Saludos Amigos (Hello, Friends in English, Alô, Amigos in Portuguese) is a 1942 animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the 6th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It is the first of six package films made by the Disney studio in the 1940s. Set in Latin America, it is made up of four different segments; Donald Duck stars in two of them and Goofy stars in one. It also features the first appearance of José Carioca. Saludos Amigos was popular enough that Walt Disney decided to make another film about Latin America, The Three Caballeros, to be produced two years later. Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943. It garnered mixed reviews and was only reissued once, in 1949, when it was shown on a double bill with the first reissue of Dumbo.
In early 1941, before U.S. entry into World War II, the United States Department of State commissioned both a Disney goodwill tour of South America, intended to lead to a movie to be shown in Central and South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. The tour, underwritten by the State Department, took Disney and a group of composers, artists, etc. from his studio to South America, mainly to Brazil and Argentina, but also to Chile and Peru. The film itself was given federal loan guarantees. These were necessary because the Disney studio had over-expanded just before European markets were closed to them by the war, and because Disney was struggling with labor unrest at the time (including a strike that was underway at the time the goodwill journey began).
Disney was chosen for this because several Latin American governments had close ties with Nazi Germany, and the US government wanted to counteract those ties. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters were popular in Latin America, and Walt Disney acted as ambassador.
The film also inspired Chilean cartoonist René Ríos Boettiger to create Condorito, one of Latin America's most ubiquitous cartoon characters. Ríos perceived that the character Pedro, a small, incapable airplane, was a slight to Chileans and created a comic that could supposedly rival Disney's comic characters.
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