The Disney Film Heritage of Tobago Swiss Family Robinson

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 29 customer ratings30 Ratings

The book covers Disney's stay in Tobago, the locals who worked with the company and the filming locations used. Both authors - Jazad N. Ali and Clement G. Williams - are members of the Tobago Writers Guild.

Add to BookShelf


We have been photographing the Tobago landscapes over the last three decades, never tiring of capturing the natural beauty of the island.

In 1959 Walt Disney Productions filmed the movie, Swiss Family Robinson, entirely in Tobago. The movie had an all-star cast comprising John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Janet Munro, Sessue Hayakawa, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran and Cecil Parker.

We initially planned to compile a pictorial visit to the filming locations used during the making of Swiss Family Robinson. However, in our search, we encountered some Tobagonians who worked for Walt Disney Productions back then…

We set about to document the untold stories of the Tobagonians who worked with Walt Disney Productions, during the making of the Swiss Family Robinson movie.

So, here it is! ‘The Disney Film Heritage of Tobago Swiss Family Robinson’.

– Jazad N. Ali & Clement G. Williams

  • Hardcover: Yes
  • Publisher: Jazad N. Ali and Clement George Williams Photography
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9789768289704
  • Dimensions: 30 x 21 x 1 cm
Customer Reviews

Average customer rating

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 29 customer ratings30 Ratings
Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Marguerite Miranda

    As a Tobagonian it is nostalgic. Though not born as yet my parents spoke regularly about their experiences during the filming. This book is wonderfully written capturing vividly many of those experience s told to us during those days . Thank you for info, you guys did a wonderful job.
    Marguerite Miranda

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Alvin Gonzales

    Personally know the amount of effort that went into this. BRAVO!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Anesh Roopnarine

    This is an excellent book!!! It has well researched information about the movie and filming locations used in Tobago. It has definitely enlightened me and will become a topic when among friends. I would recommend anyone to get and read the book so that they can learn about some of Tobago’s history tied to the movie. Kudos to the writers – Jazad and Clement.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Dr Fayad W. Ali

    I find the book particularly interesting and informative for those of us who relish history and enjoy journeying down the corridors of time. It was a great era of filmmaking and the choice of performers chosen for the movie were nothing short of a galaxy. The content of the book must have been taken many long hours of research. My hat is off to the contributors and assure any reader that it is more than a fitting tribute to the actors, some of whom may have gone to the great beyond, the locals who contributed in their own way, and in highlighting a beautiful island that is a mere global speck and to those who contributed in any form to the publishing of the title.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Moonilal Pagee

    AN excellent record of a bit of the social history of Tobago… painstakingly researched, well documented and carefully recorded for generations to come. Although the economic impact of and financial contribution to the Tobagonian economy may have been transient, the social and cultural impact still remains…
    touching interviews with the survivors of the era lend a sense of “magic” to the entire venture !The photographs are strategically taken to show the locations and their inherent beauty. The high quality of the photographs enhance the magnificence of the settings for the various scenes.
    But it is in the interviews with the islanders that the “human impact” comes out. Ordinary taxi drivers and helpers emerge as “heroes” in their own right. The authors and researchers have brought the reality of the “human dimension “ to the forefront and this lends a certain poignancy to the narrative. It is in the lives and contributions of the native Tobagonians that the true story emerges.
    A tremendous effort by the authors.
    Highly recommended as an incredible read for those interested in Tobago and its development and the history of the film.
    Moonilal Pagee
    Retired Ag. Vice Principal
    Naparima College

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Dr. Johnny siu-Chong

    From the details given, it is quite obvious that lots of hours of extensive interviews and tireless research went into it’s compilation of all the work that went into the making of this movie by Disney. I applaud the dedication of the writers in producing a book which will forever depict a piece of Tobago’s history that present and future generations will become enriched with a sense of pride.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5


    This book has rekindled my desire to once again watch the Swiss Family Robinson Disney movie. The pictures of the past and present scenes of where the movie was filmed added a very special touch to the book. Reading this book transports you through the beautiful island of Tobago through the breathtaking photographs and thorough descriptions.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Robin Rindsig (verified owner)

