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Tide Was Always HighThe Music of Latin America in Los Angeles$

Josh Kun

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520294394

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520294394.001.0001

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Walt Disney’s Saludos Amigos

Walt Disney’s Saludos Amigos

Hollywood and the Propaganda of Authenticity

(p.105) 4 Walt Disney’s Saludos Amigos
Tide Was Always High

Carol A. Hess

University of California Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the music of Walt Disney's animated feature Saludos Amigos (1942). It first surveys the principal trends in music and Pan Americanism during the Good Neighbor period. It then analyzes the music, folkloric and otherwise, and relates it to the film's visual and narrative elements, connecting it to broader themes in Pan Americanist discourse. In addition, it reflects on authenticity in terms of Pan Americanism, that is, a yearning for a “genuine culture of the Americas.” It is argued that, whatever authenticity Saludos Amigos proffered through its music, the film as a whole served mainly as a tool of strictly one-sided propaganda in favor of the United States and the war effort. Authenticity, always an elastic term, becomes even more so when paired with the tools of propaganda, especially as fashioned by Hollywood.

Keywords:   Walt Disney, animated films, Pan Americanism, propaganda, authenticity, music, war effort

ON THE EVENING OF OCTOBER 30, 1943, when the United States had been embroiled in World War II for nearly two years, a “Latin American Fiesta” took place within the concentric arches of the Hollywood Bowl. This gala event, planned by the consuls of Latin American countries with offices in Los Angeles, fêted with music and dance the newly revitalized friendship between the United States and Latin America. One sponsoring organization was the Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA), the sprawling, Washington-based agency charged with advancing the Good Neighbor Policy.1 Crafted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration, that policy proclaimed the virtues of hemispheric solidarity in the face of European fascism, often relying on what was openly recognized as propaganda. Among the OIAA’s fifty-nine committees was the Motion Picture Section, which collaborated with the Motion Picture Society (p.106) for the Americas (MPSA), recently established in Hollywood to oversee film portrayals of Latin America.2 Other Fiesta sponsors included the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara branches of the Pan American League, and other entities.3

Serving as emcees were two icons of Good Neighborly music and film. Desi Arnaz, who had wildly slapped his conga drum in Too Many Girls (1939), paired up as master of ceremonies with Xavier Cugat, the Latin ballroom star who reputedly appeared on more film footage than any other bandleader in Hollywood.4 That evening, Cugat also performed with his orchestra, backing up the Mexican American actor and singer Lina Romay, his frequent collaborator on NBC Radio and the daughter of Porfirio Romay of the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles. Other featured artists included the up-and-coming Colombian baritone Carlos Ramírez, a contract actor for MGM, and Aurora Miranda, sister of the flamboyant Carmen. For those with more highbrow tastes, Dolores Niles and Serge Leslie offered the ballet “from the Spanish opera Le Cid by Massenet.” (Marshaling a “Spanish opera”—by a Frenchman—for the cause of Pan American solidarity surpassed even the usual such gaffes. Not only is Spain well outside the Americas but in 1943 it was a pariah state, having collaborating with Hitler and Mussolini during the Spanish Civil War.)

The Fiesta also offered folk music, hardly a typical offering for Hollywood display. Yet female representatives of the twenty-one American republics processed in a Parade of the Americas, each to the accompaniment of a requisite folk genre—a Chilean cueca, a Cuban son, a Panamanian tamborito, a Peruvian wayno, a Venezuelan joropo, a Southern Cone pericón for Uruguay, and a “Cherokee Indian Dance” for the United States. (A baile boliviano and danza nicaragüense are also listed in the program although it is not clear which Bolivian and Nicaraguan dances were played.) A subtler reference to folk music figured as well. Walt Disney’s animated feature Saludos Amigos (1942), which chronicles a tour of Latin America undertaken by a team of Disney artists, was enhanced with “authentic folk music of a far distant day,” as one critic enthused.5 Accordingly, two of the film’s cartoon protagonists—or at least their human agents (i.e., the voices of these characters)—made cameo appearances that night at the Bowl. Donald Duck (Clarence Nash) and Joe (José or Ze) Carioca (José Oliveira) both came onstage “courtesy of Walt Disney” and graced the program cover of the “Latin American Fiesta.”

Well might this pair figure so prominently. When Saludos Amigos premiered just over a year earlier, critics had hailed it as a major step forward in Good Neighbor films, calling it an “amusing and friendship-cementing piece of entertainment,” a “beguiling way of helping along the desired hemispheric solidarity for war and peace,” and a “strong potential good-will builder.”6 Clearly it fulfilled the obligations of propaganda. But Saludos Amigos was also upheld as “a document of authenticity” in that critics believed Disney and his team had produced an accurate account of Latin American life, one, moreover, that in true Pan Americanist spirit, would intertwine with US values.7 One critic exulted in Disney’s refusal to be guided by “extravagant and mistaken notions about our Southern neighbors,” and another insisted, “here at last is cinematic justice and atonement for Hollywood’s insults to Latin America!”8 As we’ll see, folk music was an important part of this rhetoric.

We shouldn’t be surprised that US critics took this self-congratulatory tone, which they often did when it came to Good Neighbor films. But it is worth noting that Saludos Amigos (p.107) also impressed Latin Americans. This reaction is partly tied to the film’s exceptional performance history, for instead of premiering in the United States, it was first shown in Rio de Janeiro (as Alô, Amigos) on August 23, 1942. This was no ordinary night at the movies: the previous day, after years of vacillating between the Allies and the Axis, the Brazilian president-dictator Getúlio Vargas declared war on Italy and Germany.9 By October, Saludos Amigos was playing to great acclaim in major cities in Argentina and Chile, as noted in reviews of the Hollywood premiere that December.

Such enthusiasm may surprise us today. After all, in 1971, when the Good Neighbor Policy was but a dim memory, the Chilean critic Ariel Dorfman penned his mordant How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic, in which he likened Disney’s cuddly protagonists to an omnipresent “registered trademark,” one that spread manufactured “sweetness and light” to subaltern populations enslaved to US consumer culture.10 As current scholarship on the film shows, recent critics are divided, with some echoing Dorfman, some finding the film relatively benign, and others largely bypassing the political implications of Saludos Amigos but agreeing with one of the few dissenting early critics, James Agee, who took issue with Disney’s “famous cuteness.”11

These early critics also applauded the music of Saludos Amigos. Several praised the music team of Charles Wolcott, Ed Plumb, and Paul Smith for researching Latin American folk songs and dances, along with indigenous music, which in the United States was often loosely referred to as “folk music” or “folklore.”12 But the film also showcases contemporaneous selections by Latin Americans; further, one critic likened the film itself to a musical composition, calling its four scenes “movements.”13 (Considering the low esteem in which cartoon music was often held, this was high praise.)14 So conscientiously did the music team approach their project that when they jazzed up their Latin American sources with a “Hollywood” sound, these elaborations seemed to offend no one, not even in Latin America, at least as far as we can tell.

