Sunday, July 1, 2007

Susie, The Little Blue Coupe: Inspiration for Pixar's Cars!

As many know, Susie from the 1952 animated short, Susie the Little Blue Coupe is one of my favorite characters and celebrates her 55th anniversary this year.

The story of Susie belongs in the realm of soap opera: from a brand new car in a showroom that draws every eye, to a discard in a second-hand lot and ultimately Skid Row, Susie's story has the highest of highs, and plummets to the lowest of lows... and finally she attains salvation, when rescued and given a new lease on life.

In 2006, Susie was given yet another new lease on life. What many may not know, she was the inspiration for Pixar's 2006 hit Cars. In Cars, Pixar artists were compelled to use their imaginations to make the characters' movements and gestures fit with the design to achieve the fullest range of performance and emotion possible. Crucial was the design of a special eyelid and eyebrow for the windshield to communicate expressiveness that cars don't have.

You can definitely see how she inspired the Pixar artists and it's too bad that she wasn't given a cameo in the film. Hopefully with the popularity of Cars, we'll see some new Susie merchandise!

Susie ("Isn't She a Beauty?") sculpted by Valerie Edwards made her Walt Disney Classics Collection debut in 2001 as part of the Transportation Series (unofficial title) and was honored with retirement in 2004.

Check with authorized Walt Disney Classics Collection dealers for availability.

13 comments:

Timon said...

So given Susie inspired Sally, do you think we'll see some WDCC from Cars?

I wouldn't mind! (And I would like to see Doc Hudson)

Duckman said...

I would definitely like to see something from Cars released. Given all Pixar films are now represented, no reason to diss something from this film.

I personally would like to see Mater!

Babette said...

Mater would be cool. He'd be my first choice too for a WDCC piece.

Tim agree too, would love to have Paul Newman preserved in WDCC porcelein!

Duckman said...

Would be awesome to see releases from Cars sized like Susie (thinking Lightning and Sally) and Susie being the inspiration, see her become a sought after piece by those not familiar with her who may have passed when she was released.

Go Susie! :)

Timon said...

And maybe we would could have a WDCC first, with the pieces having sound bytes in them. Okay, now I'm getting carried away.

But seriously, I know we have to wait for the popularity of a movie/character to be considered for additional merchandising. This movie has a rich cast of characters that would be popular for the WDCC line.

Not to go off topic, but would you happen to know if the voice talent needs to give special permission to have their characters sculpted?

For example, Oliver and Co. has great characters, but still haven't seen any releases from that feature. I'm not sure if there's a "Peggy Lee" thing going on.

Given the popularity of Nascar these days, I thought we'd see something from Cars by now.
(I brought it back to the topic)

Duckman said...

Tim, actually you haven't gotten too carried away, there is one WDCC piece with a sound byte, the Main Street Musical Accessory which was Limited to Production Year 2000.

Not sure if they need any clearance from voice talent. As far as WDCC, never heard that being an issue. I know in the past they had to check with Pixar on releases from those films (hence possibly a reason why we haven't seen anything from Cars yet).

Definitely would like to see something from Cars ... Mater! Mater!.

Domenick said...

Hey Duckman! Can I just firstly say your website is great, you have inspired me to make something similar to the WDCC secondary image gallery but with my pixar giclee collection.

Can I just ask, I saw a poll you ran to get Mr. Ray from Finding Nemo made up, would we actually get any traction from submitting something like this to disney? I mean I am THE biggest pixar fan and I am a 3D artist myself, I would love to see WDCC's for Finding Nemo (Mr. Ray, Maybe even Nigel), Cars (Mater, the Tractors lol, Lightning), Ratatouille and Up.

I wish there was more we could do to get something happening, it has just all stopped since Finding Nemo!

Domenick said...

Sorry, my mistake - The Incredibles was the last not Nemo... It would be great to also see some detailed Wall-E figures, there are so many great characters in that film!

Come on Disney & scupltors! :)

Duckman said...

Hi Domenick,

Welcome to th Blog and Thanks for the kind words!

I too wondered why nothing more since The Incredibles. I personally would love to see something from Cars but wonder if WDCC doesn't want to compete with diecast?

There is a new series coming out, The John Lasseter Signature Series (no firm release date yet) but pictures out there on the web of the 1st release, Lightning McQueen look awesome!

Not a big fan of Ratatouille or Wall-E so haven't given much thought to nothing from those films but would love to see something from Up.

