Dave Bossert and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

On October 7th the folks at the Pacific Northwest MouseMeet had Dave Bossert up to the Seattle area for a talk about his latest book “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit”.  Dave Bossert is a former Disney employee having worked there for 32 years as a visual effects animator and eventually became a creative director and producer.  He was hired by Don Hahn in 1984 to work on the Black Cauldron.  He was involved in the making of Fantasia 2000, Lion King, Beauty & the Beast and Little Mermaid.  He worked on the World of Color at Disney’s California Adventure.  He assisted in the patenting of the LED system which was created to project on the water stream of the 1800 fountains.

Dave’s book details the history of Oswald from inception to his eventual return to Disney, as well as each of the films Walt Disney made starring Oswald.

Dave shared with us the film Hungry Hobos which was a lost Oswald cartoon being shown for Oswald’s 90th anniversary.  While many believe Walt Disney lost Oswald with his dealings with Universal, he actually only lost the contract and the 26 Oswald films he produced.  Of course all of this led to the introduction of Mickey Mouse.

Oswald was eventually traded from Universal to Disney for sportscaster Al Michaels who is still somewhat bitter about the trade.  After all can you imagine being traded for an animated character?  When the trade was completed only 13 of the original 26 Oswald films were found, the others are known as the “lost films”.  Upon discovery of the Hungry Hobos, the team began a restoration and preservation of the film which had not been seen in 60-70 years.  Emmy winner Mark Waters wrote scores for the lost cartoons which they produced by incorporating them into other recording sessions to save money.  When these silent films were originally shown, a piano or organ was played in the theater to accompany the silent film.

Film #27 – Poor Papa – was originally rejected by Universal but was uncovered during the trade and recovery process.  Dave and his team have also searched and found “comps” given out at screenings as well as movie posters.  Oswald eventually lost popularity and Universal changed his design to look more like Mickey Mouse and changed it again to make him look somewhat like the Nesquik bunny.  Pegleg Pete also made an appearance in the original Oswald films, appearing as a bear and then he became a cat when he starred in the Mickey cartoons.

Drawings by Ub Iwerks are also showcased in the book.  Ub would work on the Oswald films during the day and then work on Mickey Mouse in the evenings with Walt and Roy at the Disneys’ Lyric Avenue homes.

Dave is writing full time now and is no longer with Disney.  He said it takes about 2 years to complete a book like this, with 3-4 months of actual writing and the rest in research.  He still continues to search for the remaining lost Oswald cartoons.  He is also working to find the three lost films from the Alice comedies and has a Patreon page for donations to help with the research and purchase of these items.  He has also written the book “Remembering Roy E. Disney”.  Dave worked for Roy and Roy wanted the family history preserved and that prompted Dave’s book.

Dave’s newest book is called “Destino” and is about Walt Disney’s work with Salvador Dali.  The book was released on October 24th.  One version of the book is available with a screen that plays a 6 minute movie showing both Walt and Dali.  This is the first book of this kind.  It shows the movie with the telling of the story.  It currently goes for about $250 on Amazon.  There is a version available without the movie.

Following the talk Dave took time to meet and talk with each attendee and sign autographs.  I decided to Disneybound as Oswald that day and Dave loved it.

Check out www.davidbossert.com for more information his projects and books.  Thank you to Don Morin and the Pacific Northwest MouseMeet crew for another wonderful author event.

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