Although many have written about Saludos Amigos, no one has addressed the music in any detail. In this essay, I first survey the principal trends in music and Pan Americanism during the Good Neighbor period.15 I then analyze the music, folkloric and otherwise, and relate it to the film’s visual and narrative elements, connecting it to broader themes in Pan Americanist discourse. In addition, I reflect on authenticity in terms of Pan Americanism, that is, a yearning for a “genuine culture of the Americas,” as one cultural agent of the period put it.16 In the end, I argue that, whatever authenticity Saludos Amigos proffered through its music, the film as a whole served mainly as a tool of strictly one-sided propaganda—in favor of the United States and the war effort. Authenticity, always an elastic term, becomes even more so when paired with the tools of propaganda, especially as fashioned by Hollywood.

Music, the Good Neighbor Policy, and the Search for Authenticity

First, what did Pan Americanism, a congeries of sentiments and policies dating from the 1890s, mean in Los Angeles? In the program booklet for the Latin American Fiesta, the (p.108) Venezuelan consul Alberto Posse-Rivas upheld its virtues, according to which citizens of the Americas share a common history and character that supersede individual countries, regions, or language groups.17 As Posse-Rivas observed, Americans all strove for “the same ideal,” one that had “emanated with refulgent splendor from the minds of those illustrious patriots Abraham Lincoln in the north and Francisco de Miranda in the south.” What better setting to celebrate these parallels, Posse-Rivas continued, than “the beautiful city of Los Angeles,” which “repeatedly [had] given proof of its sympathetic understanding and appreciation of the Latin American peoples?” With these high-flown phrases, the Venezuelan consul deftly dismissed two centuries of border tensions, including the zoot suit riots that had rocked Los Angeles that very summer.

It wasn’t the first time Angelenos had been extravagantly compared to their southern neighbors. In November 1922, when an exhibition of Mexican folk art opened at the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art, the Mexican consul Leandro Garza Leal set forth Pan Americanist principles. “The ideals of the Pilgrims,” Garza Leal declared, “were the same in basis as those of the Mexican Revolutionists, against the Spanish in 1810”; like their Northern brethren, Mexicans “were fighting for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”18 To be sure, during the 1910s and 1920s, Pan Americanism suffered one of its sharpest declines due to US military interventions in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Mexico, along with exploitation of Latin America’s natural resources and cheap local labor by US business.

Now with the world at war, the stakes were higher. Roosevelt not only dusted off Pan Americanism but gave the concept new life as the Good Neighbor policy, aided by his personal popularity and by genuine fear of an Axis invasion of the hemisphere. Latin America was no longer a congeries of “banana republics” and dictatorships filled with temperamental “half-breeds,” as the rhetoric of the 1920s would have it. Rather, the American republics were to be seen as part of a harmonious whole joined by the values over which Posse-Rivas had rhapsodized.19 As the administration scrambled to smooth over past tensions with the region, the Good Neighbor Policy took shape. It drew unabashedly on propaganda, the strategies of which had become increasingly fine tuned since World War I and which also reflected the goals of cultural diplomacy, then in its nascent stages in the United States.20 In 1940, Harold Lavine and James Wechsler of the New York–based Institute for Propaganda Analysis noted approvingly the “appropriation of new instruments for exerting the stimuli,” concluding that propaganda was a fact of modern life:

We live in a propaganda age. Public opinion no longer is formulated by the slow processes of what Professor John Dewey calls shared experience. In our time public opinion is primarily a response to propaganda stimuli … it would be more fair to state that ours is an age of competing propagandas.21

For generating Good Neighborly propaganda through culture, Los Angeles was indeed the ideal setting Posse-Rivas described. Because the city boasted such a high concentration (p.109) of Spanish-speaking inhabitants, Spanish-language theater and film had thrived there for over a century; John Koegel refers to “the largest Spanish-language stage in the United States.”22 Of course, Hollywood wielded special power.23 As with the US government, however, previous missteps were painfully obvious. Ever since the silent-era “greaser,” Hollywood had spewed out anti-Hispanic stereotypes—the shifty bandido, the temperamental Latin lover, or the somnolent wastrel snoozing under his sombrero. With the Good Neighbor Policy, a fresh start seemed nonetheless possible. Hollywood, the great popularizer, now popularized Latin America, a subject few US Americans had studied in primary or secondary schools.24 For example, in Juárez (1939), a well-researched film that focuses on the Mexican president’s admiration for Abraham Lincoln, Latin America appears in a positive light in comparison with European enemies of democracy.25 Disney, too, produced educational films in addition to cartoon features.26

The advent of the movie musical in the early 1930s coincided both with the Good Neighbor period and with the Latin music craze then sweeping the United States, and studios churned out musicals featuring this alluring music. Yet nearly all Good Neighbor musicals fell short. They tended to be frothy confections with travelogue-style titles that emphasized little more than glamour (That Night in Rio) or “tropical” settings (Weekend in Havana). Advertisements hawked “torrid” scenes in “gay” Latin America, which teemed with beaches, swaying palms, exotic vegetation, and sexy inhabitants. Even movies that explicitly referred to the Good Neighbor Policy demeaned Latin Americans by depicting either corrupt locals, as in Escape from Paradise (1939), or slow-witted locals. Hollywood also made many musical errors. First, it relied on its own composers rather than on Latin Americans. Next, it often portrayed inauthentic musical practices.27 To take just one example, Argentine moviegoers were incensed by Argentine Nights, the screen debut of the Andrews Sisters. Its “Rhumbaboogie” features the high-spirited trio frolicking in Caribbean ruffles to an amalgam of pseudo-Cuban music and boogie-woogie. As one Argentine reviewer concluded, “as long as Hollywood insists on seeing Argentina as an incredibly ridiculous tropical country, no Pan American understanding is possible.”28

Different approaches to musical Good Neighborliness were tested in other circles. In classical music, critics admired works by the Mexican composer Carlos Chávez (1899–1978), seen to reinforce the ideal of ancient America untainted by “civilization,” code for a decadent Europe exhausted by war, whose traditions had held sway in the Americas far too long. Not surprisingly, the notion of the Americas as a tabula rasa, on which a new history would be written, was equally compelling in political discourse.29 Chávez enshrined the tabula rasa in his music—the “authentic expressive values” of Pan Americanism, as critic Paul Rosenfeld effused—by drawing on well-established signifiers of the “primitive” in his works: “open” intervals (fourths and fifths), ostinati, conjunct melodies, short motivic fragments of limited range (including native melodies), pentatonicism, and even native instruments. US critics thus affirmed New World identity through these exoticist tropes and acknowledged a yet-to-be-fully-discovered Other.30 In other words, in the Americas self and Other could coexist. Yet Latin American intellectual elites were likelier to revere European culture, especially in (p.110) Chile and Argentina. As a result, the notion of a common American culture proved a hard sell for US cultural diplomats.31

