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, John Lasseter telephoned Billy's house to offer him the role of Mike Wazowski in Monsters, Inc. (2001). Billy's wife answered the telephone and said "John Lasseter wants to speak to you." Billy took the telephone from his wife and said "Yes".
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 (1991). 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 (1999).
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. Billy Crystal had also declined the roll.
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 (1989), convinced Hanks to sign on to the film.
Originally the main character was going to be Tinny, the title character in Tin Toy (1988). 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.
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).
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. Newman would later go on to voiced Doc Hudson in Cars (2006) which was his last role before his death.
The first (and as of 2014 the only) animated film to receive a special achievement Academy Award. It was given to John Lasseter for "the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film." More than fifty years earlier, Walt Disney received an honorary Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).
Woody and Buzz Lightyear are inspired by 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.
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.
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.
Buzz Lightyear's facial features are loosely based on those of the film's John Lasseter; most notably his eyebrows, cheekbones and the dimple in his chin. Lasseter demonstrated this by sketching a rough self-portrait on the U.K. breakfast show The Big Breakfast (1992), and then adding the spacesuit helmet to transform himself into Buzz.
In Andy's bedroom, you'll notice that there are books on the book shelf with the following titles: Tin Toy (1988), Knick Knack (1989), Red's Dream (1987), and Luxo Jr. (1986). These titles are the names of the animated short films that Pixar made in the 1980s.
When the film was re-released on DVD, it was found that almost twenty percent 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 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 presence of Bo Peep in Toy Story (1995) 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.
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 (2010).)
When Sarge looks through his binoculars spying on the party guests when he and the other army men investigate the birthday party, you'll notice that Andy's friends are actually the same character model of Andy just with different skin tones and different clothes and accessories.
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.
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 The Wrong Trousers (1993). 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.
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.
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 Run". 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 (André and Wally B. (1984), Knick Knack (1989), Tin Toy (1988) etc.) and some of the book authors are named after Pixar staff.
During the "Mrs. Nesbit" scene, Buzz was with two headless dolls. He says, "One minute you're defending the whole galaxy, and suddenly, you see yourself Darjeeling with, Marie-Antoinette and her little sister." Marie-Antoinette was queen of France during 1774-1792. She was guillotined on 1793 in the French Revoultion with her sister-in-law Élisabeth.
The carpet in Sid's house is modeled after the carpet in the Overlook Hotel in The Shining (1980). 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.
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.
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. (1986). Both have since become Pixar trademarks.
In April 2008, Toy Story (1995) made its debut as a live action musical on Disney Cruise Line's The Disney Wonder. The musical contains seven songs, six of which are original, and Randy Newman's 'You've Got a Friend in Me.'
This is the only film in the Toy Story trilogy to start in the real world, unlike Toy Story 2 (1999) which started off in a video game setting, and Toy Story 3 (2010), which started in a fantasy setting of Andy's playtime.
EASTER EGG: The license plate on Andy's mother's car reads "A113". A113 is a room used by the animation department at CalArts - alma mater of a large number of Pixarians, including John Lasseter. This Easter Egg would later carry on over to Future Pixar Films as well.
When Woody and Buzz are running around behind the video game consoles at Pizza Planet, one of the video games that can be seen is an extremely sped up version of Pong, a video game by Atari that was originally released in November 1972.
Sid's dog is named "Scud", a reference to missiles that carried biological warfare substances used by Saddam Hussein when he opened an attack on United States allies during the Persian Gulf War of 1991.
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 John Lasseter, they nudged the window open a tiny bit to 1.78:1 (16 x 9).
When Andy's family is in the minivan on the way to their new house, a shot is shown of Molly looking in the side mirror at Woody and Buzz on the road. While this is happening, "Hakuna Matata" is playing, a song from The Lion King (1994).
Though not the main character, Mr. Potato Head, not counting the wanted poster, is famously the first character to appear in both the Toy Story series and the Pixar films. Andy is the first character to be heard speaking in the Pixar films as he was throwing his voice for Mr. Potato Head as a bad guy.
Joss Whedon, who is one of the screenwriters, would later go on to create a science fiction television series which was a "Western in space", entitled Firefly (2002). Woody is a cowboy doll and Buzz Lightyear is a toy spaceman.
First Disney film to have a variant of the Walt Disney Pictures logo, in this case, being a more 3D-looking castle that zooms out, which would also be used for all Pixar films until after Ratatouille (2007).
When Woody hides in a milk crate in Sid's room, one of the items inside it is an American military-style manual labeled "TM 31-210: Improvised Interrogation Techniques", a reference to Sid's mock interrogation of Woody with a magnifying glass. There is a real training manual published by the United States Army with a serial number TM 31-210, which details the creation and use of improvised explosives. Though also fitting for Sid's character, it was possibly altered to its current state to prevent viewers from getting any unseemly ideas.
The Jim Henson Company produced the Muppet's television movie The Christmas Toy (1986), about toys who come to life when their human owners aren't around. In it, Rugby the Tiger becomes jealous when he discovers he's about to be replaced as the children's favorite toy, and inadvertently releases the new toy, Meteora: Queen of the Asteroids, who doesn't realize she's a toy, and thinks she's landed among aliens. It's then up to Rugby and the other toys to convince her to accept her role as Christmas toy and get back in her present before Christmas morning. The Jim Henson Company was later bought by Disney, like Pixar, who created Toy Story (1995).
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 the PAL Regions (Europe and Australia) and America.
Before the film was released, there was an Australian television series about toys in a boy's bedroom that come alive when the boy has left the room - that series was Johnson & Friends (1990), which had no human characters.
There are two slightly different versions of the film's poster (where Buzz is flying in Andy's room with Woody grabbing his arm). One has Woody side-looking Buzz and the other one is Woody smiling at the sky.
Sid (the main antagonist) wears a black T-shirt with a skull and tortures and destroys toys. The Marvel comic book anti-hero The Punisher, aka Frank Castle, was known for wearing a black shirt with a skull and for torturing and killing criminals.
There are three running gags in the film 1 Buzz thinking he is a 'space ranger' despite Woody insisting he is a toy. 2 Andy's toys turning against Woody after thinking he killed Buzz. 3 Woody and Buzz bumping into Sid's disfigured toys.
The theme of Andy favoring Buzz (a spaceman) over Woody (a cowboy) is reminiscent of a cultural phenomenon of the 1950s where kids wanted to be cowboys. With the launch of Sputnik and the subsequent space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, more kids wanted to grow up to be astronauts and abandoned their cowboy toys.
This is the only Pixar film to not have the Pixar logo, where Luxo, Jr. would bounce on the I, with the Disney logo fading into the film at the start. However, in one of the trailers for the film, a different Pixar logo is shown on a black background, with no lamp.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
This is the only film in the Toy Story trilogy where the main villain is not a toy (in the cases of Toy Story 2 (1999) where it's Stinky Pete The Prospector and in Toy Story 3 (2010) where it's Lots-O-Huggin' Bear "Lotso"), but a human.
In Buzz's first scene. Rex asks Buzz what a space ranger actually does, but Buzz doesn't answer the question, because he is rudely interrupted by Woody who rants about him not being a space ranger. A space ranger is an intergalactic policeman.