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South of the Border With Disney: Walt Disney and the Good Neighbor Program, 1941-1948

General Information:

Media Type: Book
Type: Other
Release Date: 2009-10-20

Geek's Thoughts: This book is one of the best reference materials I have seen/read on this period in Disney history. It chronicles the travels of a group of Disney Studio personnel (including Walt Disney) to South America (and on subsequent trips to other destinations South of the US Border) as part of the Good Neighbor Program and the fruits of this trip. It traces the development of the shorts and films that came out of these trips. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in learning about this time period. The presentation, detail, supporting documentation in this book is incredible. I would warn you though that it is not lite reading. It is a detailed accounting of this time period in Disney history. I think this will make a great resource as a reference book also due to the way it is set up with each short/film receiving its own section/chapter and the completeness of the reporting for each.

In recent years this time period and the films/shorts that sprung from it have come back to the forefront. Whether its from a renewed interest in the films thanks to attraction updates (EPCOTs Mexico Pavilion ) or the documentary El Grupo that was released last year that also looked at this time period.

I found the first section of the book that detailed the main excursion to South America in 1941 to be the most interesting. I knew a little about this trip but I did not realize how extensive it was (now I wish I had been able to make the documentary screening at the D23 convention hopefully El Grupo finds its way to home video) nor how many shorts sprung from this program. As you read through Disney history, whether it be the parks or the films many of the same names pop up and I always enjoy learning about these intersections and how peoples roles evolved over the years.


The book is divided into six chapters but I really classify it as two parts. The first is about the trip itself and then the rest details the films and shorts that came out of it. The six chapters are:

  • Ambassadors of Goodwill
  • Saludos Amigos
  • Selected Short Subjects
  • Films for the Americas
  • The Three Caballeros
  • Blame it on Samba
There is also a complete filmography appendix as well as documentation notes.

One other interesting note on this work is it is printed by Disney Editions but also had the involvement of the Walt Disney Family Foundation and it also has a D23 logo on the back.

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