Classical composers north and south also availed themselves of folk music, weaving dance rhythms or melodies into their compositions. Sometimes they did so to repudiate the avantgarde, following the lead of the musicologist and composer Charles Seeger, who urged composers to avoid elitism.32 By 1941, as chief of the Music Section of the Pan American Union, Seeger was in a position to advance these principles on behalf of the Good Neighbor Policy, working closely (if sometimes less than smoothly) with the OIAA. William Berrien, another Washington-based cultural agent during the Good Neighbor period, argued that familiarity with Latin American folk songs of “birth and death, heroic deeds, work, [songs] of beggars, muleteers, vaqueros” could ensure affective north-south bonds; Berrien also held that folk music study would counteract the perception, relentlessly driven by Hollywood and the music industry, of Latin American music as “very gay and sometimes spicy.”33

Folk music, which was becoming established in academic departments in the United States and Latin America, thus promised authenticity. To be sure, north and south it was much influenced by Europe, whether in Appalachian ballads in the United States or the common-practice harmonies and instruments of Spain and Portugal in Latin America. Whatever folk music’s roots, scholars and performers concerned with preservation held, sometimes nostalgically, that the rural values it represented could protect national identities against encroaching urbanization. Folk music also offered convincing proof of the Americas’ common characteristics. In compiling collections of Spanish-language folksongs, US cultural agents sought to win hearts and minds throughout the Americas through shared song. The preface of one such collection rather extravagantly declared, for example, that anyone singing the children’s song “El patio de mi casa” would instantly sense that it mirrors the intervallic structure of a certain well-known tune commemorating “our friend MacDonald who had a farm.”34 Like classical musicians, folklorists considered self and Other. As Regina Bendix argues, authenticity “is generated not from the bounded classification of an Other, but from the probing comparison between self and Other.”35 Such probing was the source of both tension and fulfillment during the Good Neighbor period.

Of these three musics, popular, classical, and folk, it was popular Latin ballroom dances—“very gay and sometimes spicy”—that commanded the biggest public. As lyricist and producer Arthur Freed declared in 1940, “hemispheric solidarity, good neighborliness, and the like is [sic] only a background reason for the flood of South American features. … The actual reason is South American music.”36 Just as in Good Neighbor musicals, US Americans danced the tango and the rhumba (the music industry’s spelling of rumba, a multifaceted Cuban musical practice).37 These genres were often reworked with Big Band orchestration; likewise, English lyrics might be sung to melodies by Latin Americans that had nothing to do with the original, a genre Gustavo Pérez Firmat dubs the “latune.”38 Especially compelling was so-called Latin rhythm, consistently understood as “complex” but sometimes simplified by the sheet music industry—and advertised as such—to increase sales.39 The result was a generic product that could be marketed as “Latin.”

(p.111) It would be easy to claim that Latin Americans uniformly resented US popular music and the inroads it was making worldwide. But if we undertake a “probing comparison,” we find that their reactions were by no means monolithic. Arnaz and Cugat (the latter born in Spain) were both delighted with their Hollywood careers. Brazilian artists reversed the latunes phenomenon, singing hit songs from the United States with Portuguese lyrics and creating a genre known as the versão.40 Folk genres such as the Colombian cumbia or the Andean wayno began to be enhanced with saxophone. Other Latin Americans railed against the Colossus of the North, however. When Carmen Miranda returned to Brazil after cavorting through several Hollywood films in her banana-laden headdress, she was greeted coolly by her compatriots for having sold out. The Mexican composer Manuel Ponce once lamented that the foxtrot had caused Mexican youth to “deliver themselves unconsciously into the arms of the conqueror … overlooking the fact that behind the invading dance from the United States, Uncle Sam’s coattails were etched.”41

Racism also affected north-south musical exchange. In the early Good Neighbor musical Flying Down to Rio (1933), the central production number features the wholesome, athletic movements of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (onscreen together for the first time), setting them apart from the pelvic thrusting and butt-wiggling of Afro-Brazilians earlier in the same sequence.42 In 1935, the recently fortified Production Code Administration attacked the film for “sex suggestiveness”; indeed, it deemed the “entire colored troup [sic]” objectionable.43 Various spokespersons for Latin American culture acted no differently. In 1941, when the Brazilian historian Pedro Calmon saw the African American dancer Katherine Dunham and her company in the Technicolor short Carnival in Rhythm, he protested that the film conveyed the impression that “all or most Brazilians are negroes, and that all or most of their dances and music are predominantly African.”44 Probably the best-known Good Neighbor project to crash on the shoals of racism was Orson Welles’s unfinished documentary on samba in Rio de Janeiro, which the OIAA nixed because, among other reasons, it emphasized samba’s Afro-Brazilian roots. Clearly black and mixed-race people weren’t good for propaganda north or south, however authentic their contributions to Latin American music.

Saludos Amigos: Propaganda and the Limits of Authenticity

Disney initially planned twelve cartoons, of which Saludos Amigos was the first.45 The films were conceived to purvey both “direct and indirect propaganda” about and to Latin America.46 As noted, Saludos Amigos more than fulfilled that objective. One critic quipped, “who would have thought in the dim primordial past of five years ago that Donald Duck would be giving the retort perfect to [Hitler’s minister of propaganda] Herr Doktor Goebbels?”47 Likewise, the educator Dr. Lenore Vaughn-Eames asserted, “if this is the type of propaganda film that Disney is going to put out let’s have more and many of them.”48 Yet Saludos Amigos is also very much about artistic representation. No mere account of life in Latin America, the film gives pride of place to the creative process of the Disney team: how they experience Latin America and transform their experiences into image, movement, and sound.

(p.112) Visually, the film operates in three different environments. One, of course, is animation. Two Disney characters already familiar worldwide figure prominently: Donald Duck, as a curious tourist, and Goofy, as a Texas cowboy who unexpectedly finds himself in the pampas. Variety described both as “solid Yank symbols.”49 Complementing them were two Latin American characters, a mail plane named Pedro, who crosses the Andes from his native Chile, and Joe Carioca, a natty Brazilian parrot with a flair for the samba. The second visual environment is that of the documentary. Enlarged 16 mm Technicolor footage records the artists’ activities—sketching, typing, listening to music—such that photographic reality contrasts with cartoon antics. A third environment is the avalanche of sketches and paintings by the artists themselves that punctuates the film. Boundaries between the three are fluid: often a drawing morphs into a cartoon character, giving birth to a dialogue or a story, followed in short order by the 16 mm footage. In other words, the visual format discourages a “bounded classification” between self and Other.