    I was a six year old boy growing up in a small town in the midwestern United States when I first saw the movie “Swiss Family Robinson” in 1961. The movie had all the stuff boys dreamed of: paradise island adventure, pirates, exotic animals, guns, cannons, coconut bombs(!), exploring, snakes, a fort, and of course THE TREEHOUSE!
    The movie made a lasting impression on me, and I found myself exploring the internet recently to hopefully find more information about it. I struck gold when I found a mountain of information posted by Mr. Ali (his sites are listed in the book’s references section, a MUST SEE!).
    Familiar with Mr. Ali’s focus on filming locations, I was expecting more of this from the book.
    However, to my surprise and immense delight, the authors chose to also include a wealth of local detail about the PEOPLE involved, incorporating contemporary photos with recollections of a surprising number of locals. It brought the production of the film to life for me, and I found it quite moving.
    The authors are to be commended for preserving this bit of history for the ages!
    I highly recommend “The Disney Film Heritage of Tobago-Swiss Family Robinson” to fans of the movie and anyone with an interest in Tobago heritage. It’s a great read!

    Robin W. Rindsig
    Construction manager and engineer, retired
    Ankeny, Iowa USA

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily, Art Directors/Disney Designers

    As kids growing up in the United States, our first glimpse of beautiful Tobago was on a movie screen. Walt Disney’s classic 1960 film “Swiss Family Robinson” takes place on an imagined island filled with lovely beaches, forest pools fed by tumbling waterfalls, and enormous trees—just perfect for carrying fantastical treehouses in their spreading branches. What a surprise, then, to later learn that this island is a real place on our planet, and we could actually go there! If only we’d had Jazad Ali’s insightful book in our hands the first time we visited Tobago. Released just in time for the film’s 60th anniversary, this pictorial guide across land and sea to revisit the picturesque locations seen in the Disney film will surprise and delight any “Swiss Family” fan. Along the way, you’ll also meet some of the lucky Tobagonians that contributed to the production, and read of their remarkable adventures as movie pirates, stunt performers, animal handlers, taxi drivers, ocean divers, on-set nurses, construction workers, and stand-ins for the main actors. Shot against the colorful backdrop of Tobago’s real-life splendor, “Swiss Family Robinson” was one of the most costly and, ultimately, successful films ever made. Most of all, it helped form the dream of the quintessential island paradise in the minds of generations of movie-goers.

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Terry Bamber

    What a wonderful book this. It is packed with careful research and stunning photos of the beautiful island.
    This film means so much to me as I first saw it as a 5 year old.
    My Dad, Dickie Bamber, worked on the film as one of the Standby Props Team.
    He greatly enjoyed his time on the island, even over coming a bout of pneumonia during filming.
    This book deserves to be in any Film Enthusiasts’ collection.

    I have been lucky to have enjoyed my own career in Films and TV, including several James Bond Films, Walt Disney’s 1994 “Jungle Book” and “101 Dalmatians” and “102 Dalmatians”.

    This book has given me a new ambition.
    To film in Tobago.


    Thank you.

    Terry Bamber
    Assistant Director/ Production Manager.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Zenora Ali-Pollard

    – Gripping, fascinating reading
    -Superbly written
    -Research path felt like a treasure hunt: reconstructing fragment by fragment
    -Meticulous trawl of data
    -No stones left untouched
    -History brought to life, unearthing long buried background secrets
    -Authors indulge passion, ingeniously entwines great story telling with dramatically and historically accurate depiction of the movie
    -Vivid portrayal of love & friendship
    -Spell binding story of a unique time & place
    -Utterly fascinating life journey to uncover with infectious enthusiasm
    – Magnificently paid tribute to the Tobagonians
    -Majestic sites frozen in time
    -Classic collection of brilliant photos
    -Expert stunning photography
    -Dedication and eye for details
    -Inspiration for travel & adventure into this gem sister island of Trinidad

