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Red's Dream

Red the unicycle in the lonely corner of the store
Directed by John Lasseter
Produced by John Lasseter
Written by John Lasseter
Music by David Slusser
Distributed by Pixar Animation Studios
Release date(s) November 30, 1987
Country USA
Language English

Red's Dream is a short film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by John Lasseter, which was released in 1987. To date, this is the only short that has not been attached to one of Pixar's feature films, the only Pixar short to be rendered on the Pixar Image Computer, and the first Pixar Short to feature an organic character: the circus clown known as Lumpy.

Development

According to Lasseter in the audio commentary, Ed Catmull wanted the Pixar staff to make a film using the Pixar Image Computer and the rendering software Chapreyes. Lasseter began to develop the story of a circus clown who is upstaged by his own unicycle while, quite separately, William Reeves began working on a city during a rainy night. At the same time, Eben Ostby had been wanting to animate a bicycle. Ultimately, the three combined their ideas, which resulted in the creation of Red's Dream.

Plot

Set in a lonely city on a rainy night, the film takes place in a bicycle shop (named "Eben's Bikes" for Pixar animator Eben Ostby) that is closed for the night. In the corner of the shop sleeps Red, a red unicycle who languishes in the "clearance corner", waiting to be purchased. As the camera zooms on him, the sound of rain falling turns into a drumroll, and we go into the dream-sequence. In his dream, Red is being ridden by a circus clown (which was nick-named 'Lumpy' due to his appearance). The clown enters the ring, accompanied by a fanfare, expecting a huge applause, but instead receives only a few scattered claps from different parts of the (unseen) audience. Nevertheless, Lumpy starts juggling three balls whilst riding Red, occasionally dropping them as he does. However, Red will slide out from underneath Lumpy (while the clown stays afloat) and spike the balls back to him with his bike pedals. The confused clown ponders this for only a second before continuing on with his act. At this point, Red is forced to catch another ball which Lumpy unintentionally throws across the ring. Lumpy continues to ride in the air while juggling the other two balls while Red bounces the green ball on his pedal. Eventually Lumpy comes to a sudden realization, and looks between his legs, only to discover he's been riding on nothing before he falls to the ground (and seemingly disappears from the dream). Red catches the other two balls and begins juggling all three of them, and then balances them on top of each other, after which he receives an uproarous applause. But then the sound of clapping turns into the sound of rain, and Red awakens, left to face bleak reality. Depressed, he returns to the corner where he was previously resting, and goes back to sleep. The short ends with the final image of the neon sign for "Eben's Bikes".

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