Throwback Thursday: That Time Walt Disney Visited Brazil

Back in 1943, as war with the Axis powers heated up, the United States was eager to shore up its allies in the western hemisphere. To this end, they tapped one of their most experienced diplomats for a series of high-level talks with Latin American governments.

Nah…they actually asked Walt Disney to go there and draw some cartoons.

Which he did. In a future post we will talk about some of those cartoons. But for the present we will look at some documentary footage shot by a member of Disney’s team, and narrated in Spanish. This video provides a great window into Brazil – especially Rio de Janeiro – in the 1940’s.

For non-Spanish speakers, here are some of the things you are seeing in the video:

0:25 Walt Disney and his team setting up shop in a Rio hotel.

0:37 A Brazilian Independence Day (September 7th) Parade.

1:17 A patriotic demonstration in a stadium.

1:42 The streets of Rio.

1:53 The trolley that takes people up to the Christ the Redeemer statue.

1:59 The Christ the Redeemer statue.

2:16 Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar).

2:42 Copacabana Beach.

2:53 The Botanical Garden.

4:09 Artwork based on their visits.

4:48 The evolution of the Brazilian Disney character “Ze Carioca”.

5:00 Learning Brazilian music and dance.

5:37 A popular Brazilian game called Escravos de Jó (Job’s Slaves…no idea) played to this day.

Every Thursday we post a vintage documentary showing some aspect of Brazilian life or culture “back in the good old days”. Keep up with our growing collection here.

Header image source


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