Nonetheless, the 16 mm footage reinforces the US gaze, as does the avuncular voice of the narrator Fred Shields. As Shields tells it, both the human and the animated travelers are intrigued by the Latin American Other. For example, the Disney team consistently seeks rural settings rather than “modern city life.” (One exception is Rio de Janeiro, where the team initially lands and to which it returns; Buenos Aires, on the other hand, was “impressive” but no match for “the lure of the pampas.”) Just as sixteenth-century European travelers marveled at outsized plants and exotic blooms, the cartoonists find themselves in a “scenic wonderland,” as the Hollywood Reporter put it.50 Superlatives abound, whether in referencing Lake Titicaca (the highest navigable body of water in the world), the Andean peak Aconcagua (the highest mountain outside of Asia), or the “millions of acres of rich grazing land” that constitute the Argentine pampas. Unlike Good Neighbor musicals, usually set in a handful of countries deemed attractive or cosmopolitan, Saludos Amigos ventures to Bolivia and the Chilean Andes, not normally part of the Hollywood circuit.

In praising Disney for avoiding “extravagant and mistaken notions about our Southern neighbors,” critics wanted to understand the secret of his success. Evidently it boiled down to high regard for his subjects. An anonymous reviewer for Variety stated that “Disney took great care to treat the … culture of the South Americans with great respect and admiration.”51 A reporter from the same publication, writing from Buenos Aires, noted “the Norteamericanos … become the fall guys,” adding, “Disney has been careful that in getting his laughs, the gags are not on our Good Neighbors, but rather on the Yanquis.”52 Critics also applauded the team for having “gathered the folk tales and [legends] for the cartoon imagery,” ensuring that “the background [was] faithfully followed … based on actual customs and facts.”53

Interweaving with the three visual environments and the narrative stance is the music. As is well known, film music, often perceived only subliminally, is not mere “background” but a set of special codes distinct from other cinematographic elements.54 Music may even speak to viewers more viscerally than the visual elements. As Pascal Quignard comments, “what is seen can be abolished by the eyelids … what is heard knows neither eyelids, nor partitions, neither (p.113) curtains nor walls.”55 In short, the music of Saludos Amigos fulfilled the objective of propaganda defined by Lavine and Wechsler; namely, it was a means of “exerting the stimuli.”

Yet the music also explored the relationship between self and Other. As noted, the music team drew on a variety of strategies. To be sure, they showcased folk music. But they also incorporated primitivist gestures, techniques clearly marked as European, contemporary music by Latin Americans, US jazz and blues, and Hollywood tropes. In describing these, the narrator sometimes indulges in clichés not borne out by the score, as we’ll see in the scene-by-scene survey of highlights that follows.

Launching this “document of authenticity” is the title song, by Wolcott, with lyrics by Ned Washington. Throughout the film it serves as an idée fixe, transformed according to locale and story line. First heard in the opening credits against the backdrop of a cartoon map, it’s pure 1940s Hollywood. Bustling strings fortified by a trumpet motive and descending scales in the brass introduce the expansive main melody, sung in unison by a male chorus. The first phrase spans a descending E-flat arpeggio and the second consists of disjunct leaps, which the singers execute with aplomb. Confidently they proclaim the virtues of Pan American friendship, urging “amigos” north and south to keep “a glad song in your heart.” The diction is noteworthy: either the singers are nonnative speakers of English or they are trying to sound as if they were. Neither self nor Other, the diction suggests a shared space between the two. How that space is to be negotiated will be addressed in the rest of the film.

When the voices drop out, the saxophones play the melody, fading to a pianissimo as 16 mm footage shows the Disney team boarding the American Flagship jet for Rio de Janeiro. Just as they settle in for the long journey, documentary melts into animation, again with a map, this time animated. In it, Rio de Janeiro’s celebrated Christ of the Redeemer statue looks out over a glistening Guanabara Bay, one of several references to Christianity in the film. (Brazil, by the way, is spelled in Portuguese “Brasil.”)56 Accompanying the animated map is the Saludos theme. Now, however, the male chorus sings in close, three-part harmony, a euphonious, even contemplative, conclusion to the perky theme, leaving the viewer with an aural affirmation of a basic Pan Americanist premise, namely, a concordant relationship of parts to whole.

We learn that the Disney team will split up, half traveling to Chile and half “north to the Inca country,” as Shields explains. As one animated plane flies over Argentina, the Saludos theme reenters in the first of its many instrumental guises, with note values of the melody doubled and a generic habanera-like “Latin” rhythm. The theme also signals the arrival at Lake Titicaca, a turning away “from the modern cities to find the descendants of ancient Incan civilization,” all in 16 mm footage. As the artists soak up ancient America, the theme responds accordingly in that the melody is taken by a kena, a vertical Andean flute, and harmonized by another kena. An agogically accented perfect fourth figures, and the disjunct leaps in phrase two are rewritten as smaller intervals; an ostinato accompaniment replaces the high-energy brass and strings of the opening credits. Clearly the cheery Saludos theme can sustain these familiar signifiers of the primitive.

Another such signifier appears via pentatonicism. Still in the world of 16 mm footage, the viewer observes an older man playing a pitu, an Incan transverse flute, which confirms that (p.114) the people of the region play “melodies handed down from their Inca ancestors”; further, Shields intones, “the music is strange and exotic.” We hear that most exotic of sonorities, a B-minor triad (albeit in a pentatonic context), and then another pentatonic tune, also played by an Andean flute but enhanced with glissandi of a different timbre. The two pentatonic melodies dominate the rest of the sequence, highlighting, for example, the entry of that “celebrated American tourist” Donald Duck, whom we first see admiring Lake Titicaca through binoculars. When he sets out on the lake in the balsa raft, pentatonic tune two accompanies him, now with bombo (an Andean drum) and guitar playing the ostinato introduced earlier. Back on land, Donald visits a market, where three local musicians are playing the kena, bombo, and panpipe. We see that it is a panpipe that produces the glissando. But why does its timbre not correspond to the actual sound of the instrument? Nor do we hear the common hocketing technique, which requires more than one panpipe player. As it turns out, once back in Disney’s Burbank studio the music team discovered that panpipes not only were hard to find in Los Angeles but did not record as desired. By substituting an ocarina, they effectively doctored the “strange and exotic” sounds, bringing them closer to home but departing from authenticity.57

Donald Duck also interacts with a few Andean children. A typically acquisitive US tourist, he spontaneously takes a picture of an Andean baby being carried on his mother’s back, to which the kid promptly retaliates by snapping a photo of Donald. This fleeting moment of triumph for indigenous Latin America figured in the Sunday edition of the New York Times (February 7, 1943, X3). Donald also encounters a boy playing pentatonic melody one. After using “crude sign language” to communicate with the “wide-awake youngster,” Donald tries out the kena, spitting out the same tune. But “solid Yank” that he is, Donald naturally slips into hot jazz, to which the llama responds rather confusedly. Jazz closes the scene: as Donald and the llama risk life and limb on a fragile suspension bridge, pentatonic theme two gains energy through ever-fuller orchestration and intensified jazz rhythms. After snapping at the llama, who makes its way to safety, Donald plunges downward, landing safely in the lake and beating a hasty retreat to strains of jazz. In short, the music team upheld the character of “ancient America” according to the codes of the era, leaving hot jazz for Donald’s less-than-brilliant moves.

