Animation History
June 26, 2013 posted by

Let’s Sing Along With Oswald!


This 9×12″ 12-page Oswald book from 1930 comes to us from super-collector Martin Almeyra. This particular copy was signed by Walter Lantz, who dedicated the book to “Mary” who, Almeyra says, was a person working at Columbia Pictures at the time. It is also inscribed with an original ink drawing of Oswald (below, bottom row, after back cover image).

Uber-Oswald expert-extraordinaire David Gerstein says, “The sheet music included is, of course, the “official” Oswald theme song that he sings in Africa and Mars (both released in December 1930); I’ll bet it was first written for this children’s book rather than for the cartoons, as it includes silly lyrics about kids minding their manners (…though Oswald incongruously sings them in Africa anyway!).

“The frog band seen in some of the illustrations comes from The Fowl Ball (1930). “Pete the Bear,” AKA “Old Peter Bear” (in various parts of the book, he has both names) is of course the Oswald design of Pegleg Pete, as carried on by Lantz from the Disney era.

“I’d like to share this image (below, bottom row) of an original pencil drawing from the production of the book. I missed the actual drawing on eBay some ten years ago, but didn’t want to lose the reference.”

Click thumbnails below to enlarge and read this “delightful” Pinto Colvig story – and enjoy the theme song sheet music (by James Dietrich and Bernie Grossman). I’ve embed the cartoon Africa below that so you can actually hear the tune – and sing-along with Oswald!



  • A storybook on Oswald from the early 1930’s. Cool.

  • Oswald has had a real show biz “comeback” these past several years. It reminds of Betty Boop’s comeback in the mid-70’s.

    • Who’s Betty boop?

  • Interesting to look at the titles of the forthcoming books on the back, they are all based on film titles. Perhaps “THE AIR MAN” was a working title for “Hare Mail” ? There’s a certain storybookish approach here that’s pretty cloying at least by todays sensitivities. And one wonders what “Uncle” Carl Laemle would have thought about a Oswald origination story about how he got “In the Movies” especially given the past realities of Walt Disney and Charles Mintz……

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