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The History of Jose Carioca

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by , 10-18-2011 at 02:32 PM
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Growing up, my favorite Disney film was the under-appreciated 1944 classic, [I][B][URL="http://www.amazon.com/Three-Caballeros-Aurora-Miranda/dp/B00004R995?&linkCode=wey&tag=micechat-20"]The Three Caballeros[/URL][/B][/I]. And it's still my favorite film.

I'm not sure what I love so much about this movie, but I watched it over and over as a child until I wore out my original VHS tape (on which we had copied the film from a telecast). Later, I bought Disney's official VHS release, and I wore out that tape, too.

Why?

Perhaps it was the bright, vibrant colors of the South American countries featured in the film? Or maybe it was the antic of cute little penguin Pablo? Or the film's cultural significance and the learning opportunities it afforded?

I suppose I might have had the hots for Aurora Miranda.

Who knows?

Regardless, the film is my favorite, and because of it I'm attached to a character who gets very little love from the Walt Disney Company - that dapper Brazilian parrot, Jose Carioca.

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Jose Carioca's origin came out of Walt Disney's 1941 good will trip to South America. Walt took 16 of his animators, artists, and writers to visit South American countries on behalf of the U.S. government which hoped Walt could help stem the rising tide of Nazism in that area during World War 2. The idea was to include South American themes in upcoming films to help bolster good will and cajole the countries away from the Axis powers.

The trip itself came at a excellent time for Disney. Back home, his animators were in the middle of a five week strike for their right to unionize. The trip gave Walt, and those he brought with him, time to get away for a bit and recharge their batteries. The fantastic film [I]Walt & El Grupo[/I] covers the trip in great detail, and it's something we'll explore here on The 626 at some point, too.

Jose Carioca was born on this trip. Jose hails from Rio de Janeiro. Carioca is the term used for a person born in Rio, so in English the parrot's name translates to 'Joe From Rio'. In his cartoons, Jose is mostly well-dressed, holds a trusty umbrella, and smokes (gasp!) a cigar.

Contrary to popular belief, Jose didn't show up on the silver screen first. His first appearance, in October 1942, was in the Silly Symphonies comic strip. He appeared there as part of the pre-release publicity for his first theatrical appearance - 1943's [I]Saludos Amigos[/I] - where he is introduced as Donald Duck's friend in the final sequence, 'Aquarela do Brasil.' In that sequence, Jose teaches Donald the samba, using the music of 'Brazil' and 'Tico-Tico no Fuba' to help get Donald into the groove. Jose was voiced by Brazilian actor Jose Oliviera. Have a look:
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That cartoon's popularity led to Jose popping up several more times in Walt Disney's Comics & Stories. He and a new character, Panchito Pistoles, co-starred in [I]The Three Caballeros[/I], where they introduce Donald to more of the wonders of South America (though, I'm pretty sure Donald only remembers the women).

Disney planned to produce a series of films starring Jose and his pretty parrot girlfriend, Aurora, but the cartoons never made it beyond the storyboard stage. Jose's next theatrical appearance wouldn't occur until a brief cameo appearance in [I]Who Framed Roger Rabbit?[/I]

However, that didn't keep this bird down. In fact, he has become a sort of cultural icon back in his native land. Jose's adventures were chronicled in weekly comics that also featured Nestor, a crow who is Jose's best friend; Aurora, Jose's girlfriend; and his nephews, Zico and Zeca.

In 1962, Brazil started producing counterfeit Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck comics by superimposing images of Jose over the original Disney characters. As a result, Jose became an even bigger national star. Few people had suspicions since Mickey and Donald comics weren't prevalent in Brazil.

Eventually, though, people began to note some grave artistic errors; for example, the hazy silhouettes of Mickey and Donald that sometimes appeared around Jose.

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In 1965, these counterfeits ceased production, and new, official Jose stories began to come out again. Brazil still produces comics starring Jose, testament to his lasting appeal among the Brazilian people. He even recently began to take on a secret super-hero persona, that of The Green Bat (or Morcego Verde, as the Brazilians call him).

Jose has now returned to America big-time as one of the stars in the re-vamped 'Gran Fiesta Tour' ride in Epcot's Mexico Pavilion.

The ride features a new storyline with The Three Caballeros reuniting for a show in Mexico City. Of course, Donald goes missing, and it's up to Jose and Panchito to search throughout Mexico to find him. The ride concludes with the birds finally arriving at the show to sing their theme song, with fireworks exploding overhead. In the ride, Jose was voiced by Rob Paulsen.

