BURBANK, Calif. (Sept. 4, 2012) —Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) debuted a newly restored digital print of the once-thought-lost 1928 Oswald the Lucky Rabbit animated short Hungry Hobos at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, according to Dave Bossert, producer/creative director and head of special projects for WDAS. The film, which was found in a private film vault in England in 2011, was acquired by Disney that same year and has undergone extensive digital restoration. Hungry Hobos will debut in Telluride, Colorado as part of a special animation shorts program presented by leading film historian and restoration expert Serge Bromberg. Also on the program (Serge Bromberg’s Retour De Flamme) was a sneak peek at Disney’s newest animated short Paperman, which premiered at this year’s Annecy International Animated Film Festival, generating excitement in the industry for its innovative hybrid use of computer animation and hand-drawn techniques.
Hungry Hobos was overseen by Walt Disney in 1928 as part of a distribution deal with Universal Pictures. It was the 20th short film (out of 26 made by Disney) starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a long-eared precursor to the more famous Mickey Mouse (who appeared for the first time later that year in Steamboat Willie). The film follows the misadventures of Oswald and his roughneck pal, Putrid Pete, as they ride a freight car loaded with animals and devise ways to cook a meal using the tools at hand. When a policeman chases them off the train, the duo poses as a hurdy-gurdy man and a monkey as part of their escape.