Promotional Image for the original 1995 Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

In 1995, Thinkway Toys created the first pull-string Woody and talking Buzz Lightyear action figures prior to the first film's release. At first, Thinkway was hesitant about creating the toys, as the company believed that Toy Story would not be a popular movie, yet they proceeded in creating the toys and ended up not having enough figures to meet consumer demands. Both toys were created using digital 3D data from the film. [1] The original designs were later acquired in 2002 by the Disney Store.

1994/1995 Prototypes

Sometime between late 1994 - mid-1995, Thinkway Toys made prototype versions of the characters before making the actual toys to sell to the public. Very little information is known about them and there are hardly any pictures of them. In April 2020, an Instagram user, Harry_Tricks_3D, found a full photo of the original prototypes on the back of a coupon from the original Toy Story soundtrack. These prototypes are rumored to be in the possession of John Lasseter or the staff at Thinkway Toys.

Poseable Talking Woody

1995 Poseable Talking Woody

The very first pull-string doll featured a removable plastic hat with a faded brim. It also featured wired armature, unlike the toy in the actual film. In later releases, this feature was removed along with the sewn-in buttons, and the smaller pull ring because they caused a safety hazard. This version without the armature was released in all subsequent versions of this Woody doll, along with other future pull-string Woody dolls. There was also an extremely rare, 4-foot tall version of this doll with the exception of a pull-string.

The first edition of this Woody doll also contains a pull string ring that's closer to the size of Woody's in the films.

Phrases

This Woody doll runs on an electronic pull-string mechanism, whose phrases were used in a majority of Woody dolls until 2009. These phrases are:

  • Howdy, partner!
  • My name's Woody!
  • You're my favorite deputy!
  • Yee-haw, cowboy!
  • There's a snake in my boot!

Re-releases

Promotional Image for the 1995 Woody

  • Poseable Talking Woody (1995)
    • This Woody doll was the same exact one as the initial release, but with some slight changes such as, a 1-inch pull ring, stamped in buttons, and slightly larger points on the corner of the badge.
  • Non-Poseable Talking Woody (1996)
    • The same exact doll as the re-release, but without an armature or spurs on the boots.
  • Toy Story 2 Talking Woody (1999)

This Woody doll was also re-released and modified by the Disney Store and Disney parks several times, without the first edition's wired armature. Thinkway became no longer associated with this version in the U.S. upon Disney Store's acquisition in 2002, as they chose to develop their Woody toy in their own direction. Some of these re-releases include:

  • Disney Parks Woody
    • Voiced by Jim Hanks
    • Later builds have an improved face sculpt, resembling the newer Thinkway Toys versions, as well as a thinner body
    • Has a more detailed hat made from smoother plastic.
  • Toy Story and Beyond Woody (Disney Store version)
    • Different voice
    • Has a badge not created from digital data
    • Has a more detailed hat made from smoother plastic.
  • Disney Store Woody
    • Thinner body
    • Different face sculpt (the same as the new Disney Parks face sculpt, but with added detail on the eyebrows and mouth)
    • Has a more detailed hat made from smoother plastic.
    • Voiced by Jim Hanks
    • Newer builds have brand new phrases
    • Has a more detailed hat made from smoother plastic.
    • Has "ANDY" written on his boot
    • Colors on the body are brighter and not faded.

Inaccuracies

As production of this toy was rushed for the initial release, there are a number of inaccuracies on the first edition Woody doll:

  • Pull string is lower down on the back
  • Future versions feature a larger pull string ring
  • Hat's brim is too light
  • Hat does not have stitching.
  • Body is too wide and rectangular.
  • Has a toothed smile rather than a closed-mouth smile
  • Has visible eyelids
  • Does not contain a majority of the pull-string phrases from the movie.
  • Is poseable
  • Spurs are too thick
  • Spurs and belt buckle are the same color as his badge, as they should be a flat pale orange/yellow color.
  • Badge is too thick and plastic instead of metal.
  • Buttons are too flat.

4ft Tall Woody Doll

The 4ft tall Woody Doll, also known as the Frito Lay Woody or Giant Woody, was produced by Thinkway Toys for the release of the first two Toy Story films.

1995 Poseable 4ft Tall Woody, used as advertisement displays for Toy Story in stores.

In 1995, Thinkway Toys created the 4ft tall Woody doll to promote the release of Toy Story on November 22nd. Thinkway used Pixar's computer generated files to produce this doll, as well as the Poseable Talking Woody and other releases. This doll is also known as the Frito Lay Woody because he was used to promote Frito Lay products in grocery store displays where their products were aligned with the movie. These dolls were never released to the general public as actual toys and were only made for store displays and promotions. They were produced in limited numbers but it is currently unknown how many of them were made, for years it was thought to be 150 in total, but in May 2021, this was proven false. The number 150 was actually referring to the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) number for some of the shipping boxes of the 4ft Woody.

This doll was possibly used in a parade as well but it is currently unknown what parade he was used in.

This version of the 4ft Woody is extremely rare since it was never released to the public. It is near impossible to find one in pristine condition and it is lucky to find one under $200.

He has a slim waist, is poseable, has a fragile hat made out of PVC, has head and hands made of heavy duty vinyl, clothes made of cloth, and the boots and badge made of leather.

Post-Promotion

After the promotion of Toy Story ended mid 1996, many of these dolls were given away or sold to collectors.

According to eBay seller, luvtim71, (s)he claimed to have acquired three of them after the promotion ended at Frito Lay in 1996.

"I worked at Frito Lay at the time and about 6 months after the promotion, I was at the warehouse and my boss and I were talking and he said he wanted to know what was in the pallet at the top of the warehouse racks.  We found 6 of these dolls that were never used, so we split them and I got 3 of them new in the box.  I gave one to a relative and another was sold on eBay about 10 years ago (that one was opened and used...I got $1,700 for that one)."

