A Tin Toy Christmas (lost production material of cancelled Pixar Christmas special; early 1990s)
A Tin Toy Christmas was a cancelled Christmas special that was being made by Pixar. The film was supposed to be proof that Pixar was capable of making a feature length film. However, it was cancelled after Pixar was given the opportunity to actually make one. The unmade special would have featured Tinny the tin toy from Pixar's Academy award winning short film, Tin Toy.
Even though the film never came to fruition, a plot was written:
Tinny was part of a Christmas Tin Toy toy line sold in the '40s, but due to poor sales, he and his friends are put away in storage and Tinny falls into a long sleep. After many years of slumber, Tinny wakes up in a modern day mega store during the Christmas season. He sees that his friends are nowhere to be found, so he decides to look for them on Christmas Eve. On his adventure, he meets a rather sarcastic ventriloquist dummy who's looking for an owner.
During the early '90s, Pixar was on the verge of bankruptcy due to them making short films on their Pixar Image computers rather than making sales with them. They decided to drop the software selling business entirely and go on to just being an animation company, which went better financially. During that time, they went to make television commercials and would expand on that by creating a half-hour special (A Tin Toy Christmas), and following the completion of that project, would start on a feature length film (which would soon become Toy Story).
During early production of A Tin Toy Christmas, former Walt Disney Studios president Peter Schneider tried to hire Pixar animator John Lasseter in an effort to bring him back to Disney, but Lasseter decided to stay with Pixar to help get it out of its financial struggle. Schnieder then called Pixar vice president Ed Catmull, and said that he would like for him and Pixar to make a feature length film. At first, Catmull said that they should do the special first, but Schnieder said that if they could do a half-hour special, then they could do a 90 minute film. As a result, A Tin Toy Christmas was cancelled and Pixar's work effort shifted to Toy Story.
The idea of a diminutive toy going on an adventure along with a ventriloquist dummy also served as the original plot of Toy Story's first drafts, characters that would become Buzz Lightyear and Woody.