20 years ago, Pixar released Toy Story, the first feature-length, computer-animated film. The concept of toys springing to life was exciting, hilarious, and most importantly, fun. As one of our favorite films, we were surprised by how much we learned while researching it. To celebrate the film’s milestone birthday, we’ve gathered 10 facts that you probably didn’t know about its development. Keep on reading to see if you know any of these!
1. Pizza Planet was almost called Pizza Putt.
Pizza Planet was originally going to be a pizza parlor/mini-golf course hybrid called Pizza Putt (a play on Pizza Hut). But, late in the film’s production, Pixar changed the name. They opted for a space-themed restaurant so Buzz would think that he was finally going home.
2. Animators strapped boards to their feet to figure out how to animate the toy soldiers.
To nail the special way that the soldiers walk around, the animators took wooden boards, strapped them to their feet, and tried to move. It was a lot harder than they expected.
3. Tom Hanks ad-libbed the scene where he’s holding Buzz’s arm.
To create the scene where Woody uses Buzz’s arm to convince the other toys that he’s okay, Toy Story Director John Lasseter brought a fake arm into Tom Hanks’ recording session, and told him to ad-lib with it. After the scene was explained to him, Hanks took off and did a hilarious puppet show-like routine. It was so good that they ended up using most of it in the film. One bit that didn’t make it in had Woody reading Buzz’s palm.
4. Rex’s personality was designed as a slant on Jurassic Park’s T-Rex.
When artists were designing Rex, Jurassic Park had just hit theaters. Because of the resulting popularity of dinosaurs, they put one in the film, but opted for making the character insecure instead of ferocious. They also decided to make him neurotic because T-Rexes have abnormally short arms, and as a result, aren’t able to reach their own noses.
5. Early scripts featured Barbie in a prominent role.
While we all know that Barbie factored in to the film’s sequel, she was originally supposed to make her debut in the first film. In one of the earlier scripts, the scene where Buzz and Woody chased the moving truck originally featured Barbie driving her pink Corvette off of it, to save the duo from Sid’s dog.
6. Sid is based on two prominent Pixar employees.
Toy Story’s villain, Sid Phillips, is actually based on the childhood experiences of two of the films co-story writers, Andrew Stanton (A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, WALL•E) and Joe Ranft (Cars, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King). Lasseter recalled how Joe used to take apart all of his toys. As for the scene with Combat Carl out in the backyard, Stanton says it is identical to something he did with his friend when he was 8 years old.
8. Don Rickles was the first and only actor considered for the role of Mr. Potato Head.
When filmmakers were casting the toys, they looked at the sort of personalities they wanted each to have. With Mr. Potato Head, they decided that he’d have a chip on his shoulder because he was constantly losing his parts. With that in mind, they set their sights on casting the famed comedian, Don Rickles. Mr. Potato Head’s line “What are you looking at, ya hockey puck?” is one of the actor’s catchphrases.
9. The writers took inspiration from real toys.
During production, the film’s director and writers spent a lot of time at toy stores, studying and picking up toys to bring back to the office. The idea behind this was to mix toys that they’d made up with existing ones. All of the real toys they picked were still in production at that time, aside from Slinky Dog.
10. Andy’s character model was reused several times in the film.
The animators used Andy’s character model—albeit with different hairstyles, outfits, skin color and accessories—to create the kids at Andy’s party, and some of the ones at Pizza Planet.
Which fact was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!