Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Walt Disney in Rio de Janeiro, circa 1941 - Part One

I don't know if you've noticed, but there is so many pictures of Walt now available on web sites that it's more and more difficult to find never-seen-before pictures of Walt Disney. I mean, real good one, of good quality and shoot by a great photographer.

Now, any of you who already was a Disney and more reader in 2008 may remember this great article called "Walt Disney and Animation Artists in South America - 1941" posted November 19, 2008. These pictures were shoot by a LIFE Magazine photographer who was with Walt and his team of animators during their 1941 tour in South America. Most of them were coulour pictures and definitely great.

When i did this first article in 2008 i thought i have posted all the LIFE pictures available on this South american tour. But last week, back to the fantastic LIFE archives i realised that they added many more of them, this time all in black and white - and gorgeous black and white by LIFE photographer Hart Preston! In fact, there is so many new "old" pictures that this article will be divided in two parts.

Ready to go back in time for a fantastic time travel in Rio de Janeiro with Walt and his "Grupo"? Okay, so there we go! I strongly recommand to double-click on each picture to see them in big size.

On the top picture above Walt and Disney Studios animators stands on one of Rio's beach. The rare picture below show Walt in the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

As we know there is a lot of great beaches in Rio and Walt filmed many scenes with his camera.

I never thought i would see one day a picture of Walt lying on a beach, shooting a picture of nine young and handsome Cariocas!

On this next one, always on the beach, Walt is shooting a picture of a man and his dog, or may be it's only the sea...

Walt was not the only one of "El Grupo" to take pictures on this beach...

Two famous Disney animators - Frank Thomas and, i think, Mary Blair (correct me if i'm wrong) - enjoying the waves...

A little bit later - or was it before? - Frank thomas and Mary Blair on the beach and if anyone knows what they are doing on the sand, please let me know!
Edited: A good friend Imagineer told me that "They are sculpting a Mickey Mouse on the beach as you can see Mickeys feet the farthest away, his ear and button".

legendary artists Herb Ryman and Lee Blair (i think) having fun in a motor boat.

Always near the beach, Walt giving an autograph to a young Carioca.

All the group enjoying a drink, may be near Rio's beach.

Two rare pictures of Walt playing tennis - topless! - in Rio.

On a new location, may be a botanical garden, with the group.

Walt seems to be fascinated by these giant bamboos...

If you're looking for Walt on a picture, it's very simple, generally he is the one holding the camera!

I don't know what was Walt's problem on this next picture, but obviously there was one!

Walt enjoying a meal, probably the same day according to Walt clothes. Mary Blair is in the background.

But let's not forget that Disney animators came in South America first to find some material for the making of Saludos Amigos. On these next pictures you will see that they did sketches of almost anything, whether it was a fountain...

...or an amazing Brazilian bird...

...or waterfalls...

..or flowers - here, Lee Blair doing a sketch...

...or ducks - probably Herb Ryman standing...

...but also a monkey...

...or more simply the sea!

Six of them having some rest and a beer.

Walt and his group took a lot of boats during their trip in Brazil, all kind of boats. On the next picture they arrive on a pier to board on a kind of "Riva". Walt is on the right.

...and Walt (sit in the back of the boat) looks happy!

Another day, it was another kind of boat on which the group did a little cruise. No motor boat this time!

And Walt keeps filming!

Another day, in the bay of Rio, the group discovered pedal boats !

It seems that Walt was decided to try them!

...but with a drink it will be even better!

Frankly, Walt, drinking a beer while riding a pedal boat, is it reasonable?

A pedal boat race between Walt and...Lee blair?

But Walt didn't came to Brazil only to enjoy a good beer on pedal boat in the bay of Rio (!), he was also there - remember it was early 1941 before U.S. entry into World War II - because the United States Department of State commissioned Disney for a goodwill tour as part of the U.S Good Neighbor Policy. On this next picture Walt have a cup of coffee with what seems to be a high Brazilian official, and the "cup of coffee" looks very diplomatic!

Walt thanks his host after his official meeting.

This next picture is incredible. Obviously it shows a business or "power" meeting and i've never seen a picture showing this kind of meeting where you can feel a tension like the one which was in this room on that day. Everybody is around Walt!

Same day, probably same room, and Walt, with some dust in his eye!

We will end this part one of the article with this picture. Apparently Walt is listening to an audio-recording.

The PART TWO of the article with 50 never-seen-before pictures of Walt and his group is now on line HERE!
And check my other article below which also talk about Rio and how Disney might come back in Brazil more than 70 years after Walt and his group!

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

All pictures: copyright LIFE Magazine - All pictures by Hart Preston


Anonymous said...

You are simply THE BEST Disney resource. LOVE your ARTicles. Thank YOU.

DisWedWay said...

Alain, Thomas and Blair are doing a relief of Mickey Mouse in the sand. You can see Mickey's feet furthest away and part of his head. Always the artist's at work or at play.

Anonymous said...

Je suis stupéfait! Autant de photos d'une si bonne qualité, c'est un veritable trésor!

Kristin said...

Thank you for posting these. Seeing photos of Walt at work is an inspiration!

Thufer said...

That was amazing. Thank you for sharing those.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Brazil will be the next country added to World Showcase If they are to have a Disneyland?? They almost added Mount Fugi to the Japan Pavillion but it was cancelled. Maybe Brazil's Sugar Loaf Mountain will make it?

Frank McCann, fdm@unh.edu said...

The photo of Walt having a cafezinho with a diplomat: the diplomat was Oswaldo Aranha, foreign minister of Brazil (1938-44). Photo taken in Aranha's office in Itamaraty Palace, the foreign ministry in Rio in 1941. Picture of them shaking hands is also in the Itamaraty.

huemulin comics said...

Disney en Chile 1941 www.disneyenchile.blogspot.com