The Untold Story Behind ‘Toy Story’: Andy’s Dad, an Emotional History & Much More [UPDATED]

Mike Mozart recently recounted his chat with Pixar veteran, Joe Ranft and revealed the emotional story which took place before the first Toy Story
Toy Story Andy's Dad

Without a doubt, the Toy Story franchise is at the core of Pixar Animation Studios. Since 1995, Woody, Buzz, and the entire gang have wowed us with their incredible journeys from Andy’s room to the tear-inducing throes of a garbage incinerator. Along the way though, have you ever wondered what happened before Andy Davis inherited his prized cowboy doll, Woody?

UPDATED June 24 — Andrew Stanton (Pixar veteran and the second animator hired at the studio) has chimed in on Twitter (UPDATED: Andrew has since removed the tweet – an image of the tweet is below) and notes that Mike’s recounting (though detailed), is false. Looks like we may have to file this under the Pixar Theory!

Andrew Stanton Toy Story Zero

Mike Mozart, a longtime artist, cartoonist, toy reviewer, and creator (along with many more talents), announced his return to YouTube during a recent live event, held on June 1. Among the recounting of his early toy review days, Duck Tales artwork, and artist stories, he also revealed a shockingly emotional and brilliant recounting of his brief friendship with legendary Pixarian, Joe Ranft.

As Mike recalled during the legendary lunch meeting some years before Joe’s death in 2005, Joe revealed the back story that he had created for Woody, Andy’s Dad, and much, much more — which he called, Toy Story 0, the prequel to Toy Story. Over approximately 45 minutes, Mike passionately recounts the details as he and Joe talked. Mike started with a simple question, “Why would Woody be rare if he was the most popular toy“?

Although Mike passes along a ton of exact details, this was only the tip of the iceberg. He noted that he has expressly left out certain details and plans on making an updated video with hand-drawn animations to tell the entire story. While we wait for Mike to finalize his updated video, be sure to watch his live video embedded above (Toy Story conversation starts at 42:49) and read a summary of highlights from the story below.

Toy Story Woody Concept Art
Woody concept artwork by Bud Luckey

The story is so heartwrenching at moments, we wouldn’t be surprised if you got teary-eyed as you listen to the story of Andy’s Father’s passing and how he handed off Woody to his Son, Andy — we certainly did.

Highlights of the story:

  • Andy’s Dad is also named Andy
  • Andy’s original house in Toy Story is Andy’s Dad’s childhood house
  • Al’s Toy Barn was originally a working farm owned by Al’s Father
  • Andy’s Dad is the only person to own the version of the Sheriff Woody doll in the film – he was a cereal mail-away toy which was canceled
  • Andy’s name on the bottom of Woody’s shoe (with the famed backward N) was written by Andy’s Dad

Of course, one thing to keep in mind is that we cannot be certain if this story was told to anyone else within Pixar, or if it’s in fact true – but wow, what an emotional recounting if it is.

What are your thoughts on the story? Would you like to see this film made? Leave a comment below or chat about it with other Pixar fans in the Pixar Post Forum.

Thank you as well to our reader, Jace D. for passing this video along early in June and to the Super Carlin Brothers for coordinating our release of this news.

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