In the 1990s, J.B. Kaufman began researching the Disney Studio’s involvement in the U.S. government’s “Good Neighbor” program of the 1940s, and the Latin American-themed films, including Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros, which had come out of that involvement. He began to contact artists who had been involved in the project and conducted interviews with them, hoping eventually to write a book on the subject. (That book was finally completed and published in 2009 by the Walt Disney Family Foundation Press, under the title South of the Border with Disney.) One of the interviewees was Frank Thomas, a member of the original Disney party, dubbed “El Grupo,” that had initiated the project by touring South America in 1941. Thomas spoke to Kaufman about the trip in three short interviews during 1996-97; this transcript is edited together from all three.

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