First fully computer-generated full-length feature film. Each frame took 4 to 13 hours (depending on the complexity of the shot) of time on a RenderFarm consisting of 87 2-CPU SparcStation 20's, 30 4-CPU Sparc-Station 20's and a SparcServer 1000.
Rendered for an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, and it was supposed to be matted in theatres to 1.85:1 (the aspect ratio for which the team tried to compose). For reasons too complex to go into here, they aimed for 1.85:1 and missed, but only by a little. After careful consideration and consultation with director John Lasseter, they nudged the window open a tiny bit to 1.78:1.
Woody and Buzz Lightyear are inspired by director John Lasseter's own childhood toys. He based Woody on his own pull-string Casper doll, and once he grew out of Casper he moved on to a G.I. Joe, a flashy toy at the time of his childhood.
The top of Sid's backpack reads "Julie Macbarfle has cooties!", a reference to camera manager Julie M. McDonald, who lobbied people to put her name in the film. "Juju's house of food" is another reference to her.
When the Pizza Planet delivery boy enters the Dinoco gas station, he asks for directions to West Cutting Boulevard. West Cutting Boulevard is the street where Pixar Animation Studios was located in Richmond, California, at the time (Pixar moved its entire operation to Emeryville, California, in 2000).
Buzz Lightyear's facial features are loosely based on those of the film's director, John Lasseter; most notably his eyebrows, cheekbones and the dimple in his chin. Lasseter demonstrated this by sketching a rough self-portrait of himself on the U.K. breakfast show The Big Breakfast and then adding the spacesuit helmet to transform himself into Buzz.
The license plate on Andy's mother's car reads "A 111" on the front and "A 113" on the rear. A111 and A113 are two rooms used by the animation department at CalArts - alma mater of a large number of Pixarians, including John Lasseter.
The carpet in Sid's house is modeled after the carpet in the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. The Shining is Editor Lee Unkrich's favorite movie. When Buzz gets wacky at the "tea party" he calls himself Mrs. Nesbit. The name of one of Pete's grade school teachers and in college, he had a Toyota pickup truck pretty much like the one the pizza delivery guys used. It too had a "YO" on the gate.
Billy Crystal was originally offered the chance to voice Buzz Lightyear, but declined. After seeing the finished film, he said the decision was the biggest mistake of his career. Upon learning this, Pixar offered Crystal the role of Mike in Monsters, Inc., which he readily accepted.
Tim Allen has said in many interviews that Pixar originally wanted Jim Carrey to voice Buzz Lightyear and Paul Newman to voice Woody, but they couldn't due to the low budget they were given for the film. Those casting choices were meant to represent how new Hollywood was taking over old Hollywood - Newman representing old Hollywood, Carrey representing new Hollywood.
During the staff meeting one of the books on Andy's bookshelf behind Woody is titled "Smyrl, Smryl, Twist and Twirl," a reference to Eliot Smyrl on the modeling team. Another is titled "Scooter Races". This is a reference to what filmmakers would do when Pixar consisted of no more than six people. Many of the books are names of Pixar's short films (The Adventures of André and Wally B., Knick Knack, Tin Toy etc.) and some of the book authors are named after Pixar staff.
The toy Shark, wearing Woody's hat, proclaims, "Look, I'm Woody! Howdy howdy howdy!" This references a cowboy-eating vulture in one of Gary Larson's "The Far Side" daily comic strips, from the early 1980s: "Hey everyone, look at me, I'm a cowboy! Howdy! Howdy! Howdy!"
The filmmakers have indicated in interviews that the moving-van chase scene at the end of the film was partially inspired by the toy train chase scene from Wallace & Gromit in The Wrong Trousers. The Pixar animators considered the toy train sequence to have set a standard for action which they had to surpass in this full-length computer animated film.
Originally the main character was going to be Tinny, the title character in Tin Toy. He would have gotten lost during a family trip and joined up with a sarcastic ventriloquist dummy in a search for a home. Eventually, Tinny was replaced with a toy astronaut named Lunar Larry, which then became Buzz Lightyear. The dummy, meanwhile, was given the identity of a cowboy, eventually becoming Woody.
