South America

South America In the early 1940s as Europe was moving deeply into World War II, America was not yet involved, but dark clouds were gathering on the horizon. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was worried about the influence of Nazi Germany extending to our neighbors in South America. As part of the government’s Good Neighbor Policy, Nelson Rockefeller, then Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, asked Walt Disney if he would travel to Latin America on a goodwill tour. Walt argued that he did not want to go on a handshaking trip—but he was willing to take some of his artists and make some animated cartoons about the area. This was agreeable to Rockefeller, so the Disney contingent set off on August 17, 1941, for Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, bringing back to Hollywood sketches, songs, and impressions of the South American life and culture. Two feature films came out of the trip: Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. Both proved so successful with theater audiences that Walt did not need the subsidy promised him by the government. In addition to the films for theaters, Disney made a number of educational films for the South American market, in the Health for the Americas series. Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros were released on laser disc in 1995.