A heart-rendingly tragic tale of what happened to Andy’s dad prior to the events of ‘Toy Story’ went somewhat viral last week, thanks to one of the toy consultants on the classic movie.
In an interview on YouTube, Mike Mozart, a toy product designer and reviewer said that the revelation came directly from his friend, the late Joe Ranft, the former head writer at Pixar – and among those who devised the story – who tragically died in a car crash in 2005.
However, writer and director Andrew Stanton, who wrote the screenplay for the 1995 classic, has decisively debunked it.
“Complete and utter fake news. Everyone go back to your homes. Nothing to see here, folks. #iwasthere,” he wrote in a tweet.
— andrew stanton (@andrewstanton) June 24, 2017
Stanton was indeed there, unlike Mozart, having a co-writer’s credit for the screenplay, along with Joss Whedon.
And though it now seems to been myth-busted, it was a strangely believable – and poignant – backstory.
It placed Andy’s dad, also called Andy, as the original owner of Woody the Cowboy.
The story went that when Andy Sr was a child in the late 1950s, he was stricken with the polio virus, and all his toys had to be destroyed.
But rather than turn all the toys over, he kept Woody, Slinky and Mr Potato Head back, hiding them in a box under his bed.
Years later, having had Andy Jr, Andy Sr was said to have suffered Post-Polio Syndrome, and become desperately unwell once more, and in his final moments, sent Andy Jr to fetch a chest from the attic.
But on his return, he finds his father has died.
It is at the funeral that Andy opens the box to find his dad’s toys, Woody, Slink and Potato Head inside.
Though it seems somehow too specific to be entirely made up, Stanton has kiboshed it – and as he says, he ‘was there’.
But it’s not the only theory that has been floated about why Andy’s dad is absent from the movies – others suggesting he’d walked out on the family, with Andy’s compulsion towards masculine toys like Woody and Buzz being emblematic of his lack of a father figure.
Both cast a perhaps unnecessarily sad hue on the movies, though, so we’re with Stanton on this one.