We've campaigned hard here (and at events) for Mr. Ray from Finding Nemo. You just hope the right person at either Disney or Enesco, has an affinity for that character and/or film property, reads our thoughts, comments and/or suggestions and is able to push something along.

Domenick said...

Thanks for the heads-up on Cars Signature Series Duckman! I only found one site on google regarding those - did you have any particular link you could share please?

It's funny WDCC haven't released anything from Wall-E or Ratatouille all the same. The only things that I could find which are remotely similar are:
https://www.gentlegiantltd.com/catalog/search/brand/21

Anyway, hopefully someone will hear our voices and give us a Mr. Ray one day :) I'm only a new collector as of 1 month ago (Thanks to a vacation in Tokyo and a trip to Disneyland where I first saw WDCC items), but I almost have half of the pixar collection as of yesterday :) Some are going to be hard to find like Edna Mode from the Incredibles I think (Aside from some shifty eBay items)!

Your site has been a great resource for collecting these, if I only had one wish it would be that there were higher resolution shots of some older Pixar WDCC's. Additionally, in case you wanted to know there was also one "base" piece missing (Andy's Display Bed) that is not on the site and was used for TS1/2 characters :) They are almost impossible to find, I am trying to get one!

Duckman said...

Hi Domenick,

There hasn't been much more info forthcoming on the series I mentioned but here are a couple links from a reliable website:

Lightning McQueen: http://www.takefiveaday.com/2009/02/25/mattel-disney-pixar-diecast-cars-jl-signature-series-preview-part-ii/

Lightning McQueen: http://www.takefiveaday.com/2009/02/23/mattel-disney-pixar-diecast-cars-the-john-lasseter-signature-series-cars-maybe/

What sculpture(s) got you interested in collecting WDCC? Edna Mode was retired in February, 2008. Here is a direct link to the Authorized Dealer Listing-http://www.wdccduckman.com/wdccdealerlist.htm. Hopefully a dealer in your area (or close by) could still have in stock.

The base you mention for Toy Story was actually a dealer display at the time the first pieces were released, never available to the public. If I remember correctly, it may have been made of cardboard. If so, not sure how many survived over the years.

Domenick said...

Hi Duckman!

Ah, thanks for the links, they were the sites I found earlier but I was hoping there would be more around as the JLSS looks really cool. Do you know roughly what size in cm / inches they would be if they are 1:55? I also noticed there are 1:24 out and about... I also heard something about it no longer being held in a clear acrylic case, but that may have only been for the 1:24 model.

Great question about the WDCC's ;) Well as I mentioned I went to Tokyo (I live in Australia) on vacation as tickets were rather inexpensive at the time. I went to Disneyland and did The Monsters Inc ride, Buzz Lightyear ride etc (anyone would think I'm a kid lol), when we were leaving I noticed there was a fine art gallery. Being a collector of fine art giclee's I thought I would take a look, just as I was about to leave I saw these most beautifully sculpted and lit Monsters Inc figures. I instantly fell in love with them, they were amazing (particularly Sulley and the Door Station with Boo), the detail in the door and Boo just brought back so many memories as it is still probably my fav. pixar movie. Anyway they retail for $145USD (about $175AUD) as yoi know but in Tokyo Disneyland they worked out to be $320AUD!!! So although I was in love I took a big chance and waited till I could search online (at the place I source all my giclees from in Denver USA). I was so lucky they existed outside lol!

Anyway, I did remember seeing finding nemo WDCC's before but never thought much of them at first, being in Australia I never saw any in the flesh so once I saw these I knew I had to start a new collection as they look so great in person :)

I noticed you have a few dealers on that list in AUS (thanks for sending that!) I will have to send them an email, I would say they just source them as requested maybe but I will give it a shot.

On a side note, do you know of any curio's available that aren't wooden, I'm a child of the early 80's and I'm more-so into the glass / steel look :) Perhaps you know of some lighting solutions too?

You are spot on regarding the Andy's Bed Display, it is made from heavy cardboard :) So it sounds like that one may be almost impossible to get since it is limited (and made out of a not so durable medium)!

So what about you Duckman, do you collect them all or only a specific range? What got you started?

Do you have an email address or can I give you mine, I would love to show you what peices I have so far and also my giclee collection :) I'd also love to know what peices you have!

Duckman said...

Hi Domenick,

You can email me at wdccduckman@aol.com