Friday, September 2, 2011

It’s Film Strip Friday! The Three Caballeros

It’s Film Strip Friday!
The Three Caballeros
Release Date December 21st, 1944
It's Donald's turn to take a fantastic journey through these colorful lands with his friends Joe Carioca and Panchito in The Three Caballeros. With lighthearted dance and lively music, it's a celebration the whole family will enjoy!
A large box arrives for Donald on his birthday, three gifts inside. He unwraps one at a time, and each takes him on an adventure. The first is a movie projector with a film about the birds of South American: Donald watches two cartoons, one tells of a penguin who longs to live on a tropical isle and the other about a gaucho boy who hunts the wild ostrich. The second gift is a pop-up book about Brazil. Inside is Jose Carioca, who takes Donald to Brazil’s Bahia for a mix of animation and live action, the two cartoon birds sing and dance with natives. The third gift is a pinata, accompanied by Panchito Pistoles . A ride on a magic serape takes the three amigos singing and dancing across Mexico. Ole!
The Three Caballeros is a 1944 American animated feature film, produced by Walt Disney and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures. The film premiered in Mexico City on December 21, 1944. It was released in the United States on February 3, 1945. The seventh animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film plots an adventure through parts of Latin America, combining live-action and animation. This is the second of the Disney package films of the 1940s done at the United States Governments request.
The film is plotted as a series of self-contained segments, strung together by the device of Donald Duck opening birthday gifts from his Latin American friends. Several Latin American stars of the period appear, including singers Aurora Miranda (sister of Carmen Miranda) and Dora Luz, as well as dancer Carmen Molina.
The film was produced as part of the studio's good will message for South America, but is less obviously propagandistic than others. The film again starred
Donald Duck, who in the course of the film is joined by old friend Jose Carioca, the cigar-smoking parrot from Saludos Amigos (1942) representing Brazil, and later makes a new friend in the persona of pistol-packing rooster Panchito Pistoles, representing Mexico.
The music of the Mexican part was written by Mexican composer Manuel Esperon, who wrote the score for over 540 Mexican movies in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. Walt Disney, after having seen his success in the Mexican movie industry, called him personally to ask him to participate in the movie. The main song for the Mexican part is "Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes! ", one of Esperon's most famous songs.
It was severely edited and re-released in featurette form on April 15, 1977 to accompany a re-issue of Never a Dull Moment.

