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Trivia / The Brave Little Toaster

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  • Acting for Two:
    • Timothy E. Day plays both Blankey and the young Master, if only because the latter's only speaking role is in Blankey's fantasy.
    • Tim Stack voices both Lampy and the costumer at Elmo St. Peter's shop.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: As the script was still being written while the dialogue was being recorded, Jerry Rees would retrofit lines yet to be recorded to the actors' individual skillsets.
  • Creator In-Joke: There are two nods to the character animation department of the California Institute of the Arts, where much of the staff graduated. The Master's address is 2470 McBean Parkway, which is the address of the school in Valencia, California. The Master's apartment is A113, the room where character animation classes were held.
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  • Cross-Dressing Voices: While Deanne Oliver voiced the Toaster in the original English version, it's averted in the Mexican Spanish dub of the first film, where he's played by Arturo Mercado Jr.
  • Doing It for the Art: Despite essentially having the film dumped in their laps with virtually no time and money, requiring them to regularly do a week's worth of work in a single day, Jerry Rees and co. had carte blanche to do the film however he wanted, and saw it as a golden opportunity to turn a simple children's film into something mature, sophisticated and unique. They insisted that all of the sound effects be made from scratch rather than be taken from a stock library and hired David Newman to give it a larger-than-life music score. When it was decided that the film's animation would be outsourced, Rees and most of the staff traveled to the Taiwanese studio to ensure that they still had a hand in the final product.
  • Dueling Dubs:
    • The film was dubbed in Czech twice. The first was made in 1992 for VHS. In this dub, Lampy is made a female, the non-human characters all had electronic-sounding voices and all the songs were blandly spoken, rather than sung. The 2004 DVD dub improves significantly over the original.
    • It was dubbed into Brazilian Portuguese three times; the first was done in 1988 by VTI in Rio de Janeiro. Both re-dubs were commissioned in São Paulo, with the second dub from 1996 by Gota Mágica, and the third dub from 2009 by Studio Gábia. In the 1996 dub, Lampy is a female, along with the Hanging Lamp, the Stereo, and the Hearse. Fátima Noya, who voiced Lampy in the 1996 dub, returned as Chris in the 2009 dub.
    • The movie was also re-dubbed into Japanese in 2000.
    • There were also two Icelandic dubs; once for TV and again for home media.
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    • It also had two Dutch dubs; once in 1995 for VHS and again in 2005 for DVD.
    • The film also received three Russian dubs. The first was a Voiceover Translation and made exclusively for VHS in the Soviet Union, while the second two (from the Russian dubbing companies EA and ORT) are fully dubbed. The 1st was done exclusively for TV in the late 90s, while the 2nd dub was done in 2000. Interestingly, both versions have the Toaster voiced by a male actor, instead of a female actress, while the 1st dub made Lampy a female. The 2nd dub is the most common out of the three and is the only version to be preserved on home media. However, this is considered to be a slightly poor dub: while most of the movie's dubbing job is okay, the songs (with the exception of "City of Light", which remained entirely in English) vary between a mix of dubbing a few lines, using a Voiceover Translation, and leaving some parts in English. However, in the 1st dub (the rarest and hardest to find), the songs are fully dubbed and given accuarate translations.
  • Executive Meddling: The film was supposed to have a proper theatrical release, and was the first animated film ever at Sundance, where it received rave reviews. It was destined to be a box office film for the Summer of 1987 when Disney bought the film, and intended to use it for their newly created Disney Channel. It was buried by the channel, and made it ineligible for Oscar nominations such as Best Original Score or Best Song. It then hobbled around the festival circuit, unable to find a distributor (thanks, Disney!), but it never found an audience til it was released on VHS, uncut and un-Bowdlerised. Lasseter remembers being thoroughly angry at the film's lack of a theatrical release.
    • In a version made for Polish television, the entire forest scene, a crucial one in terms of character development, is edited out of the film; it just cuts straight to the waterfall scene. Apparently the scene was thought to be too scary by Polish executives, and so that left a huge gaping hole in the storyline, and that version's Lampy with no explanation as to how she burned her bulb out. Other scenes edited out from this version of the dub include the Air Conditioner's exploding rage and the appliances catching the "On Sale" sign. For some reason, they also omitted the scene where Lampy tries to think of ways they could try and get out of the house to find the Master.
