Saludos Amigos is a full-length animated and live-action film produced by Walt Disney Studios in 1942. This was during World War II and members of Walt’s production staff had been drafted. Working with a smaller crew, Walt and company flew throughout Latin America to study the culture and produce a film to foster good relations with our southern neighbors.
The US Department of State commissioned Disney Studios to produce a film about Latin America. Several South American governments had close ties to Nazi Germany, and the United States was trying to create goodwill with those countries. Walt, acting as an ambassador, along with a crew of about 20, toured Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
The film includes a live documentary of those countries in addition to the animated features from each country. For most citizens of the United States, this was the first time seeing these cultures and their cities. While the State Department had struggled to build relations for years with these countries, Walt Disney created a bond with his charming cartoons.
There are four cartoon segments depicted in the movie:
1) Donald Duck visits Lake Titicaca – In this segment Donald Duck visits the famous lake which borders Peru and Bolivia. The viewer is treated to Market Day in Peru and gets a glimpse of pack donkeys, llamas, the Andes Mountains and Lake Titicaca.
2) Pedro the mail plane in Santiago, Chile – Camera crews were not allowed to film in Chile. Animators sketched and notes were taken, but no live action was filmed. Pedro is a small plane at a small airfield in Chile. He is assigned the task of making his debut flight to pick up the mail. Pedro is caught in a horrible snowstorm and finally arrives back in Santiago to find that the mail is a single postcard.
3) Goofy transports us to Argentina – The viewer travels to the capitol of Argentina, Buenos Aires. We see the Edifico Cavanaugh which was the tallest building in South America. We eventually meet Goofy as an American cowboy who is transported to Argentina and becomes the Latin American gaucho. Goofy struggles with his outfit, saddle and horse as he tries to adapt to live in Argentina. He eventually is flown back to Texas.
4) Jose Carioca shows Donald Duck Brazil – Finally, the viewer is flown to Rio de Janerio, Brazil, and we meet a lively parrot. Jose introduces Donald Duck to the sights, sounds and culture of Brazil.
Jose Carioca can be found in the Grand Fiesta Tour in the Mexican pavilion at Epcot. He is seen in the boat ride. He can also be occasionally found in Disneyland, CA.
EDUCATIONAL/HOMESCHOOL TIE INS:
For links to additional crafts and activities, follow my Pinterest board. Make sure to like my Facebook page to keep up with the latest movie reviews and Disney announcements.
1) Donald Duck visits Lake Titicaca:
History/Geography: Locate Lake Titicaca on Map. It borders Peru and Bolivia. Lake Titicaca is 13,000 feet above sea level. Donald gets altitude fever.
Science: Suspension bridges. Donkeys. Llamas. Construction of boats. What is a Balsa boat? Construct a boat that will float. Items that float versus sink. Lake Titicaca = 13,000 feet above sea level. Altitude sickness.
Art: Design a poncho. Draw a llama.
Music: Listen to Peruvian Music
Snack: Make Arroz Verde (green rice). Churros. Popcorn. Banana Chips
2) Pedro the plane in Santiago, Chile:
Character Training: Pedro perseverse through the snowstorm. Determination/Perserverance
History/Geography: Chile – the country and culture. Why were camera crews barred from filming?
Science: Planes. Spotlights/Search lights. Snowstorms. History of mail delivery.
Art: Make and Fly a Kite (Kite flying is a favorite hobby).
Music: Music and Dance of Chile
Snack: Empanada. Cazuela. Te con leche (tea with milk).
3) Goofy the gaucho in Argentina:
Character Training: Goofy encounters difficulties when things don’t go as he planned. Adversity.
History/Geography: Argentina. At the time of this movie, the tallest building in South America was in Argentina. Research the tallest buildings in South America now.
Science: Construct a tall building out of cards or other materials. Saddling a horse. Ostrich. Making fire for cooking. Stars in the sky – your sky versus the sky in Argentina at night.
English: Make a chart of the differences between an American cowboy and a gaucho. Ballads – what are they. Construct a ballad.
Art: Paper plate armadillo.
Music: Music of Argentina
Snack: Dulce de Leche. Choripan. Mate (tea that gauchos drink).
4) Donald Duck meets Jose Carioca in Rio de Janiero:
Character Training: Making friends who are different than you.
History/Geography: Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil. City life/outdoor cafes. Carnival in Rio. Carmen Miranda (famous dancer who danced with fruit on her head). Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio (history/how much does it weigh, how high is it).
Science: Parrots. Trees (palm trees). Flowers of Brazil. Giant Water Lilies of the Amazon. Roots of trees above ground. Flamingos. Orchids. Bird of Paradise.
Art: Design and make a mosaic. Use watercolors and paint Jose Carioca, palm trees or birds.
Music: Samba Instruments reco-reco and the cabasa.