When I was growing up the Donald Duck focused movie the “Three Caballeros” was a staple in my house. My mother had recorded it off the TV, and my siblings and I loved the hour-long show. I was so excited to watch it when my mother bought it for my child, so imagine how much more enjoyable it was to learn that the hour-long show I knew and loved was actually two separate movies that had been edited together into a shorter TV special! I felt like I had discovered some long lost treasure! “There’s MORE????” I thought to myself.
The two movies are called “Saludos Amigos” which was created first in 1942 and then followed up by Three Caballeros two-years later. While the hour-long special I had grown up with was edited down to the most “entertaining” parts, the full-length movies are much more educational. Almost like a travel guide to South America for children.
The back story into the creation of these two movies is fascinating. Apparently Disney was commissioned by the U.S. Statement Department to create “Saludos Amigos” as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy.” Disney was chosen for this because their characters were popular in Latin America, and Roosevelt was hoping to strengthen ties with the many Latin American governments that had ties to Nazi Germany. From Wikipedia ” Saludos Amigos did more to cement a community of interest…in a few months than the State Department had in fifty years.”