Oswald (partially found pitch pilot of Nick Jr. animated series; late 1990s)

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Screenshot of the pilot found from an issue of Animation Magazine.

Status: Partially Found

Oswald is a 2001-2003 Nick Jr. 2D animated series created by Dan Yaccarino and produced by HiT Entertainment. The show was notable for its uniquely surrealist style, featuring the day-to-day adventures of a good-natured, bowler-hatted blue octopus named Oswald, his sentient hot dog Weenie and their equally whimsical friends in a colourful, childlike universe. According to official sources, the show's pilot was being worked on as far back as the late 1990s. The pilot itself has never surfaced and little is known about its development process, besides concept artwork that dates from about the same time.


According to Dan Yaccarino in a Q&A on Discord, the pilot has Oswald's hat blow off his head so that he spends the rest of the pilot chasing it, presumably involving the rest of the main cast in the process, including Weenie and main supporting players Daisy the cheerful, optimistic sentient daisy and Henry the pessimistic, self-centred penguin.


The project's existence at least as far back as 1999 has been confirmed indirectly by the creators of fellow Nick Jr series Super Why?, who indicated that the show's pilot, created around the same time, was initially passed over in favor of an Oswald pitch pilot. Around the same time, an Oswald tie-in book was produced showing how the dapper octopod met all his friends, featuring slightly different character designs (Oswald is a shade darker blue, for instance, and Weenie's belly is a much lighter tan). The book was confirmed to be based on the pilot in an email exchange with Yaccarino.[1] Some backgrounds from this version of the pilot were later found on a Background Design portfolio.[2]

Yaccarino added in a Q&A that in this initial pitch for the series, all the characters had jobs, recalling that Oswald was to write commercial jingles (his piano-playing and singing was carried over into the finished series, but only as a hobby) and Henry, true to his grumbling, sarcastic nature, would be a film critic. It is unknown if any aspects of this made it to the pitch pilot.

Around 2023, a possible short clip was found on a Celluoid Studios animation montage from Vimeo. There is currently no known information as to whether this clip originates from the pilot or not, but the video is likely to have predated the premiere of Oswald. It is believed that the clip may be an ident, animation test, or a commercial rather than a pilot, however it has not yet been confirmed by the uploader or any production member, however it is known that the footage does not seem to be from any aired episode of Oswald.


Possible Footage

A short clip of the pilot (1:30).


Read-aloud of an early book that may preserve the original, slightly different character .


See Also


Bumpers and Interstitials