Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Steamboat Willie and Mickey Mouse

Q: In Steamboat Willy, does Mickey play himself? Is the boat the only thing named Steamboat Willy?
Charlotte, Topeka, Kansas

A [Dave Smith]: No, it is Mickey Mouse portraying the character of Willie, known as Steamboat Willie because he works on a steamboat. The boat has no name in the cartoon, though it docks at Podunk Landing.

Q: We were always under the impression that Steamboat Willie was the third Mickey Mouse cartoon to be produced, but the first one released, on November 18th, 1928. However, a few websites note Plane Crazy as being released on May 15, 1928, six months before Steamboat Willie. Was this a true release date or perhaps just a private viewing for distributors?
Joseph and Chrissy, Modesto, California

A [Dave Smith]: The May 15th date was a preview of the silent version of Plane Crazy in Los Angeles; the film did not have its official release until after sound was added. It opened at the Mark Strand Theatre in New York on March 17, 1929, four months after Steamboat Willie premiered.

More to see [by Marcio Disney]

Nowadays, you can see the "Steamboat Willy" boat at the AMAZING Fantasmic Finale at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Here you can Watch this amazing short! I really love it :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The José Birds from Walt Disney

Q: One of the main birds in the Enchanted Tiki Room is José. There is also a José in The Three Cabelleros. Is the José in the Enchanted Tiki Room the same as José in The Three Caballeros? Also, who is the voice of José in both the Enchanted Tiki Room and The Three Caballeros? They both seem to have the same personalities.
Bethany, Woodland Hills, California

A [Dave Smith]: No, these are different birds named José. In The Three Caballeros, it is a Brazilian parrot, José Carioca, with the voice provided by José Oliveira. In the Enchanted Tiki Room, the macaw, José, is voiced by Wally Boag, who was the original comedian in The Golden Horseshoe Revue.

[About the Birds by Marcio Disney]

Zé Carioca

is short for José.
Carioca is the term which refers to a person born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Character was created by Walt Disney in Copacabana and it is VERY popular in Brazil.

The creation of a Brazilian animated character during the Second World War was part of a strategy called "Good Neighbor Policy" headed by the United States government to improve relations and gather support amongst its neighbor countries.

In April 2007, Disney re-introduced José Carioca (along with the third Caballero, Panchito), in the newly-revamped ride at Epcot's Mexico Pavilion with entirely new animation and a new storyline. It has been dubbed "The Gran Fiesta Tour". After being reunited, The Three Caballeros are set to play a show in Mexico City. But Donald goes missing. José and Panchito must search throughout Mexico for Donald as he takes in various sights around Mexico. The animation for it was apparently directed by Eric Goldberg.

José Carioca can also be seen in the Hong Kong Disneyland version of It's a Small World, which opened on April 28, 2008.

Biographical Details

Zé Carioca became so popular that he starred in two feature-length films and a cartoon short, had his own newspaper strip for two years and is a recurring guest star in the "Ducks" comic books. In his native Brazil, José is actually a leading character in his own comics, and his fame as a cultural icon is probably equivalent to that of Mickey Mouse's in the USA. In the 1940s a series of films were planned featuring José and a pretty parrot named Aurora, but they never made it past the storyboard process. However, Aurora, Joe Carioca's girlfriend (also called Rosinha [Portuguese] or Rosita  [Italian]), shows up in a large number of comics done in both Holland and Brazil, so the fact that she isn't in an actual cartoon didn't stop her from becoming a star. José's best friend is a crow named Nestor, who appears to have the same relationship Goofy does to Mickey Mouse  (sidekick), though José tends to take full advantage of Nestor's gullibility. Other friends include a dark-skinned dogface named Pedrao, (Pedro or Peter), and a country bumpkin duckbill named Afonsinho ("Little Alphonse"). José also has two nephews named Zico & Zeca. His arch-rival for the affections of Aurora is a rooster named Zé Galo in Portuguese [Galetto in Italian (a.k.a. Joe Cock or Joe Cockerel in English)]. Another of his typical adversaries is Aurora's father, Roca Vaz, because he disapproves of José's affection for his daughter. The Aracuan Bird, also known as the "Clown of the Jungle," and Panchito the Mexican Chicken are two other friend's of Donald and José's were introduced in "The Three Caballeros." The Aracuan appeared in two other cartoons as well and in Brazil, the Aracuan Bird stars in his own stories, in his own universe of birdbeaked characters. José made a cameo appearance in "Alice in Wonderland" where he was one of the jurors present at the Red Queen's trial of Alice. 

