For decades, only 25 seconds was thought to exist of Empty Socks, the 1927 Walt Disney short starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. However, Agence France-Presse reports a near-complete copy has been discovered at a National Library of Norway facility in Mo i Rana, a small town near the Arctic Circle.
With an original run time of 5 minutes, 30 seconds, Empty Socks is notable as the first Christmas film produced by Disney. In the short, Mickey Mouse predecessor Oswald plays Santa for a group of orphans.
The Norwegian footage, which has been authenticated by Disney cartoonist David Gerstein, is missing between 30 and 60 seconds. Before this, the only known copy of Empty Socks was a 25-second clip preserved at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
“At the beginning, we didn’t know it was a lost cinematographic treasure,” library archivist Kvale Soerenssen said in a statement. “The film was in two reels which weren’t clearly labeled.”
A digital copy of the short has been sent to The Walt Disney Company.
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