    Thanks & best regards
    Zenora Ali-Pollard

    New South Wales

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    Rita Ramkhelawan

    Walt Disney Productions arrived in Tobago in 1959 and filmed the immortal adventure story, “Swiss Family Robinson “. In 2020 Jazad N. Ali partnered with Clement G. Williams and documented the Tobagonian story behind the shooting of this great movie, a story that could compete with the Disney venture and attract worldworld-wide attention.
    At first glance the reader enjoys some degree of satisfaction. He experiences a hit of a sense of nostalgia; he witnesses the past pushed forward to the present; he becomes consumed by a burning desire to literally walk in the historical footsteps of the Disney cast and crew members and he feels the pangs of hunger to witness firsthand the beauty and wonder of the tropical island paradise of Tobago. The smooth hard cover, glossy pages with well-spaced print, colorful contemporary scenes and historical shots all combine to make this book reader-friendly.
    As the pages are turned the reader encounters not only the narrative of “Swiss Family Robinson ” but also the detailed accounts of the numerous locals (Tobagonians)who actually made the film possible- drivers, actors, construction workers, electricians, hotel and restaurant owners and general observers. In addition to recounting their role they furnished photographic proof of it. This makes the work “The Disney Film Heritage of Tobago Swiss Family Robinson ” a unique book.
    These participants never knew that sixty years later their association with and contribution to the production of this Tobago Disney movie will become the subject-matter of a book for the world to see and read about.
    Thanks to authors Jazad N. Ali and Clement G. Williams.

    Rita Ramkhelawan
    Retired Teacher

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    Charmaine Powder (verified owner)

    Congratulations to Jazad N. Ali and Clement George Williams. The Disney Film Heritage of Tobago will go down in history as “the greatest story ever told” This book tells OUR story of the making of this great classic. Jazz really captured the essence of the stories and the involvement of so many people that contributed behind the scenes to the success of this movie. He made it personal…he knocked it out the ball park by acknowledging and highlighting everyone no matter what their role was. When I first came in contact with Jazz, it was a mere coincidence or so I thought. I couldn’t believe I found someone that had such vast knowledge about the making of SFR and the extensive research he was doing to uncover the sites and stories. After several conversations, I still didn’t quite grasp the motive behind him wanting my precious pictures our family preserved over the last 60 years or him needing to hear my story from so many different angles. However after listening to his passion for this project, I was drawn in, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. As I flipped through the pages of the finally completed book, I am moved to tears to see how he wove my story with the pictures I gave him into the big picture. Thanks Jazz for so artistically telling my story in a way that makes it so real for me and to give my dad (Cyril Cid Thawley) the credit he never got. I must also say that the before and after pictures that were so painstakingly captured gives such a realistic revelation of how the movie was filmed and allow us to visualize the scenes. Great work. I am proud of what you did. Looking forward to the next book that tells the stories behind the stories!

    Thanks and Best Wishes
    Charmaine H. Powder (Grant)
    Newnan, Georgia USA
    #1 Amazon International Best Selling Author (Life In The Little Wooden House)
    Realtor with Keller Williams Realty
    Member of the Newnan Coweta Board Of Realtors
    Member of the Tobago Writers Guild

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    Dr Bisram Mahabir

    I admire the extensive research done by Jazad N Ali and Clement to get the information correct.
    Reproduction of the old photographs was excellent. The new photographs taken by Jazad Ali, Allison Ali and Clement Williams show the beautiful sites and beaches of Tobago, the island paradise.
    I recommend that copies of the book be placed in all public and school libraries in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as in all of our Embassies abroad.
    Congratulations to the authors Jazad Ali and Clement Williams for a job well done.

    Dr Bisram Mahabir
    Previously Head of QPCC&C and Associate Lecturer in Medicine

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    Ihsan Atiba

    This is a valid and necessary contribution to heritage literature and photography. This text is simultaneously palatable to the average reader and satisfactory as an example of scholarly literature, I can definitely see its value to both the secondary and tertiary education systems. Congratulations and best wishes to both Jazz and Clement.

    Ihsan Atiba
    TIII Visual Arts
    BA, MA

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    Nnamdi Hodge

    This publication is a must-have in every household in Trinidad & Tobago and beyond. As someone who shares Mr. Ali’s passion for archiving and documenting, I can appreciate his meticulous, no-stone-left -unturned approach to producing this book. I say this since I was privileged to be included in the creative process. The book has a varied content that makes it appealing to a wide audience (history buffs, photographers, filmmakers, just to name a few.) I also foresee a great deal of interest generated in Tobago from the positive spotlight placed on it in the book. It is therefore deserving of every accolade that will no doubt come its way.