A small number of these dolls have been accounted for online, it is unknown where the remaining number of dolls are.

It is speculated that they are either in private collections or have been destroyed.

Re-releases

Main article: Public Release Versions of the 4ft Tall Woody and 3ft Tall Buzz Lightyear (1997 - 1999)

  • Non-Poseable 4ft Tall Woody Doll (1997)
    • This Woody doll was the same as the initial release, but was now Non-Poseable and was now available for public purchase through the Disney Catalog, the Disney Store, and as a Canadian Walmart exclusive.
  • Non-Poseable 4ft Tall Woody Doll (1998/99)
    • The same exact doll as the re-release, but with a Toy Story 2 tag.

Adventure Buddy Woody Doll

The Adventure Buddy Woody doll was released in 1995 by Thinkway Toys. There were two versions of this doll, a Jumbo version, which had an almost identical design to the 4 foot tall Woody doll, with the exception of having plastic hands, and a small version, which had an identical design to the Poseable Talking Woody, with the exception of having a voice box, plastic hands, and a plastic hat.

Re-releases

  • Adventure Buddy Woody doll (Jumbo version) (1996)
    • This Woody doll was the same exact one as the initial release, but with some slight changes such as, stamped in buttons, and slightly larger points on the corner of the badge.
  • Adventure Buddy Woody doll (Small version) (1996)
    • This Woody doll was the same exact one as the initial release, but with some slight changes such as, stamped in buttons, slightly larger points on the corner of the badge, no spurs, and a plastic holster.


Talking Buzz Lightyear

This Buzz Lightyear figure included a pulsating laser light, pop-out wings, some articulation, a voice simulator, and a retractable helmet. The figure also, like in the film, has glow in the dark paint. However, the wings on this Buzz figure are also very short in comparison to later Buzz Lightyear figures.

Buss.jpg

Phrases

Buzz Lightyear has only 4 phrases when his oval chest buttons are pressed, voiced by Tim Allen, the voice actor for Buzz in the film. The phrases said are:

  • I am Buzz Lightyear
  • I come in peace
  • Buzz Lightyear to the rescue! -laser activates-
  • To infinity...and beyond!

Although these phrases were said by Tim Allen in the first edition of this figure, later builds included a different voice actor along with the phrase: "This is an intergalactic emergency!"

Re-releases

Like Woody, this Buzz Lightyear figure has been re-released, but not as much as Woody has. In re-releases, Pat Fraley voices the figure instead of Tim Allen.

  • The new button used to activate the wings on the lower part of Buzz's jetpack

    Toy Story 2 Buzz Lightyear
  • 2003 reissue
  • Toy Story and Beyond Buzz Lightyear (Disney Store version, 2002)
    • Different voice
    • Includes the phrase, "This is an intergalactic emergency!"
    • Semi-transparent "wing" button
      • The red wing button on his chest does not activate his wings. Instead, a new button on the back does.
    • Speaker is located in his jetpack rather than his stomach
    • Different laser sound
    • Different, longer face sculpt
    • Brighter wing and sole color

After the Toy Story and Beyond version of Disney Store Buzz, Disney Store made a completely new Buzz Lightyear figure.

Inaccuracies

  • Does not include karate chop action
  • Does not include a push-button helmet
  • Does not have a wrist communicator
  • Wing button is in the wrong shape
  • Does not include the phrase, "There's a secret mission in uncharted space, let's go."
  • Laser button is too small.
  • Front sticker does not have the words, "Space Ranger" on it.
  • Star command logo on front sticker should be white and gray, The background of the sticker should be a lighter blue.
  • Colors of oval chest buttons should be brighter.
  • Yellow "LIGHTYEAR" name tag is too small and too pale.
  • Purple areas of the suit should be brighter.
  • Green areas should have more green than yellow in hue.
  • Hands don't have green rectangles on dorsum, a purple line on the knuckles, purple fingertips, nor are they ball-jointed.

3ft Tall Buzz Lightyear Doll

1995 3ft Buzz Lightyear doll, originally used for promotional displays until they became publicly available in 1997 and later re-released in 1998/99 for the release of Toy Story 2.

Much like the 4ft Woody doll, the 3ft Tall Buzz Lightyear Doll was created to promote the release of the first two Toy Story films.

The original 1995 version of this doll was never released to the general public as actual toys and were only made for store displays and promotions. They were produced in limited numbers but it is currently unknown how many of them were made, for years it was thought to be 300 in total, but in May 2021, this was proven false. The number 300 was actually referring to the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) number for some of the shipping boxes of the 3ft Buzz Lightyear.

Re-releases

Main article: Public Release Versions of the 4ft Tall Woody and 3ft Tall Buzz Lightyear (1997 - 1999)

  • 3ft Tall Buzz Lightyear Doll (1997)
    • This Buzz Lightyear Doll was the same as the initial release, but was now available for public purchase through the Disney Catalog, the Disney Store, and as a Canadian Walmart exclusive.
  • Toy Story tag from the 1997 re-release of the 3ft Buzz Lightyear.

    3ft Tall Buzz Lightyear Doll (1998/99)
    • The same exact doll as the re-release, but with a Toy Story 2 tag.

Adventure Buddy Buzz Lightyear

The Adventure Buddy Buzz Lightyear was released in 1995 by Thinkway Toys. Much like the Adventure Buddy Woody, there were two versions of this doll, a Jumbo version and a small version. Both of these versions had a strikingly similar design to the 3 foot tall Buzz Lightyear.


Gallery

References

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