Toy Story Zero: The True Story Of Andy’s Dad & Woody’s Origin (ft. Mike Mozart)


Hey, brother! Ben, normally on this channel, we spend
time searching for tiny little undiscovered nuggets of information that can connect
otherwise unconnected dots and come up with brand new theories. Today is a little bit different, it’s more of
just a story — a “Toy Story,” if you will, because it fills in almost every single plot
hole in “Toy Story.” Why Woody doesn’t know who he is — why
he’s so rare and valuable — and, most importantly — the unsolved mystery of
Andy’s dad. (Intro music) Hey, brother! If you are a longtime viewer of this
channel, or just love fan theories, then you’ve probably come across the mystery
of Andy’s dad. I mean, people have come up with all
sorts of stuff to explain where he is. Is is he dead? Did they get divorced? Is it Al? Did they just not want to animate another
human being that early on in the development of Pixar?! As always though, the truth is more
magnificent and strange than anyone ever could have dreamed up. So, let me clarify by saying this is not a fan
theory or fan fiction or anything like that, but you’re also not going to find it in the
bonus features of a DVD, or a Disney wiki page lost somewhere deep on the
Internet, or on the novelization of any of the films. From what we can tell, the full story of
what we’re about to tell you may have only ever been entirely known by one man. One of the original members of the Brain
Trust at Pixar, and their head of Story, Joe Ranft. Joe was involved with the writing and
production of every single Pixar movie, and was even nominated for an Oscar for
storytelling, but as many Pixar fans probably already know, he tragically died
in a car accident in 2006. Before he died however, he told the story of
Woody’s origin and Andy’s dad to an unsuspecting friend at lunch one day, and
that friend was Mike Mozart. And earlier this week, we were able to sit
down with Mike and ask him about what they talked about that day at lunch. For background, Mike is a a longtime
Disney artist, toy collector, toy designer, and early YouTuber. If you want to look him up on YouTube, his
channel, JeepersMedia, is fittingly about toy reviews. And although it’s been dormant for a while
now, it was at one time one of the top 25 channels on the entire site! Mike is THE toy guy. Like, long before YouTube, or eBay, or
even the internet was so mainstream, he was already known as THE toy guy. He was the guy that TV shows called to
come review toys on their show. Mike first met Joe on a visit to Pixar long
before “Toy Story” was even announced, while he was working as an artist for
Disney out of Connecticut. But on a trip to California for some of his
Disney work, he decided to take a trip up to Pixar after being impressed by one of
their early shorts, “Knick Knack,” to check out the studio. This is when he first met Joe. And the two immediately hit it off and
stayed in touch over the years. Mike would occasionally send Joe various
magic tricks because he knew he collected them. [ He said he liked magic because that’s
what his job is, is magic. That all filmmakers are magical, and he
said, “What my job is as a writer is to distract you. Here, look over at this while I’m making this
magical thing happen over here.” The sleight of hand to fool you into
thinking something’s real. ] And Joe would occasionally pick his brain
about toys. Mike at the time, of course, had no idea
that “Toy Story” was even in production, but he answered his questions anyway, and
sent him books about toys coming to life. [ Was I aware of any books or any story
about toys coming to life, specifically? And I said, “Yeah, I have a great book, and I
have a copy of that book here someplace, I’ll try to find it.” ] But most important to this story are two
conversations they had; One before “Toy Story” came out, and the
other after “Toy Story 2” had come out. The first was when Joe asked Mike, “What would make a toy rare?” And not just any toy, but like, the main toy
of a series. Like, if somehow Pikachu was the hardest
Pokemon toy to find, that just wouldn’t make sense, right? What would be the scenario where that
happened? [ Toys in the ’50s we’re done in such low
quantities. Just before that whole age of
consumerism hit, where they started mass- producing millions, there was this
magical point where they were still hand- making a lot of that stuff in the USA. If they had a promotion for like, cereal, you