    Nnamdi Hodge

    Foreign Language Teacher / French Creole Researcher

  17. Rated 5 out of 5

    Francis (Pepe) Cowie-Rowley

    A very inciteful look into the making of a groundbreaking movie filmed on a relatively unknown
    tiny Caribbean island, Tobago.

    This account very accurately highlights the invaluable contributions made by the locals who may
    not have been given enough kudos for the logistic support they provided. We are talking about
    Drivers, Nurses, Skilled labor, Unskilled labor, Clerical Staff, Extras, Animal Handlers, and
    ‘location Locators’. These unsung heroes are usually left where they worked, behind the
    scenes. This book not only documents their contributions but places them indelible in the page
    of Tobago’s colorful history.

    It is with great pride and joy that I was able to share with friends and acquaintances here in
    Connecticut, U.S.A., the roles that my parents (Mano Cowie, Driver and Helen Cowie, Nurse)

    The book also promotes the pristine landscape that the island has possessed and maintained.
    This is achieved by the excellence of the photography both old and new.

    I recommend this book to anyone – Nature Lovers, Movie Buffs, Travelers, History Enthusiast. It
    should be a standard fixture in Embassies, Foreign Offices, Schools, Travel Agencies and ‘Trin-
    Bagonian’ abroad. A good tourism marketing tool.

    The end result reflects the tremendous amount of hard work that went into this project and may
    very well be the catalyst for more stories that may emerge from the woodwork.

    So, to George Jazz and Clement: Congratulations! A job superbly done!

    Francis (Pepe) Cowie-Rowley (son of Mano and Helen Cowie)
    Tobagonian in Connecticut

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    Carlos Dillon

    I must state upfront, that I was fascinated by the name of the book. The words “heritage of Tobago” triggered the thoughts of this book remaining with us in perpetuity. And this may not be far-fetched, given the fact that Jazad N. Ali and Clement G. Williams have now given life to the filming which took place sixty years ago.

    These two distinguished gentlemen have shown an amazing capacity for attention to detail and the ability to check the facts to arrive at the truth. They were able to pinpoint the epicenter of the film production – the treehouse in Goldsborough, and follow the pictorial trail throughout the island. The pictures of the people (of Tobago who are alive) and who contributed to the making of the movie, and the present-day photographs of the film locations have authenticated the validity of this book as a masterpiece.

    It is interesting to note that Walt Disney himself had described the movie, Swiss Family Robinson, as “one of the greatest adventure stories of all times” and we can claim with confidence that it was “proudly made in Tobago”.

    Over the years, quite a few movies were shot on the island. However, it is my considered view that this “Robinson Crusoe isle” is still a perfect location for many, many more film productions. We should work with the Film Company of Trinidad and Tobago to get this show on the road.

    In the meantime, we must also get this gem of a book into our schools, places of culture, and tourism to be used for both educational and marketing purposes.

    Congratulations to Jazz and Clement for a masterful job. Well done!

    Carlos Dillon

    Hummingbird Medal (Gold), B.Sc. Hotel and Tourism Management (Ryerson University, Canada)

    January 10th, 2021

  19. Veda Rajaram Loutoo

    A magical book with the magical words we all grew up with, “Disney”, “Movie Stars”, “Swiss Family Robinson” and “Tobago”. This book is a storyteller but it tells a story that is precise and crisp. It provides information in a simplistic manner on the filming of the movie “Swiss Family Robinson” in Tobago sixty years ago.

    It is a book which must be read by all who love history, adventure and nostalgia. It appeals to all ages and gives a unique perspective into the making of the film. The dazzling and exquisite photography of the beaches where the movie was filmed are beckoning. This fully illustrated well researched book is an ideal gift for our friends and relatives all over the world. Jazad N. Ali and Clement George Williams congratulations on an excellent accomplishment.

