(Pictured above on the left, Armand Palivoda)
Armand Palivoda, who distributed Disney motion pictures in Switzerland, was a friend of the Company and of the Disney family. Roy E. Disney once recalled, “Armand once took very good care of a young, married couple, me and my wife, Patty, when we were visiting Switzerland. He even helped get me a good deal on a Patek Philippe watch for Patty one Christmas. Armand was a good friend of my dad’s [Roy O. Disney] and a trusted advisor to him, too.”
Armand’s son Robert Palivoda recalled, “It was like a big family. My father used to meet with Roy O. Disney, who traveled to Switzerland at least once a year. On several occasions, my father organized a Disney congress in our home and all the film exhibitors of Switzerland were invited to these festivities where Roy would talk about the Company and its future.
“Whenever he visited, he made us feel like family because he was always communicating on a personal, down-to-earth level.”
Born in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1906, Armand was the son of a tailor and a homemaker. He left school at 14 to work in a factory that produced bed sheets. Then, at age 20, he took a job as a traveling salesman in the fledgling film industry in Switzerland. He later started his own film distribution company in Geneva, which went out of business in 1933. He then moved to Paris for a time, where he worked for Le Films Osso, until 1936, when he returned to Switzerland.
The next year, Armand joined RKO as manager of its Swiss office and was responsible for distributing and promoting motion pictures throughout the country, including Disney animated classics. Robert recalled, “My father orchestrated great promotions with Disney. I remember, every Christmas a new animated picture was released, and the theaters and the streets of Geneva were decorated in theme. For my father, Disney films were a joy to promote because they were so universal and unique.”
Then, in 1958, when Walt Disney decided to produce the live-action Third Man on the Mountain on location in Zermatt, Armand helped lay the groundwork. He established Swiss contacts for the production team, and conducted on-site publicity. Around the same time, he purchased the Swiss distribution arm of RKO, changing its name to Parkfilm, and continued to distribute and promote Disney animated and live-action films throughout the country.
Robert added, “My father was well-loved by the Swiss press and business colleagues. I still meet people today who say, ‘he was one of a kind.’”
Armand Palidova passed away on November 11, 1960, in Geneva.