collect 25 box tops, send in the box top and then, in 8 weeks you will get your toy. But what happens is sometimes, those toy
companies went out of business, or sometimes, the cereal company went
out of business. I said it’s very possible that the company
went out of business. So, they produce all the other toys, they’re
all in all the stores, they’re selling, and now, the main toy or the special premium toy is
a no go. ] So, in a nutshell, that rarely happens, but
when it does, it’s normally because of a promotion ending prematurely, and the
toy in question never even making it to production. And I’ll leave that there for now, and move
to the second conversation, which happened after “Toy Story 2” in an Easter
egg of a diner. The two were having lunch, and Mike was
marveling at the animation quality in “Toy Story 2” and his love of “Toy Story” in
general, but he said, “Well, There are a few mistakes,” to which Joe said, “No, there are no mistakes the movie is
perfect,” But probably a little more eloquently, I’m
just little defensive. [ He said they’re perfect. There’s no inconsistencies, just no
mistakes. ] The mistakes Mike was referring to had
nothing to do with the animation or anything, but plot holes or unanswered
questions that unbeknownst to either of them would become the topic of much
debate on the Internet 20 years later. You’re welcome! he asked, [ What happened to Andy’s dad, because
how could Andy be happy at his first birthday party? And his dad must have just died or just got
into a divorce, because he’s got a little sister in the crib that’s like 14 months old,
maybe. So, whatever happened to dad had to have
happened in the past year. Why would he be so happy for his birthday
party? His first birthday without dad? ] And Joe told him. He told him how Andy could be so happy
on his birthday, right after his dad either divorced or died away from the family,
how Woody could have no memory of his past, how Woody was so rare. He told him EVERYTHING. Are you ready for this? Because the story is a-mazing! It turns out, the house we see in Toy Story 1
is actually Andy’s dad’s house, or more specifically, Andy’s dad’s parents’ house,
the house he grew up in. And just that tiny bit of information clears
up a lot of things. Like, for example, many people assume
that Andy’s parents are divorced because there are no pictures of the father in the
house. If he had died, obviously, they’d keep the
pictures up, right? So, where are they? But according to Joe, there are TONS of
pictures of Andy’s dad in the house. In fact, all the pictures you think are
pictures of Andy are actually pictures of Andy’s father, who looked almost exactly
like him as a kid. And the proof has been right in front of us
the whole time, like, look! Look at this photo of Andy in glasses. You know what the problem with this photo
is? Andy doesn’t wear glasses! This is his dad! And look at this picture where Andy is
missing his two front teeth. Oh, it’s adorable, right? Except, Andy isn’t missing his two front
teeth, he still has all of his baby teeth. But so then, where is the dad in “Toy
Story?” If they’re staying at his parents’ house…
why isn’t he around? Well, for that, we have to travel all the way
back to 1957, when Andy’s dad was a kid. According to Mike, Andy’s dad, whose
name was actually also Andy, was a huge fan Woody’s Roundup as a kid. He watched the show every week and
loved Sheriff Woody. So, imagine his elation when he discovered
there was a promotion where you could get a Sheriff Woody doll by sending in 30 box
tops of Cowboy Crunchies cereal. Now, part of the reason that young Andy Sr.
looked up to Woody so much is because his family was kind of poor, and he was
bullied at school, and was kind of a sickly child. And specifically, he was bullied by none
other than Al, from Al’s Toy Barn, who was the same age as Andy’s father, and whose
family was quite wealthy and owned a very large dairy farm. In fact, Andy Sr.’s father, so Andy’s
grandfather, worked for Al’s father, and you can even see a picture of him with
a plow on the wall. But anyway, because young Andy Sr.’s
family was poor, they weren’t able to afford enough cereal boxes before the end of
the promotion. Andy had only been able to collect 7, but he
decided he was still going to try. He sent in the box tops he had with a letter
explaining how he was Woody’s favorite deputy, and how his family was just too
poor to get all the cereal, and could they please just still send him the doll. And even on the envelope itself, he wrote
