Brad Bird's Inside Jokes ¬


Yesterday’s Daring Fireball Linked List included a link to A special ‘Where’s WALL-E’ edition of Why For? for a look at some of Pixar’s in-jokes. Emily and I are quite the pair of Pixar fans so most of these reference were known to us, but there are a few gems we hadn’t noticed yet. Tin Toy under the bed in Lifted? Incredibles Manga in Finding Nemo?!

Let’s just say, it’s a must read for an overview of many of the in-jokes that Pixar has included as you’ll likely have missed one or two. But I was surprised by one of Jim Hill’s comments:

“Given that Brad was something of an outsider when he first arrived in Emeryville, he didn’t automatically buy into all of Pixar’s oddball traditions.”

Brad Bird may have been a new addition to the Pixar team, but he’s no stranger to the tradition of in-jokes. You have to remember that he was trained at Disney, so many of his references are more subtle and definitely old-school Disney compared to the Pixar standard.

Catastrophe Feared As Crisis Looms!

First, the “Catastrophe Feared As Crisis Looms!” headline1 on the Bob Parr’s newspaper in The Incredibles:

Of which a play on—“Disaster Seen As Catastrophe Looms”—can also be seen as on Dean McCoppin’s newspaper in The Iron Giant:

And actually dates back to Jim Dear’s newspaper in Lady and the Tramp:

Frank & Ollie

How about the two old men men who say, “There’s no school like the old school,” at the end of The Incredibles? They tease you by pointing them out in the animator’s commentary, but not telling you who they are:

They also have cameos in The Iron Giant as train engineers:

They are, in fact2, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, Disney animators-extraordinaire who worked on most of the Disney classics. Yes, including Lady and the Tramp.

No School Like The Old School

And last, but not least, the high school in The Incredibles:

Is the spitting image of Disney’s Animation building:

1 Emily deserves credit for first catching on to this one.

2 They’ll actually tell you this in the director’s commentary on the The Iron Giant DVD.

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