Zé Carioca 80 years old | Five facts about Disney’s most beloved Brazilian
August 24th marks a very special date for Disney: it’s the Zé Carioca, his first Brazilian character. idealized by Walt Disney during his trip to Rio de Janeiro in 1941, the character started as a supporting character, but soon conquered Brazilian fans, especially with the comic books. In celebration of the 80th anniversary of the most famous parrot in the world, CinePOP separated five facts about him. Check out!
It is no mystery to anyone that the creation of Zé Carioca took place in a very different political context. At the time, wanting to sell its way of life to form alliances with Latin America, spreading its beliefs and ideology, the United States started the “Good Neighbor Policy”. And so, Walt Disney’s team, together with the designer himself, came to Rio de Janeiro to launch Fantasy. The event was grandiose, with the presence of the president of Brazil, Getulio Vargas, who exchanged ideas with Disney. On the trip, Walt got to know more about the Marvelous City and received as a gift an illustration, made by the cartoonist J. Carlosof Donald Duck receiving a warm hug from a parrot. Making its debut in hello friends, which debuted in Brazil on August 24, 1942, Zé Carioca won over the Brazilian public, in addition to achieving great fame internationally. Politically speaking, he is a fan of Donald Duck, forming a great friendship and taking an American comrade to discover the beauties of Rio. In other words, good neighborhood.
Well, if the figure of the Parrot was eternally associated with Brazil, it owes a lot to the cartoon given by J. Carlos to Walt Disney, because before being enchanted by the green and talking bird, Disney was talking about Zé Carioca being nothing less than an Armadillo. Several decades later, the Tatu was once again associated with Brazil as the mascot of world Cup from 2014, the nice Fuleco. But the question remains: would Zé Carioca have been all this success with the skills of an Armadillo? We will never know. About the illustration by the Brazilian cartoonist, nobody knows where it ended up. Some say that Disney ended up getting Zé practically ready because of this art, having to add just a few details, but as no one knows her whereabouts, there’s another mystery to the character’s canon.
Outside of the visual part, Zé Carioca’s personality was based on the musician Jose do Sponsorship OliveiraO Zezinho. He was very successful on the tours of Carmen Miranda and became a famous figure in the USA. When he met Walt Disney, Zezinho tried to speak English, erasing his Brazilian accent. This made Disney uncomfortable, who asked him to speak as “Brazilian as possible”. And when he let go, Zezinho let all his swagger and typical carioca accent flow. There was only one problem: he was from São Paulo. But that didn’t matter, since Walt Disney fell in love with what he saw and heard, drawing the entire personality of the musician’s Zé Carioca. His admiration was so great that the legendary artist invited the Brazilian to play Zé Carioca in Alô, Amigos. The result was so positive that on his trips to Disney, Zezinho was greeted and introduced to everyone as Zé Carioca himself.
success in comics
Despite the initial success of having a Brazilian character living in the same world as the Disney characters, he only came to explode even after a while in the comics. His first comic book arrived in Brazil in 1943, but produced by North American screenwriters. The result wasn’t anything spectacular, because he was an ordinary character living in those generic Disney towns. So, when the stories started to be written by Brazilian artists, Zé started to explore the city of Rio de Janeiro, started attending samba schools, playing football with his friends. That is, it gained a soul of its own and became a colossal sales success.
is a superhero
A very interesting point of the character is that he is also a superhero: the Green Bat. clearly inspired by Batman, the Green Bat has one big difference from the original bat: instead of being a billionaire, he’s a deadbeat. Not for nothing, his nickname is “The Debt Knight”, a hero who pursues overdue bill collectors. But the height of this parody comes in 1995, when Disney releases the classic The Saltless Jokea satire of The Killing Joke. The story revolves around the origin of the moringa, Zé Carioca’s main collector, who went crazy after the parrot had paid all his debts at once (was it with fake money? Yes, but that’s beside the point). The story is sensational, because it finds ways to transform all the drama of the original plot into jokes about default.
Who wants to watch a little more of Zé Carioca, the films hello friends and Have you ever been to Bahia? are available on Disney+.
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