The next “movement” of Saludos Amigos departs from the “strange and exotic” with the 16 mm footage taking the viewer back inside the plane, which now flies over the Andes. The Saludos theme, enhanced with a woodwind descant, accompanies the drawing, note-taking, and composing of the Disney artists, who capture the Uspallata Pass, with its Christ of the Andes statue marking the link between Chile and Argentina. In reflecting on the pioneer mail planes that once flew the route from Santiago to Mendoza, they conceive of a plucky little plane called Pedro. As his story begins, a dancelike theme in D major played by strings heralds the shift to animation and the melody, with its common-practice harmonies, becomes Pedro’s theme, itself redolent of Europe. A prominent sesquiáltera (hemiola) suggests any number of Iberian and Latin American genres, including the cueca, traditionally a couple dance from rural Chile and invariably in a major key, like Pedro’s theme. The customary (p.115) cueca instrumentation, which generally combines guitar, accordion, harp, and bombo, is absent, however.

Redolent of a different Europe—and of the “pretend” Wagner common in cartoon music—is leitmotiv, here a six-note fragment of Pedro’s theme. When played by solo trombone, it introduces the Papa mail plane; hurried woodwinds playing the same six notes announce the Mama plane. In representing Pedro, the six-note motive hesitates but is then extended to accompany him to flight school. One day, when Papa and Mama are too ill to deliver the mail, Pedro rises to the challenge, and as he takes off, the entire theme resounds in a brisk march tempo with brass flourishes. Shortly thereafter, he catches a glimpse of Aconcagua (depicted as a craggy, ominous face) and the theme flirts briefly with the parallel minor. Pedro nonetheless retrieves the mail in Mendoza and confidently indulges in some trick flying, the theme now in waltz time. But when Pedro reencounters Aconcagua, the weather changes and a rising motive in the trombone and string tremolos signals danger. Pedro struggles to gain altitude and ultimately rises above the danger zone—only to run out of gas. His theme fizzles and then is heard in minor on the English horn as Pedro’s parents, back at the hangar, dejectedly wonder what has become of their son. Still, as Disney’s determined and diminutive characters are wont to do, Pedro survives, miraculously clanking back home and accompanied by the theme in pseudo-Wagnerian grandeur. The resolution of a prominent 4–3 suspension affirms that little Pedro has imparted an important lesson on responsibility and persistence to the youth of the Americas.58 Thus Wolcott and his collaborators remained true to authentic folk music while giving the nod to Latin American Europhiles.

The Saludos theme leads us across another animated map, this time over the Argentine pampas. Note values in the melody are again doubled, and the accompaniment is rhythmically elaborate. By now, the team has arrived in Buenos Aires, captured with shots in 16 mm footage of the Plaza de Mayo (which the narrator pronounces in Argentine Spanish, that is, mah-jho), the Teatro Colón, the Plaza de la Constitución, and the Art Deco Edificio Kavanagh, then the tallest building in Latin America.59 When the Disney team visits the studio of the Argentine artist Florencio Molina Campos, known for depicting life on the pampas, a new theme, folkloric and in compound meter, is heard, signaling rejection of the Argentine capital’s famous cosmopolitanism. Unlike the “strange and exotic” music of the Incas, however, it ultimately evokes the songs and dances of the United States.

Sure enough, no sooner do the Disney artists arrive at Molina Campos’s studio then they head for the pampas, where a rodeo is in full swing. The music shifts to a quick triple meter with a long dominant pedal accompanying some of the more energetic maneuvers of the “Wild West show,” as Shields calls it, adding that such exertions are “all part of a day’s work for the gaucho,” the independent horseman of the pampas, immortalized in poetry, prose, and music. What Shields does not mention is that the gaucho population declined so precipitously during the nineteenth century that by the 1940s they were essentially farmhands.60 In 16 mm footage, the team enjoys an asado (barbecue) as couples in folkloric dress perform what seems to be a gato, an Argentine folk dance, on a wooden platform. As (p.116) Shields remarks, they dance “not the modern tango but the same tunes to which their grandparents have danced.” Not only that, but the steps resemble “the old-time square dances of North America.” Two men dressed in traditional gaucho costume perform a few steps of the malambo, a competitive dance that celebrates manhood and endurance, and the music continues unchanged. Throughout, these “country dances” are dominated by violins, accordion (i.e., not the bandoneón, associated with tango), and the bombo.

A more extensive sampling of folk genres comes with the next shift to animation, as we zoom in on a map of Texas. In one of the film’s not infrequent touches of parody, Shields solemnly describes the territory: “untouched and unsullied by mercenary hand of civilization”—despite the thicket of signs advertising gas, lodgings, and food, along with several oil wells. (In other words, gringos are good sports and recognize their obsession with commerce.) As for the cowboy, a specimen of “strong, silent, and weather-beaten” manhood, Goofy is seen slumping on an old nag. When magically transported to Argentina, he proceeds to test his mettle against gaucho standards. Most of the time, however, Goofy is outsmarted by his horse.

Musically El Gaucho Goofy doesn’t fare much better. Under a star-studded sky, he sings a triste, a folk genre the narrator describes as a “sad, romantic ballad.” The triste in question is “Yo soy la blanca paloma” (I Am the White Dove), anthologized by Andrés Avelino Chazarreta (1867–1960), Argentina’s first folklore scholar and on whom Wolcott relied by using four of his transcriptions in this sequence. This triste appears in a theater work by Martiniano Leguizamón (1858–1935), Calandria: Comedia de costumbres campestres (Calandaria: A Play about Rustic Customs). In Saludos Amigos, the viewer is initially led to believe that it is Gaucho Goofy who is singing so sensitively. Yet a phonograph is actually doing the work, as becomes obvious when the needle gets stuck. Promptly Goofy bursts into a chacarera with his horse, who has changed into a pink dress. A chacarera, which is generally in a minor key, is often sung to the accompaniment of guitar, violin, and bombo. Here, the sheer number of violins results in a symphonic sound against the strummed accompaniment, whereas the drum is barely audible.