What attracted Tom Hanks to the role of Woody was the fact that, during his childhood, he would always wonder if his toys were alive and moved around when nobody was in his room. What attracted Tim Allen to the role of Buzz Lightyear was the fact that, before him, they offered the role to his biggest influence in his career, Chevy Chase, who turned it down.
When the soldiers are watching the pile of presents disappear during the birthday party, two silhouette pictures can be seen on the wall. These pictures are available at Walt Disney parks worldwide, and are cut freehand, with no prior sketchwork, using nothing but paper and scissors by the park's employees.
Early scripts for the film featured a Barbie doll in a prominent role as Woody's love interest. The original ending sequence, in which Buzz and Woody chase the moving truck, was scripted to have Barbie drive her Corvette off the truck and rescue Woody and Buzz from Sid's dog, a-la Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Mattel, the company that owns the Barbie character, declined on the basis that they thought the film would be a failure and that they didn't want Barbie to have a defined personality, preferring to let children imagine Barbie's personality traits on their own. Thus, Barbie was dropped from the script, and her character was reworked into that of Bo-Peep. When the film proved a huge success, Mattel did allow Barbie to appear in Toy Story 2.
When the film was re-released on DVD, it was found that almost 20% of the original animation files were corrupted, proving to the studio that digital storage was not as feasible as they thought it would be at the time the film was made.
The presence of Bo Peep in Toy Story is a reference to the fairy tale "The Shepherdess and The Sweep" (1849) by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. His story was also about toys in a children's room coming to life when no one is looking.
In April 2008, Toy Story made its debut as a live action musical on Disney Cruise Line's The Disney Wonder. The musical contains 7 songs, 6 of which are original, and Randy Newman's 'You've Got a Friend in Me.'
Jeffrey Katzenberg often gave notes that he wanted more edge. Pixar presented an early draft of the film to Disney on November 19, 1993. The result was disastrous. The film was deemed unwatchable and John Lasseter recalls simply hanging his head in shame. It presented Woody as a "sarcastic jerk" who was constantly insulting the other toys. Katzenberg took Walt Disney Feature Animation president Peter Schneider in the hall after the screening and asked him why it was bad, Schneider responded that it "wasn't theirs anymore." Disney immediately shut down production pending a new script. The story team spent a week on a new script to make Woody a more likable character, instead of the "sarcastic jerk" he had been.
John Lasseter always wanted Tom Hanks to play the character of Woody. Lasseter claimed Hanks had "the ability to take emotions and make them appealing. Even if the character is down-and-out and despicable." Early test footage, using Hanks' voice from Turner & Hooch, convinced Hanks to sign on to the film.
Andy's last name is Davis. Although this is never stated in the film, during the end credits, Laurie Metcalf (who voices Andy's mom) is credited as voicing "Mrs. Davis". (Andy's last name is also revealed in Toy Story 3.)
Some 3D effects were too complex, or even impossible, to calculate at the time of this film; subtle tricks are used to avoid them. Examples: explosions, thus the viewer doesn't see Combat Carl's demise; hair dynamics, so Andy, Sid, and Molly all have short hair while Andy's mother's hair is always tied back in a simple-to-model pony tail; and flying water droplets, thus the viewer doesn't see any liquid when Woody dumps his burning head into a bowl of cereal.
Andy's lamp is a red version of the lamp that first appeared in and the ball that bounces down the hall just before the party, up and down from the hand of a guest, then is bounced off of by Buzz is the ball that first appeared in Luxo Jr.. Both have since become Pixar trademarks.
The moving company, which is called Eggman Movers, shares it name with the main antagonist of the Sonic The Hedgehog video game series, Dr. Eggman. However, in 1995, Dr. Eggman was still known as Dr. Robotnik to Europe and America.
The first animated film to receive a special achievement Academy Award. It was given to director John Lasseter for "the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film."
Buzz Lightyear's colors are purple, green and white. This was because John Lasseter's favorite color is green, his wife's favorite color is purple and the character was based on the white suits astronauts used to wear in the Apollo missions.
Buzz Lightyear's name was inspired by Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr, the second man to walk on the moon, and the term light-year, which means the amount of distance a beam of light travels in one year.