Welcome to Jim Hill Media - Entertainment News : Theme Parks Movies Television

Monday Mouse Watch : Never mind "Leggo my Eggo." Check out this LEGO John Lasseter

Jim Hill

Jim's musings on the history of and rumors about movies, TV shows, books and theme parks including Disneyland, Walt Disney World. Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Monday Mouse Watch : Never mind "Leggo my Eggo." Check out this LEGO John Lasseter

Rate This
  • Comments 1

With its turn-of-the-century architecture, Gotham Hall has long prided itself on being that spot in New York City “ … where style meets sophistication.”

Well, yesterday morning, all of that style & sophistication gave way to silliness. As Disney Consumer Products turned this seven-story-tall gilded ballroom into a playful recreation of one of “Toy Story 3” ‘s principal settings, Sunshine Daycare.

The entrance to the Toy Story 3 toy line announcement in New York City not far from Toy Fair at the Jacob Javits Convention Center
Photo by Nancy Stadler

Given that this event was being held in conjunction with The American International Toy Fair, it only made sense that DCP filled Gotham Hall with over-sized blocks & crayons. Not to mention walk-around versions of Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie. Who happily posed for pictures with event attendees.

After this invitation-only crowd had had its fill of itty-bitty muffins & mini-quiches, Mary Beech – VP and General Manager for global studio franchise development for Disney Consumer Products – took to the stage and thanked everyone for making a special trip into the City on this cold & windy Valentine’s Day morning.

Mary Beach of Disney Studios Global Franchise Development group kicks off the announcement of the Toy Story 3 toy line at Toy Fair in New York City
Mary Beech welcomes the crowd at NYC's Gotham Hall.
Photo by Nancy Stadler

But before this “Toy Story 3” preview event actually got underway, Beech took a moment to acknowledge what had happened the night before. When John Lasseter had been inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

Mary pointed out that – in being selected for this honor – John joined a pretty select group of creatives (Among those who have previously been elected to the TIHOF are Walt Disney and George Lucas). Though – to hear Lasseter talk – what really seemed to matter most was the fact that his sons (who were shown in a brief tribute film, talking about how cool it was  – back during the Christmas of 1995 – that they hadeach received their very own Buzz & Woody, “ … toys from Dad’s movie”) seemed to enjoy & appreciate the movies that John & his colleagues make at Pixar.

Disney Pixar's Chief Creative Officer is inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame
(L to R) Woody; Neil Friedman, President of Mattel; John Lasseter; Andy Mooney,
Chairman of Disney Consumer Products; Jessie & Buzz Lightyear.
Disney. All Rights Reserved

That was a theme that kept coming up at yesterday's event. That as wildly popular & profitable as Pixar's animated features may be (To date, the first "Toy Story" films have earned a combined global box office of $878 million. No to mention selling 80 million copies of these movies worldwide. And those numbers don't impress you, consider this: Over the past 15 years, the "Toy Story" franchise has generated $8 billion [Yes, that's Billion. With a "B'] in retail merchandise sales), they're still very, very personal films for John and his fellow filmmakers.

Which brings us now to "Toy Story 3." This Lee Unkrich movie actually draws much of its inspiration from something that many members of the Pixar brain trust are experiencing right now. In that their children are growing up and getting ready to leave home & head off to college. As John Ratzenberger came out and tried to explain how Pixar harnesses the emotional truths that we all associate with these real-life events so that it can produce the sorts of movies that Frank Capra would be proud of ...

John Ratzenberger talks about voicing Ham the piggybank in the Toy Story movies
Photo by Nancy Stadler

... Pixar's lucky charm was interrupted as the Green Army Men rappelled in from above ...

Full sized Green Army men toys rapelled down to the stage and took control of introducing the new toys that appear in Toy Story 3
Photo by Nancy Stadler

... And after shooing this sitcom star from the stage, the Green Army Men then revealed the first of more than 250 new "Toy Story" themed toys. With the first wave due to hit store shelves on May 1st. While the rest will be rolled out this Summer & then on through to the 2010 holiday season.

Lots O Hugging bear was perched atop his friends Buzz, Woody, Rex and the little green alien men in a display at the Toy Story 3 Toy line announcement put together by Disney Pixar
Photo by Nancy Stadler

One character that the folks from Pixar seem particularly excited about is Lots-O'-Huggin Bear. The first plush toy to make an appearance in this fabled film franchise, Lotso -- as Unkrich explained -- has kind of a unique history. "He was originally supposed to have appeared in the first two 'Toy Story' movies," Lee said. "But for one reason or another, Lotso's part kept getting cut. But as we've learned at Pixar over the years, good ideas never dies. And given what a great part Lotso has in 'Toy Story 3,' it really was worth the wait to get this character just right."

Lee Unkridge, director of Toy Story 3, holds Hugs O Lot bear that actually smells like strawberry
Lee Ukrich with Pixar's newest star, Lots-O'Huggin' Bear.
Photo by Nancy Stadler

But if you asked me what the real highlight of yesterday's "Toy Story 3" press preview event was, I'd have to say that it was when -- in honor of his induction to the Toy Industry Hall of Fame -- John Lasseter was presented with a bust of himself made entirely out of LEGO bricks.

John Lasseter holds the surprise from Lego - a bust of himself entirely made of Legos
Photo by Nancy Stadler

Lasseter seem genuinely delighted with this gift. Though -- as he invited Unkrich and "Toy Story 3" producer Darla K. Anderson to come up and eyeball this cubist work of art for themselves -- John pointed out that the likeness wasn't exactly correct. Pointing to the top of its brown LEGO-covered head (to be specific, to this bust's lack-of bald spot), he said: "They gave me too much hair."

All in all, this LEGO bust was a pretty neat gift for a dedicated toy collector like Lasseter, don't you think? After all, it's not every day that you get to see yourself portrayed as a really-for-real blockhead.

Your thoughts?

Blog - Post Feedback Form
Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close
Leave a Comment
  • * Please enter your name
  • * Please enter a comment
  • Post
  • Forget the bald spot (which looks fine to me), how about those mini-Woody and -Buzz figures?  =)

Page 1 of 1 (1 items)