Again, Shields juxtaposes self and Other by detecting parallels with US music. Just as the folk dances at the asado resembled square dancing, the chacarera combines “the Bunny Hug” and “a dash of Jumpin’ Jive,” all adding up to a “pampas version of ‘cutting a rug.’”61 After eight seconds, the horse pounds out a bluesy rendering of the malambo on a piano that materializes out of nowhere. Not for nothing does Shields call the traditional gaucho dance “perpetual motion below the equator”: Goofy dances so energetically that his bombachas (pants) separate themselves from him and dance on their own. Goofy and his horse then dance the pala-pala, a dance from northwest Argentina (i.e., bordering Bolivia), generally sung in Quechua. Pala-pala dancers often wore animal masks, a tradition subverted in this performance by the two costumed dancing animals. After dancing too close to the campfire and setting his clothes on fire, however, Goofy is whisked back to Texas, filled with pleasant memories of his sojourn in “the gay, romantic land of the gauchos,” where folk music holds sway, uniting self and Other in a close embrace. One Latin American Other was (p.117) not impressed, however. Molina Campos, whose drawings sparked the Disney team’s interest in gauchos in the first place, was displeased with the sequence and wanted his name taken off the credits, a wish that was not satisfied.62

An animated map leads eastward to Rio de Janeiro as the Saludos theme accompanies the travelers’ arrival. Again, they are surrounded by natural beauty: the 16 mm footage shows Sugar Loaf, Copacabana Beach, and Guanabara Bay, along with the statue of “the Savior,” as Shields notes. The hand of man is also to be admired in the “scenes of active city life,” smart cafés, and the mosaic sidewalks common in Brazil. Intrigued, the team decides to linger. A series of their paintings interrupts the 16 mm footage: a street scene that includes three Afro-Brazilians walking along a mosaic sidewalk, several flamingos, Guanabara Bay, lush vegetation, and a parrot (papagaio). Then, with a shift back to 16 mm footage, the viewer beholds a real parrot surveying the team at work in the ad hoc studio they set up in Rio. Brazilian music takes over the Saludos theme as a conservatively dressed, middle-aged Brazilian woman demonstrates the basic samba step. Three musicians play the piano, the reco-reco (scraper), and a shaker, as Shields marvels at “that intricate samba rhythm.”

In fact, the music is neither a samba nor especially intricate. It’s the children’s song “Escravos de Jó” (Slaves of Job), which ordinarily accompanies a circle game. We hear a harmonized version of the tune on the piano with simple ostinati in the percussion, “the same rhythm that captivates the whole city when carnival time comes around,” as Shields proposes. To prove the point, Technicolor footage of carnival in Rio is inserted (carnival was some months off when Disney visited in early September). Sadlier speculates that the footage was extracted from Orson Welles’s unfinished documentary, minus “shots of black celebrants.”63

Real samba can be rhythmically complex, however. Further, the genre emblematizes Brazil’s mixed-race population like little else, and initially many middle-and upper-class Brazilians found the genre distasteful, some objecting to “vulgar Negroid sambas.”64 This situation changed under Vargas, who sought to consolidate his power by instilling brasilidade (Brazilianness) through film, radio, architecture, and music.65 With samba and its mixture of African-influenced rhythms and common-practice harmonies and melodies, Vargas could promote the rosy myth that Brazil’s racial diversity was one of its strengths. Fitting perfectly into this scheme was the lyricist and composer Ary Barroso (1903–64), who in 1939 composed “Aquarela do Brasil” (Watercolor of Brazil), a paean to Brazil’s beauties. “Aquarela do Brasil” seemed the ideal finale for Saludos Amigos, almost like the lavish production-number endings of many a musical.

It is also a fitting conclusion for a film about artistic representation. Not only is the animation at its most spectacular in the Brazil sequence, but the creative process itself takes center stage. It starts simply enough, with a sheet of blank paper affixed to an easel. Then the shadow of an artist flits over the drawing surface and a mysterious hand—a brown one—takes charge, wielding a paintbrush over the tabula rasa. After a slow, string-heavy introduction with tremolos and a recitative-like vocal line, the samba proper begins, the brisk tempo of which unleashes a profusion of colorful transformations. A jot of blue becomes a waterfall (the “murmuring (p.118) fountains” in Barroso’s lyrics) and drips of pink find new life as tropical flowers. Vegetation bursts into animal life and vice versa, as with the tree that turns into a bird and the bunch of bananas that morphs into a group of toucans. A pair of flamingos sways to the music and golden blooms sing backup, all executed by the painting hand.

Confirming north-south amity, Barroso’s orchestration for “Aquarela do Brasil” contains elements of big-band style and some jazz-inflected gestures, such as the clarinet “lick” that accompanies a bumblebee’s encounter with Donald Duck, who has suddenly shown up in Rio. After mistakenly swallowing the bee, Donald observes his stomach beginning to pulsate, as a rhythmic vamp leads to his encounter with Joe Carioca, whom the painting hand creates before Donald’s very eyes. As the two stroll about town, Donald asks, “what’s samba?”—a logical enough question given that samba was not as popular in the United States as the tango or the rhumba.

In reply, an extended percussion riff commences, with Joe using his head as a percussion instrument and introducing “Tico-Tico no fubá” by the Brazilian composer Zequinha de Abreu (1880–1935). To be sure, “Tico-Tico no fubá” (Sadlier translates the title as “Little Sparrow in the Cornmeal”) is really a choro, an older Brazilian urban genre with prominent flute and cavaquinho, an instrument similar to the ukulele but with a different tuning.66 The merry pair sits down in a café and order cachaça, a powerful spirit made from sugarcane that causes Donald to hiccup—in rhythm, of course—followed by a reprise of “Aquarela do Brasil.” All is led by the painting hand, which dips into the liquor bottle and fashions silhouettes of other hands, also brown, and plays a variety of Brazilian percussion instruments. With kaleidoscopic abandon, the silhouettes turn to blue and then pink, and we see Donald dancing with a woman in a headdress, surely an allusion to Carmen Miranda. They are even at the Urca, the Rio de Janeiro nightclub where Miranda got her start but where she was shunned in July 1940 after making it big in the United States.67 “Boy oh boy oh boy oh boy—samba!” Donald exclaims, as the scene reaches apotheosis.

But will Disney’s “document of authenticity” conclude with all this dizzying movement? As the final cadence approaches, the image of Rio de Janeiro by night—Sugar Loaf and Guanabara Bay enhanced by brilliantly colored flowers against the black sky—begins to recede. The viewer realizes that the animation has ceased, that its ferment and fantasy are no more. Rather, our final glimpse of Latin America is static, a painting fixed to what can literally be described as a drawing board. The creative process thus reified, the camera continues to pan outward and the distance between viewer and artwork widens. The final cadence grandly resolves, affirming that, in Disney’s tribute to north-south friendship, the artistic imagination—as manifested by the US self—gets the last word.

Clearly the music of Saludos Amigos did not entirely achieve “cinematic justice and atonement for Hollywood’s insults to Latin America,” even if its research was impressive for the era. The team drew on established musical tropes, which they enhanced with certain clichés, to giddy effect. The protean Saludos theme sustains not only the instrumentation of Hollywood but the intervallic structures, ostinato, pentatonicism, and instruments of “ancient America”; the Chilean sequence affirms European strategies whereas Argentine (p.119) folklore goes hand in hand with US rustic tradition, just as the gaucho resembles the cowboy of the Wild West. In the splashy Brazilian “movement,” the brown painting hand pays homage to Brazil’s mixed-race heritage, even if critics overlooked it.68 The finale prompted advertisers to extol “the torrid tempo of the Samba!” in much the same language as was used to entice viewers to Good Neighbor musicals. Saludos Amigos even proved that the quest for authenticity could be profitable, for the film grossed 1.3 million dollars.

