The recently discovered only surviving print of an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon will be going up for auction next month in Los Angeles. The animated short Hungry Hobos from 1928 was discovered in the United Kingdom’s Huntley Film Archives in Herefordshire after having been thought lost for decades.
The cartoon is being auctioned by Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia, whose catalog describes the film thusly –
Walt Disney Hungry Hobos, 1928, the only known copy of the film previously recorded as lost, featuring Oswald The Lucky Rabbit and Peg Leg Pete, comprising a 16mm double perforated celluloid acetate positive print, silent, probably dating from around its distribution date of late 20s/early 30s, total running time 5 minutes, 21 seconds and 2 frames at a running speed of 24 frames per second.
Estimate: US$30,000 – 40,000
The Huntley Film Archives is planning on putting the proceeds from the sale towards the many of the 80,000 titles in their collection that are in need of restoration. I would not be surprised if Disney were to be the ones to swoop in and snatch this piece of their history up.
The Oswald The Lucky Rabbit series was created by Walt Disney and animator Ub Iwerks wfor Universal Studios. They created a total of 26 Oswald shorts, 12 of which are still considered missing. When Disney asked for and was refused a raise in the cartoon series’s budget in 1928, he left with Iwerks to found his own cartoon studio with a new animated star – Mickey Mouse.
Ironically, Hungry Hobos first premiered on May 14, 1928, one day before Disney held the first test screening of Mickey Mouse.