Disney Princesses lineup. But as someone of Welsh heritage, I kind of love this dark and spooky movie now. DisneyBounders like @missyrausch love to put together outfits inspired by her signature look, too!
Olivia Flaversham from The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Another forgotten character of the 80s, sweet Olivia Flaversham stars in The Great Mouse Detective, an adaptation of children’s book Basil of Baker Street which is itself an adaptation of elements of many Sherlock Holmes novels.
Olivia’s father is kidnapped by evil (yet amazing) villain Ratigan and she seeks the help of Basil, a mouse who lives underneath Sherlock Holmes’ flat on Baker Street and who has picked up some of his sleuthing skills.
Olivia’s cute Scottish-inspired outfits would make adorable fashion statements for your littles, especially around the holidays. Wouldn’t a Great Mouse Detective-inspired family costume for MNSSHP or MVMCP (the Halloween and Christmas parties at Disney World) be the sweetest?
Georgette from Oliver and Company (1988)
Our final forgotten Disney character (during the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s the quality of the films arguably improved) Georgette is a side-character from Oliver and Company, which is basically the musical Oliver! plus cat, dogs and Billy Joel.
Honestly, you only need to know one thing about Georgette. She (voiced by Bette Middler) sings my personal theme song: “Perfect Isn’t Easy.” You deserve to watch this today!
Each little step a pose See how the breeding shows Sometimes it's too much for even me! When all of the world says yes, Then who am I to say no? Don't ask a mutt to strut like a showgirl, No, girl, you need a pro!
If you want to spice up your loungewear game during the pandemic, cosplayer Minnie d’Moocha show you how to WERK a Catherine D’lish Dressing Gown a la Georgette!
That’s all for our pop quiz on some fashionable forgotten Disney animated characters!
Did we forget anyone (I almost included Kida) or were any of these too well-known? Let us know in the comments!
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Pixie dust and glamour!
The Fancy Floridian