  • International Coproduction: Between Hyperion in America, Wang Film Productions in Taiwan and Global Communications in Japan.
  • No Budget: This film was made on a budget of $2.3 million, which was modest even for animated films at the time.
  • Non-Singing Voice: Director Jerry Rees performed the Radio's singing voice after Jon Lovtiz had left Los Angeles for New York to do Saturday Night Live during production. Ironic, as Lovitz is an accomplished singer. (Amazingly, if you weren't told it wasn't Rees, you'd have never known it wasn't Lovitz singing.)
  • Playing Against Type: Character actor Thurl "Tony The Tiger" Ravenscroft, who usually did very jokey performances, plays Kirby, the most pessimistic of the main five characters.
  • Production Posse: Several of the main actors (Deana Oliver, Tim Stack, Jim Lovitz and Phil Hartman) were all members of The Groundlings improv theater when they were cast.
  • Reality Subtext: Director Jerry Rees had just done some animation for Brad Bird's pitch reel for his infamously failed Animated Adaptation of Will Eisner's The Spirit when he was offered the director's job, so the aspiration of a more emotionally sophisticated animated film was fresh in his mind.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Deana Oliver, the voice of the titular Toaster, later became a regular writer for Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. She frequently collaborated with Sherri Stoner (aka, Slappy Squirrel) on both of these shows and the two later had a steady career as screenwriting partners, penning the scripts for the big-screen adaptations of Casper and My Favorite Martian.
    • The same goes in the Latin American Spanish dub of the first film, which was one of the earlier voice acting works for Arturo Mercado Jr. (Toaster), René García (Rob) and Víctor Ugarte (Rob's younger self).
    • Ditto for the Japanese dub for both Junko Iwao as Chris and Toshiyuki Morikawa as Chat in the first dubbed version.
  • Revival by Commercialization: A lot of kids learned "Tutti Fruity" from this movie.
  • Screwed by the Network: The reported reason as to why the film never had a proper theatrical release in the United States was because The Disney Channel had bought the cable rights and sought to make it available to their subscribers immediately, which made theaters nervous about booking the film and its intended theatrical distributor subsequently sacked their plans.
  • Technology Marches On: The computers, telephones, etc. that brag about their features now sound horribly dated a decade-and-a-half later. Yet the main characters who are demeaned as 'outdated' would still all be fairly useful today.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Mostly averted; however, several of the Cutting-Edge Appliances featured at Rob's apartment probably wouldn't be considered quite as cutting-edge nowadays in the years since the film's release, though this doesn't necessarily hold true for all of them: The Tandy-style computer and landline phone have experienced rapid declines in usage, for instance, whereas the canister vacuum cleaner and the food processor would continue to enjoy heavy use up to the present. Ironically, the furniture piece CRT TV, which is the only electronic device on the side of Toaster and his friends, would be one of these obsolete appliances, replaced by smaller CRTs with plastic casing (and then flatscreen sets a couple of decades later).
  • What Could Have Been
    • Disney first offered this project to a young John Lasseter as a testing ground for his idea to have a traditionally animated film with computer-generated backgrounds. However, it later turned out that the company, who had no interest in such a thing unless it could be done faster or cheaper, was just keeping him busy until his pitch, after which he was immediately fired. (He got better).
    • Blanky's walk originally had him using the front corners of himself to crawl like a baby on it's hands and knees. The animators decided it was too weird-looking and gave him the shuffle he's now known for.
    • Deana Oliver originally auditioned for the Air Conditioner when the character was female and would have been a Bette Davis impression.
    • At one point, Waterman Entertainment was developing a live-action/CGI remake in the same style as their Stuart Little and Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. Only a handful of concept art was produced before it was shelved due to lack of funding.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: The film began production with an incomplete script and only two years to complete. Jerry Rees was writing the script as it was being recorded, and the animation staff had to regularly create a week's worth of footage in a day.

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