When Donald Duck and Joe Carioca took their bows at the Hollywood Bowl that October night in 1943, the Los Angeles public that applauded them undoubtedly did not have the music of Saludos Amigos in mind. But it did care deeply about the propaganda the movie so exuberantly spread, north and south, and the new direction it promised for the war effort. The formal part of the evening concluded with the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” after which attendees repaired to the patio, to dance to an orchestra led by Bobby Ramos. A decade or so later, Ramos would record selections such as “Bongo bongocero” and “Noche de Amor” on the LP The Arthur Murray Way: Exciting Latin Rhythms. By then, Good Neighborly enthusiasm had faded, as the United States, a formidable superpower after World War II, was on to other things. In the new global (rather than hemispheric) scheme, Latin American countries were no longer equal partners with the United States in hemispheric governance. Rather, along with Asia and Africa, Latin America was relegated to the category of “underdeveloped” and thus vulnerable to Soviet influence. Worse, the United States resumed intervening in Latin American governments, toppling those seen as receptive to communism, or giving diplomatic recognition to the same. It was as if Disney’s frolicsome cartoon characters and “friendship-cementing” music had never graced the screen.


I wish to thank Leo Bernucci, Silvia Glocer, Katelyn Welch (Hollywood Bowl Museum), and Kristine Krueger (Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) for their insights and assistance with this project.

(1.) The organization underwent several name changes. See Gisela Cramer and Ursula Prutsch, “Nelson A. Rockefeller’s Office of Inter-American Affairs (1940–1946) and Record Group 229,” Hispanic American Historical Review 86, no. 4 (2006): 785.

(2.) On the MPSA, see Darlene J. Sadlier, Americans All: Good Neighbor Cultural Diplomacy in World War II (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012), 40–45.

(3.) These were the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Southern California Council of Inter-American Affairs, the Allied Nations Committee, the Nomads, Consular Corps of Los Angeles, Las Américas Unidas, Las Fiestas de las Américas, and the Pan American Club. Program booklet, Latin America Fiesta, October 30, 1943, n.p.

(4.) John Storm Roberts, The Latin Tinge: The Impact of Latin American Music on the United States, 2nd ed. (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 85.

(5.) Vernon Steele, “Motion Picture Music and Musicians,” Pacific Coast Musician, February 20, 1932, 9, courtesy Margaret Herrick clippings file (hereafter MHCF).

(6.) Salduos Amigos: Reviews,” Variety (MHCF); Saludos (Songs),” n.d., Variety (from Buenos Aires) (MHCF).

(7.) Roscoe Williams, “Saludos Amigos,” Motion Picture Daily (MHCF), December 14, 1942; see also “Disney Picture No Sedentary Job These Days,” Herald Tribune, February 14, 1943 (MHCF).

(p.120) (8.) Vernon Steele, “Motion Picture Music and Musicians,” 9 (MHCF); “The First of Walt Disney’s Technicolor Musical Cartoon-and-Travelogue Impressions of South America: ‘Saludos Amigos,’” Film and Radio Discussion Guide 9, no. 4 (January 1943) (MHCF).

(9.) On Vargas and Saludos Amigos, see Antonio Pedro Tota, The Seduction of Brazil: The Americanization of Brazil During World War II, trans. Lorena B. Ellis (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009), 85.

(10.) Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic, trans. and intro. David Kunzle (New York: International General, 1975), 28.

(11.) James Agee, Agee on Film, vol. 1 (New York: McDowell, Obolensky, 1958), 29. See Julianne Burton-Carvajal, “‘Surprise Package’: Looking Southward with Disney,” in Disney Discourse: Producing the Magic Kingdom, ed. Eric Smoodin (New York and London: Routledge, 1994), 131–47; see also her “Don (Juanito) Duck and the Imperial-Patriarchal Unconscious: Disney Studios, the Good Neighbor Policy, and the Packaging of Latin America,” in Nationalism and Sexualities, ed. Andrew Parker, Mary Russo, Doris Sommer, and Patricia Yaeger (New York: Routledge, 1992), 21–41; Eric Smoodin, Animating Culture: Hollywood Cartoons from the Sound Era (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1993), 138–56; Richard Shale, Donald Duck Joins Up: The Walt Disney Studio during World War II (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1987), 41–49; Sadlier, Americans All, 45–50; Tota, The Seduction of Brazil, 84–87; Dale Adams, “Saludos Amigos: Hollywood and FDR’s Good Neighbor Policy,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 24 (2007): 289–95.

(12.) See, for example, Aaron Copland, “Carlos Chávez—Mexican Composer,” New Republic 54 (May 2, 1928): 322–23. An uncredited member of the music team was German-born Friedrich Stärk (Fred Stark), a music arranger and librarian associated with the Disney Studios since 1938.

(13.) Bosley Growther, “The Screen,” New York Times, February 13, 1943, 8.

(14.) Daniel Goldmark, Tunes for ’Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2005), 4.

(15.) Discussed in Carol A. Hess, Representing the Good Neighbor: Music, Difference, and the Pan-American Dream (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

(16.) Corinne A. Pernet, “‘For the Genuine Culture of the Americas,’” in Decentering America, ed. Jessica C. E. Gienow-Hecht (New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2007).

(17.) Program booklet, Latin American Fiesta. Of the vast literature on Pan Americanism, see John Edwin Fagg, Pan Americanism (Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger, 1982); Ricardo D. Salvatore, Imágenes de un imperio: Estados Unidos y las formas de representación de América Latina (Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 2006).

(18.) Quoted in Helen Delpar, The Enormous Vogue of Things Mexican: Cultural Relations between the United States and Mexico, 1920-1935 (Tuscaloosa and London: University of Alabama Press, 1992), 136.

(19.) Canada rarely figured in Pan Americanist rhetoric of the period. See Clarence H. Haring, South America Looks at the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1928; rpt. Arno Press and the New York Times, 1970), 54n30.

(20.) Richard T. Arndt, The First Resort of Kings: American Cultural Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century (Washington, DC: Potomac, 2005), 24–48.

(p.121) (21.) Harold Lavine and James Wechsler, War Propaganda and the United States (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940), vii.

(22.) John Koegel, “Mexican Immigrant Theater in Los Angeles, circa 1910–1940,” paper delivered at the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society, Louisville, November 14, 2015, 2. I thank Professor Koegel for sharing his work with me. On musical life in Los Angeles, see also Steve Loza, Barrio Rhythm: Mexican American Music in Los Angeles (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press), 1993; Anthony F. Macías, Mexican American Mojo: Popular Music, Dance, and Urban Culture in Los Angeles, 1935–1968 (Durham: Duke University Press, 2008).

(23.) Allen L. Woll, The Latin Image in American Film, rev. ed. (Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications: University of California, Los Angeles, 1997); Alberto Domínguez and Nancy de los Santos, dirs., The Bronze Screen: 100 Hundred Years of the Latino Image in Hollywood, DVD (Chicago: Questar, 2002).

