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Why not watch Pixar's latest short, "Radiator Springs 500 1/2," from the road this weekend with Disney Movies Anywhere?

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Why not watch Pixar's latest short, "Radiator Springs 500 1/2," from the road this weekend with Disney Movies Anywhere?

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Given that the Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally when Americans take their first road trip of the year, it's entirely appropriate that Disney Movies Anywhere has just rolled out a brand-new "Cars" short, "Radiator Springs 500 1/2."

Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

This film is the first in a brand-new series of Car Toons from Disney*Pixar, "Tales from Radiator Springs." And when I asked Rob Gibbs -- the director of "Radiator Springs 500 1/2" -- what will make "Tales from Radiator Springs" different from the first set of Cars Toons, "Mater's Tall Tales," Rob explained that the powers-that-be-at-Pixar felt that it was time to take a closer look at Carburetor County.

"With the 'Mater's Tall Tales' films, we were able to put that character in a lot for fun situations. But since the town of Radiator Springs itself is such a rich environment and the characters who live there are so interesting, John Lasseter felt it was high time that we  revisit them," Gibbs explained during a phone call earlier this week. "So last year, we developed some scenarios for some 'Tales from Radiator Springs' shortie-shorts. Those films -- "Hiccups," "Bugged" and "Spinning" -- aired on the Disney Channel back in March. But 'Radiator Springs 500 1/2' is our first full-length short that we've done for this series."

And why exactly is this new Disney*Pixar production called "Radiator Springs 500 1/2" ? Rob revealed that there's actually a funny story behind that title.

Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

"The inspiration of the road race featured in this film is the Baja 1000 & the Baja 500. We wanted to call it the Radiator Springs 500," Gibbs said. "But then John jumped in and said 'What would Mater call it? He wouldn't say this race was a 500. He'd say that it was a 500 and a 1/2'."

As for the storyline of "Radiator Springs 500 1/2," Rob and the story team at Pixar were looking for a scenario that would allow this "Tales from Radiator Springs" short to not revisit some of the prettier places in & around Carburetor County but also journey to spots that "Cars" fan had never seen before.

"Take -- for example -- Tail Light Caverns. We actually worked with the Imagineers to help develop the climax for Radiator Springs Racers, which is a scenic drive through Tail Light Caverns," Gibbs continued. "And given that we wanted to have the residents of Radiator Springs to roll through this scenic spot as part of their leisurely drive ... Well, we wanted Lightning McQueen and the Baja pros that he was racing against to come up against a dangerous equivalent of Tail Light Caverns. But what might that be?"

Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

Again, it was John Lasseter who came to the rescue. He was the guy who came up with the idea for Tailpipe Caverns, this horrible, bad smelling place.

"That's half the fun of 'Radiator Springs 500 1/2,' " Rob enthused. "How we get to keep cutting back and forth from all these nice-looking, pristine locations where Mater, Sally and Lizzie are driving through and all of the dark, dangerous, scary places that Lightning and the Baja pros find themselves in. Of course, it doesn't hurt that we got Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin and Tony Shaloub to all come back and voice their original "Cars" characters.

And let's not forget about Owen Wilson. Who -- for the first time since production of "Cars 2" wrapped -- returned to voice Lightning McQueen for the first film in the "Tales from Radiator Springs" series.

"Radiator Springs 500 1/2" director Rob Gibbs.
Copyright Disney Pixar. All rights reserved

"I hadn't had the chance to work with Owen while we were making the 'Mater's Tall Tales' movies," Gibbs recalled. "So for the 'Radiator Springs 500 1/2' recording session that Owen did, John sat in. He first introduced me to Mr. Wilson and then helped Owen and I get a handle on the Lighting McQueen character again."

Speaking of which, Wilson will be spending a lot of time in Emeryville over the coming years. Given that Pixar now has a third "Cars" movie in the works. Not to mention a second full-length "Tales from Radiator Springs" short currently in the studio's development pipeline.

"I'm not really at liberty to talk about what that short will about. But what I can say is that it'll be epic," Rob concluded.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Mind you, if you want to see "Radiator Springs 500 1/2," the first film in the "Tales from Radiator Springs," then you need to sign up for Disney Movies Anywhere. This cloud-based digital movie service offers consumers a hassle-free way to buy, watch, and manage Disney content across various platforms and devices via the easy-to-use DMA app and/or at DisneyMoviesAnywhere.com. If you'd like to learn more about the over 400 films that are currently available for downloading & streaming through DMA (and these titles include Disney branded animation, Disney live-action films, Pixar movies, and Marvel productions, along with exclusive, original content), then you should visit www.DisneyMoviesAnywhere.com.

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  • I've already seen the whole short. It's very fun (and funny)

  • I'd love to, but Disney Movies Online isn't compatible with my iPod (which I think runs on a wind-up mainspring).  :) Well, at least I'll something to look forward to when I upgrade...

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