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Toy Story Earns Pixar's Lasseter Spot in Hall of Fame

lasseter-and-legoWhile your kids are salivating over the impending release of the third Toy Story into theaters this June, chew on this one parents: the Toy Story franchise is responsible for $8 billion in global merchandise sales.

That’s not movie tickets or DVDs. That’s your kid’s Woody doll and their Slinky Dog.

So is it any wonder the Toy Industry Association (TIA) went straight to Pixar for their pick for the 2010 Toy Industry Hall of Fame Induction?

The TIA inducted John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios this past weekend, just as they were set to kick off toy central – aka Toy Fair – in New York City. Lasseter follows in the footsteps of Walt Disney himself, who was inducted in 1987.

Lasseter himself has a fascination with toys. Relating his path through the Toy Story franchise to a crowd at New York City’s Gotham Hall on Sunday, Lasseter recalled his sister videotaping her little boy as he played with his toys. A home movie that would inspire first Pixar’s award winning short Tin Toy and later Toy Story itself, Lasseter recalled being interested not just in his nephew but in the plight of the toys themselves. After all, the little boy automatically picked them up and placed them in his mouth.

“This cute little baby to us is like a monster [to the toy],” Lasseter said.

Toys have come alive – quite literally – in Toy Story, and the lack of a sequel for the past eleven years (Toy Story 2 was released in 1999) hasn’t stopped kids from begging for their Buzz action figures and Mr. Potato Head.

Which seems to prove Toy Story – at least so far – has gotten it right. Toys, as Lasseter said Sunday, “manufactured and put on the shelf to be played with by a child, to make a child happy.” They don’t just want to watch a movie about toys – they want to play with them.

And they’ll get to play with Toy Story themed LEGOs, Operation board games, the first Toy Story plush (a strawberry-scented bear named Lots-O-Huggin’ Bear) and a host of other new toys come May 1. LEGO even created Lasseter’s head in bricks to celebrate their new role in the film.

Has Toy Story made your kids happy?

Whet their whistle with a look at the Toy Story 3 trailer:

Image: Sager Scenes

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