all over it and decorated it, so it really stood out, and then, he sent it away. And that might have been the end of the
story, except for something else that happened in 1957 — — Sputnik. Just as the promotion was coming to a
close, Sputnik went up. Woody’s Roundup was canceled, and so
was the promotion. Meaning that even though plenty of
Woody’s Roundup toys and merchandise was already available for sale in stores,
nobody had ever been able to purchase a Woody doll because this promotion was
the only way to get one. In fact, Woody dolls never even went into
production. The only one they ever had made was the
prototype they used for the marketing. And that might sound ridiculous, like, “Why
would they make the most popular toy so hard to get?” But, what you have to realize is that
Woody’s Roundup was literally made by Cowboy Crunchies. It’s literally, “Cowboy Crunchies presents,
Woody’s Roundup.” The whole thing is just a ploy to sell more
cereal. Speaking of which, back at Cowboy
Crunchies, all of a sudden, they’re all sort of freaking out, because Sputnik goes up,
their show gets canceled, and sales have stopped because now, kids only want— [—space toys.] But, they were good businessmen. They realized, “OK, we just need to pivot. We’re not going to make all these Woody
dolls, because they’re not popular anymore. Instead, we’re going to send everyone who
entered the contest a space toy and just, hope they forget about the whole Woody’s
Roundup thing.” And got one Woody prototype they made
for the marketing—that went in the trash. But, the secretary who had been receiving
all of the letters from the kids entering the promotion thought differently. She thought the kids would be really upset
that they weren’t getting the Woody doll. So, she fished out the prototype and
decided to send it to the kid she thought most deserved it. And it wasn’t hard to pick out the envelope. Which means that Woody isn’t just rare, he
is one of a kind, and Andy’s dad owned the only one. This explains why in “Toy Story 2,” Woody
doesn’t know who he is. [Why you don’t know who you are, do you?] He was literally produced after the show
went off the air, and was never around any of the other merchandise. But wait, then, wouldn’t he still remember
Andy’s dad, though? Well, remember how I said Andy’s dad was
a sickly child? Well, more specifically, he was sick with
polio, and soon after he got Sheriff Woody in the mail… things got bad. And if you’re a history buff and are saying
at home, “Ah, but J, the polio vaccine was invented in 1955. How could he have had it?” Yes, it was, but it wasn’t widely distributed
until 1961, and being poor probably didn’t help his chances. But like I said, it got bad, meaning that
young Andy Sr. had to be sent to a special hospital for treatment, which meant, even
worse, that all of his possessions, including his toys, had to be burned! Well, young Andy’s dad couldn’t bear the
thought, so, after all of his possessions had been placed out in the yard to be
burned, he snuck out, crawled without the use of his legs, to retrieve three toys: Woody, Slinky Dog, and Mr. Potato Head. And that part of the story really adds up
pretty well, because the original Slinky Dog came out in 1952, as did Mr. Potato Head,
although both of their appearances were slightly altered for the movie. Afterwards, as you may have guessed,
since he grows up to have Andy, he does not die of polio as a child. Instead, he recovers, but does not return
home, and instead, moves to Seattle, where he meets and marries Andy’s mom. [ He said that he married the mother that
we see. They move to Seattle, specifically. I don’t why he said Seattle. Specifically, Seattle. ] Here is where they have Andy and are
expecting Molly, when Andy’s dad is struck by something known as Post-Polio
syndrome. Post-Polio syndrome sucks! It basically means that if you had polio,
even if you recover from it, it just kind of strikes again, and in different parts of
your body, and worse! This recurrence forces Andy’s dad and his
mom to move back to his childhood home, where he would later live out the rest of his
short life. Now, young Andy at this point is
understandably upset about his father’s worsening condition. So, one day, his dad tells him he has
something for him. He opens up his wallet, and right on the
inside, you can see the imprint of a key that has been in that wallet for probably most
of his life. He pulls out the key and tells Andy, [ “Andy, go upstairs, and you’re going to find
a very special little trunk. It’s waiting for you all these years. It was something very special from my