    Veda Rajaram Loutoo
    Bachelor of Arts
    Diploma in Education
    Head of Department (Languages) (Retired)

  20. Rated 5 out of 5

    Ramberran Ramjattan (verified owner)

    I admire the patience, enthusiasm and vigour Jazad employed to pursue writing this book.
    He demonstrated knowledge and expertise as an author and photographer to lay out the book.
    Way to go Jazad, one of a kind.
    This is a good selling point for Tobago as a tourist destination.
    The history brings back life to Tobago.

    Ramberran Ramjattan
    BSc. Accounting
    Herbert Lehman College
    New York

  21. Rated 5 out of 5

    Sharmin Mosodeen

    This perspective of Tobago’s history is insightful.
    ‘The Disney Film Heritage of Tobago Swiss family Robinson’ brought a forgotten part of Tobago’s history, on the world stage to the forefront. The book is an incredible piece of work.
    Written in an engaging prose it offers an intimate encounter with the movie’s filming process. The timeless, black and white photos, juxtaposed with crisp, colored images support the authors scholarly research of the “the Swiss family Robinson movie” by Disney in 1959 to 1960.
    This tourist wants to journey again to Tobago, beyond the sand and surf and relive some of those fascinating, magical moments.
    Praise must be given to the authors for immortalizing Disney’s contribution to Tobago’s rich heritage.
    Sharmin Himraj-Mosodeen
    English Language Teacher

  22. Rated 5 out of 5

    Kumar Ramlal

    The production of this book shows the patience, determination and the dedication of Jazad Ali and Clement George.

    The Book gives the reader thoroughly researched and documented information about the filming of Walt Disney’s classic 1960 movie, “Swiss Family Robinson” in Tobago.

    It is amazing time and dedication they put in locating all of the filming sites of this movie.

    They acknowledge all of the locals who played a role in the production of this movie. Even the animals used in the movie were highlighted.

    The beauty of the isle is compared in 1960 to present. We see the same beauty that is highlighted and that was perfect for filming such a movie. I highly recommend this book for anyone to read.

    Retired School Farm Attendant.

  23. Rated 5 out of 5

    Angela Miranda

    Swiss family Robinson
    When Jazz asked me for info on this Classical Walt Disney movie little did I know the outcome would be an unforgettable memory of 1959/60.
    Reflecting on all the events, parties at our Night Club being entertained by Thawley, the members of crew who stayed with us, sceneries some of which I never physically experienced. was memorable.
    Thank you Jazz Ali and Clement Williams for the wonderful memories. I am hoping that it is well read in particular by every Tobagonian.
    For those who participated in the actual movie it must have been a thrilling experience reliving it. Jazz your photos were amazing.
    On behalf of my family and myself thanks again.
    Angela Miranda, retired hotelier, beautician and barber of the
    Della Mira Guest House and Club La Tropical

  24. Rated 5 out of 5

    Patrick Harnarayan

    This is an exceptional piece of journalism with text, interviews, photography and history seamlessly blended into one well-crafted narrative. The Swiss Family Robinson, a classic movie produced and filmed by Disney, has now been infused back into our collective memories, renewing the excitement, drama and magic created in 1960. The authors have managed to recapture the essence of this adventure and this must not escape our attention.

    This unique treasure is a nostalgic journey through time, with people, locales and animals in tow. It is a work of visual artistry captured in ninety-two pages of glistening colour, silhouetted by the softer, traditional black and white images to accurately reflect an important piece of Tobago’s history. This is underscored in the rather exceptional foreword by a well-known islander. Clearly, this piece of artwork is worth its weight in precious metal.


    Dr. Patrick Harnarayan
    Lecturer, University of the West Indies.

  25. Rated 5 out of 5

    Karon Juigalli (verified owner)

    Wonderful book! I enjoyed the stories, detailed descriptions and amazing photographs, old and new.
    Congratulations to the authors Jazad N. Ali and Clement G. Williams on their accomplishment.

