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Tin Toy

Tinny, the star of the film
Directed by John Lasseter
Produced by John Lasseter
Written by John Lasseter
Distributed by Pixar Animation Studios
Release date(s) December 30, 1988 (SIGGRAPH)
Country USA

Tin Toy is a 1988 Pixar Animation Studios short film using computer animation. It was directed by John Lasseter and won the 1988 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. In 2003, Tin Toy was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".



The film takes place in one room and stars the toy of the title, a mechanical one-man band named Tinny, and a baby named Billy. At first the toy is delighted at the prospect of being played with by Billy, until he sees how destructive he can be. Fleeing beneath the couch, he discovers dozens of other toys who are too terrified to come out as they went through the same experience. But then Billy falls flat on the hardwood floor and starts crying, and Tinny decides he has to help no matter what. His antics succeed in cheering Billy up, to the point where Billy picks him up and shakes him violently before throwing him away. Once the toy has recovered from this ordeal, he is annoyed to see that Billy has forgotten about him and is now playing with the cardboard box and bag (which has the original Pixar square logo on it) that he came out of. Billy walks off with the bag on his head, wandering around the room with Tinny following while the credits roll. At the end of the credits, Billy and Tinny walk out the door of the room and a few other toys are seen running across the floor. They had apparently come out from hiding, now that Billy was gone.

References to other media

  • Puffin' Billy, the theme song from Captain Kangaroo, is used at the beginning. The Price Is Right opening is also heard with the announcer saying "You're the next contestant on The Price Is Right!" on a television in the background.
  • Initial drafts of Toy Story had cast Tinny of this short in the lead, and was considerably more of a road movie, as Tinny endeavored to find a place to call home. After a cowboy-themed ventriloquist's dummy was inserted into the story (the precursor to Woody) and began taking more focus in the plot, Tinny's role morphed into that of Buzz Lightyear.
  • In the episode NOS-4-A2 of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, one of the antagonists, Warp Darkmatter is followed side by side by XR. He comments "Oh look! The Tin Toy!" much to XR's annoyance.


A sequel to Tin Toy called "A Tin Toy Christmas," was originally planned as a half-hour long television special to be used to convince film studios that Pixar was capable of producing a feature film. This idea was brought to the table at the initial talks with Disney for Toy Story, but Disney was uninterested in the concept and urged Pixar to produce a feature immediately.[1]

Roboticist Dario Floreano stated that the concept of uncanny valley is taken seriously by the film industry due to negative audience reactions to Billy, the animated baby in Tin Toy.[2][3]


  1. ^ To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios
  2. ^ Dario Floreano. Bio-Mimetic Robotics
  3. ^ EPFL. [1]

External links



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