Historical Facts

José's first name is believed to have been inspired by José Carlos de Britto e Cunha. He was Brazil's most popular editorial cartoonist by that time, and had died in the 1950's. When Walt Disney came to South America on his "good-will" mission he visited several countries and gave credit to some of the local artists like Molina Campos (Gaucho series). However, J. Carlos is not mentioned, though some people say that Disney's inspiration for the Zé Carioca concept came from a J. Carlos drawing of a parrot. If this is true, then the name "José" may have had a double inspiration from both the illustrator named José Carlos, and his film vocalist, José Oliveira. His last name, Carioca, is a Brazilian word used to describe a native of Rio de Janeiro.

After his appearance in the films "Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Caballeros" an American newspaper strip was chronicling his further adventures in the late 1940s to the mid 1950s. After that some of these tales were reprinted in "Walt Disney's Comics & Stories," but since then José has virtually disappeared from America. José and Panchito were created by the Walt Disney Studios in a gesture of friendship between North America and Latin America and, particularly in Brazil, José went on to become a very prominent cultural icon.

Brazilian comics began regularly featuring José (whom they now called Zé for short), starting with "O Pato Donald" #434 (March 1, 1960) which features a Zé Carioca story "A Volta de Zé Carioca" ("The Return of Zé Carioca"). Story begins with Zé Carioca in a plane returning to Rio de Janeiro. He has supposedly spent the past ten years in Hollywood as a famous film star and felt it was time to return home. However, once he deboards the plane no one seems to recognize him. When he goes after some of his creditors they think he is an imposter. It's Carnaval (a Brazilian strong tradition). He enters a masquerade contest to win the cash prize because he is now starving, but he places LAST place as Zé Carioca impersonator! A ship arrives with American tourists, among whom are many of his friends: Donald, Daisy, Mickey, $crooge, the Nephews, Minnie and even Brer Rabbit, Tinker Bell, the Three Little Pigs and Pluto. They recognize him but no one wants to hire him as a tour guide. Soon he spots another group comprised of the Beagle Boys, Captain Hook, the witch from Snow White, Big Bad Wolf and Brer Rabbit's nemeses. Nearly every bad guy in Disney Universe. He discovers that the crooks' plan is to capture all the good guys. The bad guys succeed in kidnapping the Mickey, Donald and the rest and take them to Hook's ship. Nobody believes Zé when he tells the police, because everybody thinks he's still an imposter. Finally Zé saves everybody with the help of Tinker Bell's magic fairy dust. After that everybody finally believes he's the REAL Zé Carioca. Jorge Kato was the first Brazilian artist for Zé Carioca.

His next Brazilian appearance is in his own comic book title "Zé Carioca" which is actually the alternate title to "O Pato Donald," apparently renamed in Zé's honor. First Zé Carioca issue was dated Jan. 10, 1961 issue is #479 (numbering followed O Pato Donald's numbering). On the cover of that issue Zé Carioca is playing football (soccer). The main story is "Zé Carioca Contra o Goleiro Gastao" ("Joe Carioca vesus Gladstone for the goal"). Donald, Daisy, the Nephews, Aurora (Rosinha) and Gladstone appear in this tale which features Brazil's famous soccer player Pele renamed Peleco. Gladstone is Zé's rival for Aurora's love in this story. After this issue "O Pato Donald" begins to alternate it's title with "Zé Carioca" featured on every other issues, but continuing with a consistent issue numbering.

A curious tradition began in 1962 where the Brazilian comic book studio began publishing counterfeit Mickey Mouse (mostly by Paul Murry) and Donald Duck (mostly by Carl Barks) stories where the artists would simply remove all images of Mickey or Donald and replace them with images of José. Apparently the most utilitarian stories for counterfieting were the ones which featured Mickey and Donald in their domestic "suburban" roles, inwhich José's redubbed tales would take place in his own neighborhood rather than Duckburg or Mouseton. This is believed to have been the origin of José's nephews Zico & Zeca, who replaced Mickey's and Donald's own nephews (of course one of Donald's was eliminated completely) in these stories. This counterfeiting was apparently O.K. in Brazil where the residents were not familiar with the Murry or Barks comics in their original form. However fans eventually recognized the stories, and even noticed glaring artistic errors (such as silohettes and shadows of Mickey or Donald which were not properly disguised, i.e., José with a Mickey Mouse shadow). These stories, of course, would also typically have José teaming up with Fethry or Goofy. For example, Zé Carioca #689 (Jan. 18, 1965) has Fethry arriving by train to visit his cousin José, apparently a counterfeit of "Topolino" #453 (Aug. 2, 1964) in "Paperino e il fanatico igienista" ("Donald Duck in A New Way of Life") where Fethry visits a zoo and makes a new suit for [sic] José. The regular "adventure" stories featuring Donald or Mickey were left intact and presented as main features for Donald and Mickey as needed.

