Six Things You May Not Know About Slinky Dog
A Rough (Ruff?) Start
We all know Slinky Dog as the laid-back toy with an easy-going southern drawl from the Toy Story universe. Surprisingly though, he wasn’t always intended to be so happy-go-lucky. In the original draft of Toy Story, Slinky was the least popular of Andy’s toys, and was actually treated quite cruelly by Woody (who was originally meant to be a distasteful character who’s ego as the “leader” had gone to his head). In fact, in the original story Woody let it be known that the only reason Slinky wasn’t hauled off to Goodwill was because of Woody himself! Ouch! Fortunately, the script received a major overhaul, and both characters were transformed into the lovable toys we know today.
Bringing Slinky Back to Life
Slinky Dog was actually the only toy in the film that was no longer in production in real life when the movie was released; having been discontinued in the 70s. When Toy Story was released in 1995, real life toy versions of the characters were rushed into the stores. Unfortunately, since Slinky Dog had been out of production for some time, the original manufacturer had a few problems in creating new molds in order to make it look more like the film character. But the problems were soon overcome, and Slinky Dog soon found his way onto toy shelves around the world next to his on-screen costars. How popular was he? The original run of 825,000 units sold out well before Christmas that year. And he was cute too. Betty James, the head of James Industries (inventor of the original Slinky), said, “the earlier Slinky Dog wasn’t nearly as cute as this one.”
But how did Slinky Dog come to be? In the early years of James Industries, they received a letter from Helen (Herrick) Malsed that included several drawings for Slinky pull-toys (including a Slinky Train along with a dog). The Slinky Dog was added to the lineup in 1952 and became an instant classic.
A New Look
With the permission of James Industries, Slinky Dog was partially redesigned for the film by Pixar artist Bud Luckey to make him more appealing as an animated character.
The Unsung Bud Luckey
Luckey was a Pixar story artist who also designed Woody. He was also a talented voice actor, performing the voice of Eeyore in the 2011 film Winnie the Pooh, as well as that of National Supers Agency (NSA) Agent Rick Dicker in The Incredibles. He also wrote and directed the classic Pixar short Boundin’. John Lasseter once said, “Bud Luckey is one of the true unsung heroes of animation.”
Ernest and Slinky
In the first and second films, Slinky was voiced by the late Jim Varney, who passed away shortly after Toy Story 2 was released. For Toy Story 3, Slinky was voiced by Blake Clark, who had been good friends with Varney.
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