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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. For years, there were only 2 available images of them that were on the back of the 1995 Woody's box. In April 2020, an Instagram user, Harry_Tricks_3D, found another photo 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.

Back of 94 proto
Prototypes
Proto buzz

Poseable Talking Woody

Woomy2

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 1996, this feature was removed along with the sewn-in buttons, and the smaller pull ring in future re-releases of the doll as these all 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

  • Non-Poseable Talking Woody/1995 Talking Woody
    • This Woody doll was the same exact one as the initial release, but without an armature and features a larger, 1-inch pull ring that remained in subsequent Woody dolls.
  • 1996 Talking Woody
    • The same exact doll as the armature-less re-release, but lacks spurs.
  • Toy Story 2 Talking Woody

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, 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

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1995 Version

During the release of the first movie in 1995, The 4 foot tall Woody doll (Also known as the Frito Lay Woody) was released to sell in select outlets in Canada. They were made by Thinkway Toys and distributed by Super Technology Limited and the Frito Lay company (According to the original box). These dolls were used again in 1999, during the release of Toy Story 2, being slightly redesigned to have no poseable arms and legs. After the release of Toy Story 2, they were put into storage and eventually sold or disposed of. The 1995 version of these dolls are very similar to the Poseable Talking Woody with the exception of a pull-string while the 1999 version is similar to the 1996 Talking Woody. Both versions of these dolls are extremely rare and now go up for more than 1000$ on eBay. According to the original boxes, there were only 150 (both '95 and '99 versions included) ever made in the world. It is near impossible to find one in pristine condition and it is lucky to find one under 200$. The original hat is made out of PVC and is very fragile and will break easily, the head and hands are made of heavy duty vinyl, clothes made of cloth, and the boots and badge made of leather.
99 giant woody

1999 Version

Around 20 - 30 of these dolls have been accounted for online, it is unknown where the remaining 120 or so are. It is speculated that they are either in private collections or have been destroyed.
S-l1600 (65)

Original box of 4ft Woody

Talking Buzz Lightyear

Buss

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.

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.

Wing

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, 1999)
    • 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

Much like the Woody doll, Buzz was released to sell in select outlets in Canada and was made by Thinkway Toys and distributed by Super Technology Limited and the Frito Lay company. These dolls were also used again in 1999 during the release of Toy Story 2, but with the same design. This doll is plush and has a plastic head that is similar to the Talking Buzz Lightyear. These dolls are also extremely rare and there were only 300 ever made in the world (According to the original box). These go up for more than 1000$ on eBay and It is near impossible to find one in pristine condition and it is lucky to find one under 200$.

Around 30 - 40 of these dolls have been accounted for online, it is unknown where the remaining 250 or so are. It is speculated that they are either in private collections or have been destroyed.

Gallery

References

  1. http://www.pixar.com/node/3878?ajax=2
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