Rosinha ("Little Rose", a.k.a. Aurora) appeared as José's girlfriend since the second Brazilian Zé Carioca story (first issue of ZC comic book), but she originated from the American newspaper comics (where she was not name), and was the daughter of a millionaire. Her father's current name is Roca Vaz, but in the strips republished by Editora Abril in 1965 -when the counterfeits ceased and before original José comic story production restarted -- his name was Gaitulino da Silva (in a free translation it means something like "Richman Smith"). Rosinha's English name, Aurora, is probably a homage to the popularity of the native Brazilian Aurora Miranda, who co-stars with Donald and José in "The Three Caballeros."

Shortly thereafter Editora Abril started to create a universe for Zé Carioca, naming his hometown Vila Xurupita, and adding a supporting cast with characters like Nestor, Pedrao and Afonsinho. The ficticious Vila Xurupita is a neighborhood located someplace in Rio de Janeiro, and is considered a lower class neighborhood in the suburbs (in Brazil poor or lower middle class people live in the suburbs). In the old syndicated comic strips Joe Carioca's ambition was different. It was Brazil in the middle and late forties. Joe tended to hob-nob with wealthy people. This was how his courtship with Rosinha actually started. Apparently Roca Vaz and Rosinha do not live in Vila Xurupita, since they are richer than Zé, Nestor, Pedrao and the others. In the first stories Roca Vaz liked Zé Carioca, but now he despises him, probably after after he discovered Zé was a hustler.

Zé Carioca's personality in the cartoons was reminscent of typical comaradship of the native Brazilians. But in the comics he was more of a social climber: a poor parrot trying to get his share of the high-society, sometimes hustling (making money by doing things that are not exactly legal). This Zé Carioca also owed money to nearly everybody. There was an association called A.N.A.C.O.Z.E.C.A. (Associacao NAcional dos Cobradores do Zé CArioca) - that tranlates more or less to: The National Zé Carioca Debt Collectors Association) which was a recurring plot device. At this time Nestor became something more of a sidekick in order that Zé would have someone to talk and act with.

After this, possibly because of the bad public relations resulting from this corrupted version of José Carioca, the Zé Carioca comic book didn't feature Zé Carioca stories. Abril ceased the counterfeits and republished, for a short time, the original strips, then they were banned. During the early 1970's new Zé Carioca stories began publishing and Zé had a new artist, Canini (not one of comicdom's better artists IMHO). After a long run, Canini's art style became looser and more and more cartoony (more like editorial "political" cartoons, than like comicbook art). Finally Canini was fired around 1977 when Abril decided to return to a more traditional "Disney look" for José's comics. Other artists like Luis Podavin and Moacir Rodrigues took over the feature. Since the early 70's, with Canini and after his departure there has been new Zé Carioca stories production.

Now Abril creates around 100 pages Zé Carioca stories each month, because Zé Carioca is published every 15 days and his mag has 64 pages, full with Zé Carioca stories (with Pata Lee [Dickie Duck] / Teenagers fillers). Along with Abril's Disney line expansion came a large range of Brazilian-produced stories. Not only Zé Carioca, but a lot of secondary characters in the Ducks stories got their own features. The hillbilly Urtigao (Hard Haid Moe) was extremely popular among Brazilian readership, and Fethry Duck as Morcego Vermelho (Red Bat) was created in Brazil as well his yellow nephew Biquinho (Dugan Duck), entirely conceived by Editora Abril's staff. Also featured in many issues of Zé Carioca, and most likely inspired by Fethry's superhero alter-ego, is Zé Carioca's own secret hero identity, Morcego Verde (the Green Bat). Zé Carioca's first super-hero alter-ego was "Super Super" (ZÉ CARIOCA comic issue #499, May 30, 1961 - in reality #499 was #11 because the numbering followed sister comic O PATO DONALD) - that story was created in Brazil. In that story Zé is hired as an actor to play a super-hero role in a television show. Zé is a fiasco as the super-hero "Super-Super" until he obtains actual superpowers when two aliens in a flying saucer accidentally dispose of a magnetic cloud and let it fall on Earth, and the cloud hits Zé Carioca. Zé's powers, however, disappear a short time after. But he continues in the role of the Green Bat and even joins the Duckburg superhero association. 

A Few Secrets

José Carioca was notable as being featured in only the second ever original Disney tale "made for comicbooks" in "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories" #27 by Carl Buettner called "The Carnival King." (the first featured another "Three Caballeros" character named "The Flying Gauchito").

Donald, Panchito and José all appeared together again in "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories" #48 and 50. There was another little green 'non-anthropomorphic' talking parrot named Joe which appeared in (probably) only one story called "A Guy Named Joe from Singapore" from "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories" #65 (1946). This little guy could carry on actual conversations with Donald and the Nephews.