(24.) An account of this problem is “Report on the Teaching of Latin American History,” Bulletin of the Pan American Union 61 (June 1927): 547–77.

(25.) Brian O’Neil, “The Demands of Authenticity: Addison Durland and Hollywood’s Latin Images during World War II,” in Classic Hollywood, Classic Whiteness, ed. Daniel Bernardi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001), 363–64.

(26.) Lisa Cartwright and Brian Goldfarb, “Cultural Contagion: On Disney’s Health Education Films for Latin America,” in Smoodin, Disney Discourse, 169.

(27.) An infamous example is Down Argentine Way (1940), Carmen Miranda’s first Hollywood movie. The movie contains not a single tango; further, when Don Ameche announces, “Here you have the authentic Argentina,” a group of light-hearted campesinos dance a Mexican zapateado. Walter Aaron Clark, “Doing the Samba on Sunset Boulevard: Carmen Miranda and the Hollywoodization of Latin American Music,” in From Tejano to Tango, ed. Walter Aaron Clark (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 267.

(28.) Quoted in O’Neil, “The Demands of Authenticity,” 360. See also O’Neil’s valuable discussion of Addison Durland, the Latin American specialist hired in 1941 by the Production Code Administration to detect script errors and correct false impressions. His impact on music was limited, however.

(30.) Ibid., 28–31; Leonora Saavedra, “Carlos Chávez’s Polysemic Style: Constructing the National, Seeking the Cosmopolitan,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 68, no. 1 (2015): 99–150.

(31.) Carol A. Hess, “Copland in Argentina: Pan Americanist Politics, Folklore, and the Crisis of Modern Music,” Journal of the American Musicological Society 66, no. 1 (2013).

(32.) Carol A. Hess, “Competing Utopias? Musical Ideologies in the 1930s and Two Spanish Civil War Films,” Journal of the Society for American Music 2, no. 3 (2008): 330–32.

(33.) William Berrien, “Report of the Committee of the Conference on Inter-American Relations in the Field of Music. Digest of Proceedings. Principal Addresses,” cited in Pernet, “‘For the Genuine Culture of the Americas,’” 145.

(34.) Carol A. Hess, “Anti-Fascism by Another Name: Gustavo Durán, the Good Neighbor Policy, and franquismo in the United States,” in Música, ideología y política en la cultura artística durante (p.122) el franquísmo (1938-1975), ed. Gemma Pérez-Zalduondo (Madrid: Ministerio de España y Fundación Brepols, 2013), 367–81.

(35.) Regina Bendix, In Search of Authenticity: The Formation of Folklore Studies (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), 17.

(37.) Yvonne Daniel, Rumba: Dance and Social Change in Contemporary Cuba (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1995). The aggressive stride of the tango was often sanitized. See Susan Cook, “Passionless Dancing and Passionate Reform: Respectability, Modernism, and the Social Dancing of Irene and Vernon Castle,” in The Passion of Music and Dance: Body, Gender, and Sexuality, ed. William Washabaught (Oxford: Berg, 1998), 133–50.

(38.) Gustavo Pérez Firmat, “Latunes: An Introduction,” Latin American Research Review 43, no. 2 (2008): 180–203.

(39.) For example, the publisher E. B. Marks issued the celebrated song “The Peanut Vendor” (“El Manicero”) in a “simplified version in 4/4 time.” As John Storm Roberts points out, virtually all Cuban popular music is in 4/4 time. Storm Roberts, The Latin Tinge, 77.

(41.) Manuel Ponce, “S. M. [Su Majestad] el Fox,” México Moderno 1, no. 9 (April 1921): 180–81.

(42.) See Rosalie Schwartz, Flying down to Rio: Hollywood, Tourists, and Yankee Clippers (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2004); Todd Decker, Music Makes Me: Fred Astaire and Jazz (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 2011), 171–77.

(43.) Letter, Vincent G. Hart, to Sidney Kramer (RKO Distributing Corporation), July 19, 1935, Margaret Herrick, Special Collections Correspondence File.

(47.) Theodore Strauss, “Donald Duck’s Disney,” New York Times, February 7, 1943, X3.

(49.) “Saludos Amigos,” Variety, December 15, 1942 (MHCF).

(50.) “Disney’s Charm in ‘Amigos’: Mono. ‘Rhythm’ Girly Flash,” Hollywood Reporter, December 15, 1942 (MHCF). See also Sadlier, Americans All, 48–49.

(51.) “Reviews: ‘Saludos Amigos,’” Variety (MHCF).

(52.) “Saludos (Songs),” Variety n.d. (MHCF).

(53.) “Reviews” (MHCF); “Saludos (Songs)” (MHCF).

(54.) A classic source is Claudia Gorbman, Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1987).

(55.) Quoted in Alex Ross, “The Sound of Hate: When Does Music Become Torture?,” New Yorker, July 4, 2016, 66.

(56.) As Sadlier notes, the animated maps so integral to Salduos Amigos are a nod to contemporaneous cinematic technique: Nazi films showed troop movement and indicated conquered (p.123) territories with moving arrows on maps, a strategy Hollywood promptly imitated in films such as Casablanca. Sadlier, Americans All, 46–48.

(58.) The one postcard in Pedro’s mailbag reads (in Spanish), “Having a wonderful time, wish you were here,” and is addressed to Jorge Délano Coke of Topaze, a Chilean magazine, who hosted Disney and his team in Santiago: http://disneyenchile.blogspot.com.ar/2007/03/parte-8-pelicula-saludos-Amigos.html.

(59.) Although not shown on screen, the team promptly set up a makeshift studio in the roof garden of the Alvear Palace Hotel and got to work. See www.elliberal.com.ar/noticia/234810/dia-walt-disney-conocio-folclore-mano-don-andres-chazarreta.

(60.) Richard Slatta, Gauchos and the Vanishing Frontier (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992).

(61.) The song “Jumpin’ Jive,” recorded in 1939 by Cab Calloway, was popularized by the African American dance duo the Nicholas Brothers. The Bunny Hug, an earlier dance genre, is associated with ragtime. Shields also refers to the minuet, a comparison that will likely remain a mystery.

(64.) Quoted in Clark, “Doing the Samba on Sunset Boulevard,” 265. See also Lisa Shaw, The Social History of Brazilian Samba (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 1999), 7–14.

(65.) Daryle Williams, Culture Wars in Brazil: The First Vargas Regime, 1930-1945 (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2001).

(66.) Sadlier, Americans All, 49; Tamara Elena Livingston-Isenhour and Thomas George Caracas García, Choro: A Social History of a Brazilian Popular Music (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005), 52.

(68.) The music team also omitted those lyrics of “Aquarela do Brasil” that hinted explicitly at this heritage, retaining the first line, “Brasil, meu mulato inzoneiro” (Brazil, my sly mulatto), but not the references to a (black) “wet-nurse from the fields,” the “Congo king,” or the “headstrong mulatto girl with the indiscreet look.” Translation in Shaw, The Social History of the Brazilian Samba, 169–71.