  26. Rated 5 out of 5

    Leah Lutchman

    As a child, Disney was a staple in my home. Needless to say, looking at Swiss Family Robinson and learning that it was filmed in Tobago brought extreme pride and joy to me. With the publication of this book, that sense of pride has been reignited. It is because of the meticulous dedication of the writers of this gem, that an entire new generation and generations to come will never forget that Walt Disney saw Tobago for all its richness and beauty.
    I cannot thank Mr. Ali and Mr. Williams enough for their commitment to ensuring that history is preserved.
    Thanks again and congratulations on your labour of love.

  27. Rated 5 out of 5

    Rawle Titus


    Swiss Family Robinson.

    To many people, this book may be described as a simple documentary; a documentary of something that would have happened some time ago and does not impact our psyche today. When one examines the nature of the publication and the manner of its presentation, its relevance becomes significant in particular ways. The authors Jazad N. Ali and Clement Williams must feel justly proud for bringing the embodied material to the fore.

    In the first place, the average islander does not have an awareness of what the movie meant to Tobago; to Trinidad and Tobago and by extension the wider Caribbean. Tobago’s bays and water courses were selected as suitable for such an undertaking; thereby giving the location a huge thumbs-up. This was coupled with the creative genius of world class film makers and producers for a series that has lasted for better than half a century and will last as long as there is a Walt Disney Company. It is all about their legacy; it is all about our legacy; it is all about legacy.

    Secondly, I feel that this is by no means an ordinary publication because it features the contributions, made to the production, of several Tobagonians; many of whom are still alive today and can therefore enjoy the recognition given to them by way of this form of documentation. These individuals can therefore join with Ali and Williams and testify as to what really took place.

    The Disney Film Heritage Of Tobago is a must read book that will live on as a demonstration of what two committed individuals can do. It can provide the type of inspiration necessary for creating our own literary repository. Tobago needs more of this type of work for that heritage and legacy to be perpetuated.

    Rawle Titus.
    Calypsonian Axeback.
    Author of the book “Wake People Wake” (The Sacred and the Profane)
    Former Vice President of the Trinidad and Tobago Senate.

  28. Rated 5 out of 5

    Chad Maraj

    This book is full of beautiful photographs from both the period when the movie was filmed and the locations present day.
    The book is extremely well written . full of great historic facts about the movie and Tobago itself. This book should be part of the history program in every school in Trinidad and Tobago. 

  29. Rated 5 out of 5

    Matt F. (verified owner)

    This book was a delight to read, as I’m sure it was a delight for the authors to write. Unlike traditional “behind-the-scenes” narratives which focus primarily on the drama of celebrity actors, this book highlights the true stars of the Swiss Family Robinson film, the island of Tobago and its people. Using contemporaneous and present day photos, as well as personal anecdotes, the authors give the reader a glimpse of the real magic that Disney captured on film during those six months in 1959 and 1960. Fans of the film, and fans of Tobago, are well advised to add this book to their collections!

  30. Rated 5 out of 5

    Susan Ramsaroop

    The Disney Film Heritage of Tobago – A Review
    Get ready for a fascinating journey back in time to the year 1959 for behind the scene glimpses of the blockbuster movie, Swiss Family Robinson! The book vividly captures the excitement, the interest, the opportunities and the lasting influence this movie generated in Tobago.
    This book delves into many aspects of the filming; from creating the storyboard to the script writing, from choosing scene locations to making the props. Who would have thought that the second pirate ship and the merchant ship were actually paintings done on glass?! Who knew that the English crew members were dissatisfied with their wages and threatened to abandon the project?
    The authors were able to locate all the sites for the various scenes in the movie. Comparative shots of the past and present were highlighted; the wild beauty of most of the sites remain preserved for the most part. The photography of contemporary Tobago is simply quite stunning!
    This book also pays homage to the Tobagonians who were associated with the movie. Some were recruited as stand-in actors, pirates, drivers, and animal handlers. The Disney crew was treated to Tobago hospitality at its best. There are fond recollections of picnics, tours, partying, friendships formed, blossoming romance and even marriage.
    This is a delightful and valuable part of our history. The authors must be commended for the extensive research which was conducted. Disney fans, cinematography enthusiasts and all Trinbagonians should be proud of this body of work. This book certainly deserves a place in our public libraries and schools.
    Susan Ramsaroop


Forgotten Password?