childhood, and now it’s yours. And inside, inside is going to be your best
friend in the world.” ] But by the time Andy has gone upstairs,
and found the trunk, and brought it down, his father—has died. And for a few days, Andy forgot all about
the key. It wasn’t until after the funeral when he
came back home and found it, that he finally opened the trunk, and discovered
Woody, Slinky, and Mr. Potato Head. All of whom failed to recognize that this
boy, this Andy, was not the same Andy that put them in the trunk. They had all been asleep the entire time,
and had no idea of the passage of time, and because Andy and his father looked
so similar as kids, the toys didn’t even realize it was a different kid. Woody doesn’t even realize that his original
owner has passed away, or that the Andy playing with him now isn’t the Andy who
wrote his name on his boot. And that’s pretty much it, and God, it just
answers EVERYTHING! Like, why is the moving truck so empty? Ah, because it wasn’t really their house. Andy’s parents already had a bunch of
stuff up in Seattle. The stuff in the truck is mostly just their
son’s and a few mementos from the grandparents’ house. Why doesn’t Woody remember who he is,
or Andy’s dad, despite being an “old family toy?” Because Andy and his dad looked the
same and Woody was never aware of the show. Why are there no pictures of his father? There are! By the way, did you know that polio causes
poor vision, and that’s probably why that picture of young Andy’s dad is wearing
glasses? And if you’re not sold yet, there’s one more
tiny little detail I left out. When the secretary sent Woody to Andy’s
dad, she included a note that said, “To Sheriff Woody’s favorite Deputy,” and guess who else happened to get a
couple of prototypes of Buzz and Woody when they were first released. None other than Mike Mozart. He showed them to us. He still has them in the box, it was so
surreal. But on the box which Joe Ranft sent him,
he left him a note that said— [ —He actually broke on this original box,
“To my favorite deputy, Mike,” and they signed it on the outside of the box. ] Ugh, seriously, this story is just so perfect,
and like, the real like, tragedy of it all is that Joe isn’t around anymore to confirm or
deny any of it. Even Mike was amazed, he asked him— [ —I said, “I can’t believe that you have all
this like, figured out like—like, the wallpaper, and everything, I thought was a
coincidence.” He said, “Well, a lot of things just worked
out right, so, they worked out the right way,” but he said, “When your writer says you
can’t know where you’re going, unless you know where you’ve been,” ] A line he would later write into “Cars.” [Ain’t no need to watch where I’m going!] [Just need to know where I’ve been.] And now, I have to give a huge shout-out to
a couple of people. First, to Joe Ranft for being just an
inspiration, and an amazing writer, and for caring so deeply about his characters,
and his stories, and just for sharing them with someone. And another huge thanks to Mike Mozart
for sharing this very personal and touching story. I mean, honestly, he teared up a few times
just telling it to us. I almost teared up retelling it to you, just
now. It was truly a pleasure talking to him, and I
highly recommend you go follow him over on Instagram @MikeMozart. If you’d like to see the full interview we did
with Mike to fill in even more details, seriously, it gets very deep, and very
emotional at times, I recommend you go check it out on our Patreon, it will be
available under the exclusive feed. It’s about 90 minutes long, but it is so
worth the entire watch. Especially, because there’s yet another
shocking reveal about Andy’s mom in there, too. So, Ben, my question for you and everyone
else is really more of a request just to share this story. Let’s see if we can get this to Pixar to get
confirmation of it, because it’s so perfect. I have a feeling there’s only maybe like, 5
people on the whole planet who can actually do that for us. So, share this video. Thank you in advance. These socks are amazing! Guys, thanks so much for watching. Please like this video if you haven’t
already, and subscribe so you don’t miss any future Pixar videos from us. If you would like to see the truth about
Woody’s holster, you can check out this video, right here. Or if you would like to see our review of
“Cars 3,” you can check out that, right here. But Ben, that’s all I got for you today, man. I will see you in another life, brother.

