Oswald The Lucky Rabbit

This isn’t really local, aside from how it affects Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3, but we can’t stop laughing about it.

In a move expected by everyone who knows how to put the letters “N-B-C” and “N-F-L” together, long-time “Monday Night Football” play-by-play voice Al Michaels will indeed rejoin color commentator and Hall of Famer John Madden on NBC’s new “Sunday Night Football” this coming season…getting out of his ABC/ESPN contract, and declining to do the new “MNF” on ESPN.

That’s not the funny part.

To let Michaels out of his contract, the Disney folks – ABC/ESPN’s parent company – extracted some concessions out of NBC Universal. Along with the ability to use more Olympic highlights, and the rights to air Friday “Ryder Cup” matches on ESPN, Disney gets back a piece of its history.

Somewhere along the line, rights to Walt Disney’s silent cartoon character “Oswald The Lucky Rabbit” – circa 1927-1928 – ended up in the hands of Universal Studios, which merged into GE’s NBC a ways back. Somewhere, somehow, a Disney suit realized that this would be the way to get a predecessor to “Mickey Mouse” back in the Mouse House.

One can almost imagine the talks: “OK, we’d like, let’s see…we’d love to show Winter Olympic highlights…that golf thing would be a nice throw-in for Fridays on ESPN…oh, and hang on…this one’s really been bugging us since 1928…”

While Walt Disney’s accomplishments and history are well known, we’re guessing most folks had to go Googling to find out more about “Oswald The Lucky Rabbit”. And it struck us as funny that these rights ended up as a condition of the move of Al Michaels from ABC/ESPN to NBC…

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