Will Jose Carioca ever return to the screen again?

Well, Don Rosa DID write two sequels to the original film: one in 2000 entitled [I]The Three Caballeros Ride Again[/I] and another in 2005 called [I]The Magnificent Seven (Minus 4) Caballeros[/I]. Unfortunately (for me, at least), neither film was ever made.

But I still hold out hope!

Jose, along with Panchito and Donald, still sometimes appear outside the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot, and he's featured on some merchandise inside.

If fans remain steadfast in their love, then perhaps Jose Carioca will one day grace the silver screen again!

And just because I can never get too much Jose, I leave you with my favorite musical number from [I]The Three Caballeros.[/I]

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[/FONT][/SIZE][HR][/HR][SIZE=2][FONT=verdana][B][I]by Jeff Heimbuch[/I][/B]

If you have a tip, questions, comments, or gripes, please feel free email me at [EMAIL="[email protected]"][email protected][/EMAIL] or leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

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Updated 12-17-2011 at 11:55 PM by Dustysage

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Comments

  1. ttintagel's Avatar
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    The world needs more Zé! I hope the recurring rumors of a Brazil pavilion in EPCOT come true someday, so he can have a permanent home in the U.S. parks.
  2. Disney2055's Avatar
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    Also, do not forget that at Disneyland The Three Caballeros have a float in the Mickey's Soundsational Parade! Both Jose, Panchito and Donald ride with dancers and a pinata. The theme song and a spin on the main song of the parade are played while it strolls by.

  3. MarkTwain's Avatar
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    I freakin' love Jose!!!!! AAAAAHHHH!!

    *pant, pant*

    I mean, uh, I've always been to attached to the little guy. I don't have lots of Jose merchandise. Why would I have Jose merchandise?

    Seriously though, a lot of people complained when the Three Caballeros moved into the Mexico pavilion, but I wasn't one of them. We actually watch both the Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos every year at WDW.
  4. Monkey joe's Avatar
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    Jose was also featured on Mickey's Mouseworks and House Of Mouse.
  5. Koutesu's Avatar
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    And don't forget the Three Caballeros being in It's a Small World at Disneyland. Being in the Central/South America area, they do fit in as Jose and Panchito are popular in those countries.
  6. HMF's Avatar
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    Jose is Brazillian. Yet somehow WDI thinks he should co-host the MEXICO pavilion at EPCOT. If they must keep the 3 Cabs must remain in the ride Make it the "Latin America" pavilion. "The ride features a new storyline with The Three Caballeros reuniting for a show in Mexico City. Of course, Donald goes missing, and it's up to Jose and Panchito to search throughout Mexico to find him." The most overused cliche in WDI history
  7. 3IAlienKid's Avatar
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    The Three are featured on a few tile murals in the general store at the Coronado Springs Hotel at WDW (at least they were there in 2004). I'd post one of our photos, but we can't seem to find them.
  8. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Didn't Jose also star in the Mickey Mouse Revue?


    Timekeeper
  9. JeffHeimbuch's Avatar
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    I'm loving all the Jose love! You guys are awesome

    Disney2055 - Yes!! I saw that parade back in June, and I LOVED it. I sat around waiting for the 3 Caballeros float to come by. I had seen the sketches on Kevin Kidney's website, but seeing it all finished and up close was fantastic. I wish they had Jose and Panchito walk around the Park by themselves more.

    MarkTwain - Me too! In fact, I actually jumped for joy when I heard they were going into the Mexico Pavilion. I already had a soft spot for that ride to begin with, but adding The Three Caballeros was a huge plus for me. What kind of Jose merch do you have? THE WORLD (or just me) NEEDS TO KNOW!!!

    Koutesu - Yes, they are there as well! I took a LOT of photos of them when I passed them on the ride. People thought I was nuts when I was clicking away.

    HMF - While it IS the Mexico Pavilion, that is the closest they are going to get to a Latin American one. I, for one, am just happy he has a home there.

    3IAlienKid - Panchito's is the name of their gift shop! He actually pops up a lot more at Coronado than Jose or Donald do. But they do have them in one of the pool's at All Star Music Resort.