The Enchanted Tiki Room

First things first! 
Tiki refers to large wood and stone carvings of humanoid forms in Central Eastern Polynesian cultures of the Pacific Ocean. The term is also used as it relates to Māori mythology where Tiki is the first man.
[From Wikipedia.com]


Our first Audio-Animatronics show at Disneyland in 1963, The Enchanted Tiki Room was often said to have been Walt’s favorite. Not bad for an attraction originally conceived as a restaurant-one with a show, of course! After Walt returned from a trip to New Orleans with a little mechanical bird, he became fixated on the idea of improving the mechanism and building a show around singing avians.
He first revisited an old Confucius dinner theater concept that had been developed, but never built, for a proposed Chinatown area on Main Street.

Eventually he settled on a Tiki backdrop for his singing birds, allowing him to place it into Adventureland.

This choice of theming also allowed for the introduction of a huge supporting cast of flowers, masks, drummers, and tikis, all singing along in unison.

The “Under New Management” show at the Magic Kingdom Tiki Room is an example of the WDI practice of “plussing” an idea. By the mid-1990s, after nearly three decades of performances, the Tiki Room show, beloved as it had been, began to feel a bit slow in its pacing.

When it was time for WDI to rethink the attraction, and possibly replace it, the significance of the show to our Company’s history made the Imagineers reluctant to implement a wholesale change. The decision was made to rejuvenate  the production instead, through the introduction of some contemporary comedy and music and a couple of very popular co-hosts.

The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) opened in 1998 with Zazu from the Lion King and Iago from Aladdin as the two new birds on the block. The relaxing South Seas tropics have never been the same since!

At Least a Mild Kick for new Guests

Though cherished for its historical significance (the Tiki Birds starred in the first Audio-Animatronics attraction ever), the Tiki show was growing a bit tiresome. Now, thanks to clever new costars and zippy new tunes, the Tiki Room is rockin' once again.

The 9-minute show still features Michael, Pierre, Fritz and José (who is pinning for his beloved Rosita) - plus some 200 birds, flowers, and tiki statues singing up a tropical storm. But before long, their sweet serenade is interrupted by an unimpressed Iago (Jafar's partner in crime from Aladdin).

It seems that Iago, along with Zazu from The Lion King, is a new owner of the Tiki Room - and he has big changes in store for the show. In a fractured version of "Friend Like Me," the bratty Iago warns the Tiki Birds that they'd "better get hip, or the audience will disappear."

In a welcome twist, it is Iago who disappears, leaving the Tikis to prove just how hip they are. While it helps to have seen the old show to appreciate all of the silly humor, even many first-time guests manage to get at least a mild kick out of the Enchanted Tiki Room - Under New Management.

Some Unknown Treasures

When Iago and Zazu take over this creaky musical revue of robotic birds and flowers, Iago wants to toss it for something more current. But when he insults the Tiki gods he learns that "you cannot toy with the Enchanted Tiki Room."

Songs include "Hot Hot Hot," "Conga," and, from the mouths of Tiki poles, "in the Still of the Night." It's an acquired taste.

An outdoor preshow has two talent-agent parrots trade bird-themed barbs over which one's client is the attraction's new owner.

1 - On the Entrance doors, as 2-inch berries on a stem underneath a bird's tail, 4 feet off the ground;
2 - On the bottom of Iago's perch, where a small carved face is wearing Mickey ears.

1 - As the cockatoos start to sing "Conga," José says "I Wonder what happened to Rosita," an original tiki bird no longer in the show;
2 - "Boy, I'm tired," Iago says just before the exit doors close. "I think I'll head over to the Hall of Presidents and take a nap."


1 - Originally conceived as a restaurant, the Disneyland Tiki Room debuted in 1963 as Disney's 1st Audio-Animatronics attraction. After a barker bird out front enticed guests to "Come to the Tiki Room, " everyone would sing along to 18 minutes of tunes such as "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing."

2 - Unchanged over the years, the show's bird calls and whistles were all voiced by one man. A. Purvis Pullen was also the voice of cheetah in the 1930s Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films and Bonzo the chimp in the 1951 Ronal Reagan flick "Bedtime for Bonzo."
3 - Does Pierre sound like Lumiere, the candelabrum in 1991's "Beauty and the Beast"? Both are the late Jerry Orbach, Det. Lenny Briscoe on TV's "Law & Order."
4 - Don Rickles and the late Phil Hartman voice the preshow birds.
5 - The upside-down wall masks depict Negendei: the Earth Balancer, who is always portrayed standing on his head.

Official Pictures

The Orange Bird welcomed guests to Adventureland in the early years of Walt Disney World, as a tribute to the importance of Florida's orange groves.

Everyday, Disney fans send dozens of questions for Disney Chief Archivist Dave Smith. Here are Dave's answers to your questions. Check back every day for a new post with a new question.

Dave Smith (born October 13, 1940) was the Walt Disney Archives founder and chief archivist which is located in the Frank G. Wells Building at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. He joined the company June 22, 1970. Forty years later, on July 2010, he retired.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...