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How A Newborn Baby Saved ‘Toy Story 2’ From Being Deleted

by : Emily Brown on : 10 Oct 2021 17:17
How An Newborn Baby Saved 'Toy Story 2' From Complete DeletionPixar

Following on from the success of the beloved Toy Story, the return of Woody, Buzz and the gang in the sequel was highly anticipated, but could have been lost forever if it weren’t for a newborn baby. 

Released in 1999, the computer-animated Pixar film saw everyone’s favourite toy sheriff kidnapped by a toy collector, prompting his dedicated pals to set out on a journey to rescue him.

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Toy Story 2 marked Pixar’s third film following the original Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, which was released in 1998, and it took a crew of about 150 workers across the animation, lighting and modelling departments of Pixar to create.

Woody in Toy Story 2 (Pixar)Pixar

In the months before the release of the film, when the creators had already spent some time creating each colourful scene, Oren Jacob, former Chief Technical Officer of Pixar, was in the office of producer Larry Cutler looking at a directory which contained assets for the character of Woody.

Upon refreshing the directory, the team noticed there were suddenly less and less files due to an erroneous command which had been executed. The movie was gradually being deleted off the company’s servers, leaving the creators with no choice but to call the machine room, where the main server was located, and instruct staff to cut the power.

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When the machine was booted up again a few hours later, the creators found the Toy Story 2 directory was only 10% of the size it should have been, meaning 90% of the film had been deleted, The Next Web reports.

Though Pixar had backups of its data, failure to test the backups meant creators did not realise that every time new data was being written onto the drive, older files were being removed.

Toy Story 2 (Pixar)Pixar

Creators soon realised the files were incomplete, so Supervising Technical Director Galyn Susman offered a solution by announcing that she had a machine containing the whole file tree for the film at her house, where she had been working after having recently given birth.

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Susman and Jacob quickly travelled to her house to fetch the machine before carefully driving it back to the office wrapped in blankets. With all the work that had gone into the film stored on the device, the car was transformed into a $100 million machine.

The files on Susman’s machine were a couple of weeks old, but the creators managed to use them to rebuild the project as best they could. Though several thousand files were lost forever, it was enough to create at least one version Toy Story 2 – even though much of the film later ended up getting remade anyway following an updated pitch.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University and went on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming Senior Journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news, trending stories and longer form features.

Topics: Film and TV, Animation, Pixar

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The Next Web
  1. The Next Web

    How Pixar’s Toy Story 2 was deleted twice, once by technology and again for its own good