    Timekeeper - You are correct, there was a Three Caballeros segment of the Mickey Mouse Revue!
  10. waltopia's Avatar
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    Jose Carioca is also alive and well in Tokyo DisneySea, where all three of the cabelleros reside in Lost Delta area as walk about characters to meet and greet. They are the main characters in this 'land,' (which home to a meso-American themed Indian Jones pyramid and ride). They are hugely popular with people for picture taking.
    I also LOVE this movie. It's just so surreal and imaginative....it gleefully dives right on over the deep end and keeps on going. The Baia sequence is full of some of the loveliest images to come from the Walt era studio. And the train trip over the Andes is a stand-alone slice of classic Disney whimsy. Its a great 'birthday' movie, travelogue, and flashback in time.
  11. JeffHeimbuch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltopia
    Jose Carioca is also alive and well in Tokyo DisneySea, where all three of the cabelleros reside in Lost Delta area as walk about characters to meet and greet. They are the main characters in this 'land,' (which home to a meso-American themed Indian Jones pyramid and ride). They are hugely popular with people for picture taking.
    I also LOVE this movie. It's just so surreal and imaginative....it gleefully dives right on over the deep end and keeps on going. The Baia sequence is full of some of the loveliest images to come from the Walt era studio. And the train trip over the Andes is a stand-alone slice of classic Disney whimsy. Its a great 'birthday' movie, travelogue, and flashback in time.
    Really? I had no idea! That's amazing, and makes me very jealous. Even MORE of a reason for me to get over there some day! Do you happen to have any photos of them over there? I'd love to see them!

    And I agree...the movie itself is a great little snapshot of the studio at the time, and features some wonderful animation. Baia is a gorgeous sequence, and my favorite of the whole film.
  12. waltopia's Avatar
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    (sent)
    Updated 12-19-2011 at 05:13 PM by waltopia (Fixed)
  13. WorldLover71's Avatar
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    No one has mentioned Jose's appearance in the "Blame it on the Samba" section of Melody Time. I can never get that melody out of my head after I hear it!
  14. boblinds's Avatar
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    Nice to see some props for the film that I also considered the greatest Disney film of all time. However, Jeff, you missed the best musical number by just a few seconds. Immediately after the sequence you cite is Ary Barroso's "Os quindins de yaya" which IMO is the most brilliant single sequence in the history of Disney. A stunning combination of animation and live action (the best until Mary Poppins) and seven minutes that just build and build to a brilliant, surreal conclusion. Sheer genius.

    Plus it features Carmen Miranda's gorgeous sister, Aurora!

    Aurora Miranda - Quindins de yaya - YouTube
  15. Slantiness's Avatar
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    Hey guys. Good news! I'm obsessed with Jose at the moment. This fixation is pretty much at the peak right now (it's been going on for about a month and a half) and the flame is being fanned by the fact that I am currently living at Disney World and have lots of opportunities to see my crush. For a mostly unknown character, WDW actually shows him a SURPRISING amount of love!!

    So I'll post a couple pics of things around property. Okay?



    This is a rather prominent (and accurate!) drawing of Jose on the wall in the lobby of Disney's All Star Music Resort



    This is the Three Caballeros Fountain at the Calyspo pool, also at All Star Music. Jose is quite cute on it and even has his cigar.



    The boys at the end of their Epcot ride.



    I took this pic of Jose on the wall of the Walt Disney: One Man's Dream exhibit in Hollywood Studios
    (TO BE CONTINUED)
  16. Slantiness's Avatar
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    (continued)


    This is also on the wall in One Man's Dream



    A charming (if a bit scary) topiary of our three friends can be found at Coronado Springs Resort!



    A better picture of the Jose topiary.



    Some of the previously mentioned tile art at Coronado Springs


    (TO BE CONTINUED)
  17. Slantiness's Avatar
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    (Continued)




    That's a cute one.



    Are they three dimensional in this one? They sure look like it. I also think it looks like they're on a ride, but it's probably just a sarape. Also, he has his cigar again in this one :-)

    And finally, in the same area (a store) at Coronado Springs as those tile scenes, there is a nice little balcony set up with an actual size! jose carioca looking down at us.



    So yep! Enjoy, enjoy. All pics taken by me on WDW property.

    :-}
  18. JeffHeimbuch's Avatar
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    Boblinds - Oh, Aurora <3 Haha. And I agree, that sequence builds and builds to an insane conclusion. so underrated!

    Slantiness - Thanks for all the great photos! I appreciate you taking the time to document Jose around the property. My trip last year to WDW, we stayed at Coronado Springs, and I LOVED how he was all over there. Thanks for sharing.