Walt Disney and Animation Artists in South America - 1941

Here is another great pictorial article related to the Walt Disney and animation artists trip in South America in 1941 - the famous "Walt's Grupo". LIFE magazine photographers were there and shoot these rare pictures!

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 took during ten weeks Walt Disney, his wife Lilly and a group of sixteen great artists from Walt Disney Animation as well as composers from the Walt Disney Studios to South America, mainly to Brazil and Argentina, but also to Chile and Peru. The movie, of course, now known as "Saludos Amigos" was 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 the character Josť Carioca.

But the Disney group was not alone, as LIFE photographer Hart Preston was there too and did a fantastic photographic report for LIFE magazine. It is these very rare pictures that you will see today, probably for the first time.

We will begin by Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. On the top, Walt and Lilian Disney going for a tandem bike ride in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, June 1941. Below Frank Thomas, on the left, is standing with Walt Disney on a beach of Rio de Janeiro.

Precisely, in the next pictures we'll see Disney and his group going on a Brazilian beach...

Where Walt with his camera filmed some young cariocas...

Another great picture of Walt filming on a beach of Rio de Janeiro.

Meanwhile, Disney artists like Lee and Mary Blair created great watercolours that will serve as inspiration for the future movie.

Jump to the full article on Disney and more and discover literally dozens of rare LIFE magazine pictures of the 1941 "Walt's and El Grupo" 1941 South America trip:

Disney and more: Walt Disney and Animation Artists in South America - 1941