The film consists of several segments, connected by a common theme. In the film, it is Donald Duck’s birthday, and he receives three presents from friends in Latin America. The first present is a film projector, which shows him a documentary on birds. During the documentary, he learns about the Arocuan Bird, who received its name due to its eccentric song. The Aracuan also makes several appearances throughout the film.
The next present is a book given to Donald by Jose Carioca himself. This book tells of Bahia, which is one of Brazil's 26 states. José shrinks them both down so that they can enter the book. Donald and Jose meet up with several of the locals, who dance the samba. Donald ends up pining for one girl. After the journey, Donald and Jose leave the book.
Upon returning, Donald realizes that he is too small to open his third present. Jose shows Donald how to use black magic to return himself to the proper size. After opening the present, he meets Panchito Pistoles, a native of Mexico. The three take the name "The Three Caballeros" and have a short celebration. Panchito then presents Donald's present, a pinata. Pancho tells Donald of the tradition behind the piñata. Jose and Panchito then blindfold Donald, and have him attempt to break open the piñata, which eventually reveal many surprises. The celebration ends with Donald Duck being fired away by firecrackers in the shape of a bull (the firecrackers are lit by Jose with his cigar).
Throughout the film, the Aracuan Bird appears at random moments. He usually pesters everyone, sometimes stealing Jose's cigar. His most famous gag is when he re-routes the train by drawing new tracks. He returns three years later in Disney's Melody Time.
The film consists of seven segments:
The Cold-Blooded Penguin:
This segment involves a penguin named Pablo, reproducing images of the penguins of Punta Tombo in Argentina along the coast of Patagonia, "Pablo the penguin" is so fed up with the freezing conditions of the South Pole that he decides to leave for warmer climates.
The Flying Gauchio:
This segment involves the adventures of a little boy from Uruguay and his winged donkey, Burrito. It is believed the donkey is modeled after hefty Latin lover Don Juan De Gama.
This segment involves a pop-up book trip through Baia, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia, as Donald Duck and José Carioca met up with some of the locals who dance a lively samba and Donald pining for one of the females, played by singer Aurora Miranda.
Las Posadas:
This is the story of a group of Mexican children who celebrated Christmas by re-enacting the journey of Mary, the mother of Jesus and Saint Joseph searching for room at the inn. "Posada" meant "inn", and they were told "no posada" at each house until they came to one where they were offered shelter in a stable. This leads to festivities including the breaking of the piñata, which in turn leads to Donald Duck trying to break the piñata as well.
Mexico: Potzcuaro, Vera Cruz and Acapulco:
Panchito gives Donald and Jose a tour of Mexico on a flying sarape. Several Mexican dances and songs are learned here. A key point to what happens later is that Donald seemed to be a "wolf" to the ladies again, hounded down every single one he saw, and tries to gain return affections, but fails. But he ends up kissing Jose while blindfolded.
You Belong To My Heart:
The skies of Mexico result in Donald falling in love with a singing woman. The lyrics in the song itself play parts in the scenarios as to what is happening as well.
Donald’s Surreal Reverie:
A kiss, or several to be exact, lead to Donald going into the phrase "Love is a drug." This scene is similar to "Pink Elephants on Parade," for being a major "drunk" scene. Donald constantly envisions sugar rush colors, flowers, and Panchito and Jose popping in at the worst moments. The scene changes after Donald manages to dance with a girl from the state of Oaxaca, from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The two dance to the song "La Sandunga." The girl begins by singing the song, with Donald "quacking" out the rest of the chorus. The "drunkenness" slows down for a moment, but speeds up again when a Mexican girl uses a conductor's stick to make cacti do just about anything while dancing "Jesusita en Chihuahua", a trademark song of the Mexican Revolution. This is a notable scene for live action and cartoon animation mixing, and well animation among the cacti. The scene is interrupted when Panchito and Jose spice things up, and Donald ends up battling a toy bull with wheels on its legs. The catch is that it is loaded with firecrackers and other explosives.
The Agustine Lara's song "You Belong To My Heart" was featured in a Disney short called Pluto's Blue Note (1947). It was later recorded by Bing Crosby. The Ary Barroso's song "Bahia" and the title song became popular hit tunes in the 1940s. The complete "Bahia" sequence was cut from the 1977 theatrical reissue of the film.
Some clips from this film were used in the "Welcome to Rio" portion of the Mickey Mouse Disco music video.
Don Rosa wrote two comic book sequels in 2000 and 2005 titled The Three Caballeros Ride Again and The Magnificent Seven (Minus 4) Caballeros respectively.
As of September 2006, Panchito and José Carioca, have returned at Walt Disney World where they appear for meet and greets. They can only be found outside the Mexico pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot. Donald also appears with them.
The film received 2 nominations for Oscars in 1944
Best Musical Score
Best Sound Recording
C. O. Slyfield

They also appear in some of Disney's themed resorts, such as Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort where one can find topiaries of the trio, and Disney’s All-Star Music Resort where a fountain depicting the trio is the centrepiece of the Guitar-shaped Calypso Pool.
Ficitonal music group Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the title song, "The Three Caballeros," for their 1995 Disney-themed album When You Wish Upon a Chipmunk.
In February 2001, José and Panchito appeared in The Three Caballeros episode of House of Mouse series.
In April 2007, the film became the basis for a ride at the Mexican pavilion at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT named Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros.
Along with many other Disney stars such as Peter Pan, Lilo and Stich, Alice and the White Rabbit, and others, Panchito, Jose, and Donald appear in the reopening of It’s a Small World in the Mexican segment of the ride. They also appear at the Mexico pavilion at EPCOT, the Walt Disney world theme park.
Information found at:

The Three Caballeros Original Release Poster


  1. Well, you did your homework! I did not know ALL those facts by any means! Thanks for sharing all that wonderful information!

    Have a magical day.

  2. I'm glad you enjoy! I had fun finding out the information.


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