100 thoughts on “Toy Story Zero: The True Story Of Andy’s Dad & Woody’s Origin (ft. Mike Mozart)

  1. I thought the original Mr Potato Head was made with a real potato. Also if they didn’t make any Woody’s why would there be a Jessie, Stinky Pete or Bullseye? Much less popular I would think than the main character.

  2. Aw such a sweet story 🙂 who thinks they should make a toy story short to show all this?!! It would be super sad, but super beautiful 🙂

  3. Okay but here’s what I don’t get. Why did his toys need to get burned when he got polio?

  4. BONNIE YOU LITTLE IT WAS A ONE IN A KIND TOYYY if you dont get this watch toy story 4

  5. that old footage of mike looks like the toy collector in the second toy story

  6. Is this chest the same one Andy kept his toys in? The one he still had when he was 18 because of the sentimental value?

  7. When he said it isn't the Andy who wrote his name, I got chills.

  8. Hey I don’t know what you know about NARNIA. But can you do a character analysis for ASLAN of who or what he is

  9. And please dad is the guy who we see vans that chicken place that’s a toy place in toys story two I figured out because it was like to see his balls and his time right now for me I’m just tired of amazement

  10. Without a doubt, the velveteen rabbit is definitely at least partially an inspiration for toy story.

  11. Not sure how I got here, but, the truth behind Toy Story 1-4 is incredibly dark and creepy, to be taken with some truth.

  12. The 1st conversation of toys kinda happened to me. I don't own a Specific "toy," but rather a collectible. I own a funk pop exclusive figure. It's a lucky the goat from Despicable Me 3. It had a label on the box saying "Toy's R us EXCLUSIVE"

  13. After he said polio, It struck a flashback to that video about the man needing help In an iron lung, and the mini documentary about it.

  14. 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭Pixar strikes again

  15. If the woody's roundup merch wasnt released at all, how did jessie get to her owner?

  16. I know why Andy was excited on his birthday because it is his birthday (edit)it is almost my birthday and I'm excited

  17. When I saw this it was the equivalent of a new Harry Potter book coming out

    Roses aren't yellow,
    Orchids are a blast,
    When I saw this video,
    I clicked oh so fast

  18. Who else cryed when Andy walked back down stairs and his father was dead

  19. Wait he said he was eating lunch and told the story shouldn’t someone walked in and hear it

  20. Won’t the toys recognize that Andy’s mom is a completely different person

  21. 5:54 he said Andys 1st birthday but mollys 14 months of age that would make molly 2 months older than andy

  22. How about the handwriting under Jessie's boot? Does it look like the handwriting under Woody's boot?

  23. OMG I REMEMBER WATCHING MIKE MOZART WAY BACK IN THE DAY! I LOVE HIM!!!

  24. If Andy knew it was a gift from his dead dad, why would he give him away in Toy Story 3. Who cares if he was going off to college you would think that he would keep him forever. That’s the only thing that I don’t get

  25. Am I the only one who sees that Mike and Al look exactly the same? Just look at 2:41!

  26. OK then how come we have a Jessie doll and how come we see in toys story two Jessie she is left on the side of the road to be picked up for donations

  27. Mr Potato Head didn’t come with a plastic body until the mid 1960s, prior to that it was just pieces you stuck into an actual potato. Andy’s Dad couldn’t have owned him in the late 50s. Even though polio wasn’t eradicated until the 60s, the aggressive vaccination campaign in the late 50s meant cases plummeted every year, so by ‘57/‘58 the number of cases had been reduced by close to 90 percent. Not very good odds to get polio unless you really lived out in the boonies and the vaccine hadn’t gotten to you yet. This just doesn’t add up.

  28. This doesn't explain why the whole family seems so cheerful in the movie if their father just died.

  29. First impressions 30 secs into video: "Cool shirt!" "Oh, and a pixar hoodie!" Notices all of the Pixar ball toys in the background "ohh.. he has a problem" 😂

  30. He died from Polio, I hope Pixar fans, who are antivaxers, finnaly stop ignoring death and vaccinate their kids.

  31. The shocking reveal abt Andy's mom I think is that she is the original owner of Jessie

  32. What is the brothers are doing this channel for them to tell theories to each other and are doing this as a video log

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  34. The movie should have had the same kind of sad beginning as Up did. But it should be very short (no more than a 2 or 3 minutes or the attention would be focused in Andy's mother or the toy's history and memories) and leave clues to the viewers about what happened.

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