Knick Knack commentary with Director John Lasseter and Technical director Eben Ostby. Version 2 from 2003.


  • JOHN LASSETER: Hi, I'm John Lasseter, writer, director, and animator of Knick Knack.
  • EBEN OSTBY: I'm Eben Ostby. I was the technical director on Knick Knack.
  • LASSETER: Knick Knack was made in 1989. Now Pixar back then, there were only eight people at the company doing animation. We had just finished Tin Toy, which was the biggest production we had ever done.
  • OSTBY: The... This was a really collaborative show. Of the half dozen or so people who were working on it, everybody was able to design and build their own character. And they also animated it. If you notice, all the other knick knacks were from sunny locations, like sunny Florida, sunny Jamaica, sunny Israel, sunny Palm Springs. That's a palm tree on a spring.
  • LASSETER: The inspiration for the idea came from my wife Nancy. She had this collection of snow domes, and everywhere we went we had to buy a snow dome for her collection. So it was something I was very familiar with. And... I always loved them, because it's like this little world inside there. And, and we always thought about, you know, what would it be like to be stuck inside there. And you couldn't get out of it. And that's where, kind of, the idea came from. And it's also great to have a cartoon character who's constantly frustrated. Kind of like in Chuck Jones' cartoons with like the Road Runner. You know, the coyote trying to get the Road Runner. So that's what we wanted, the notion of this little guy who is trying to get out of this snowy world to be with all the warm weather knick knacks.
  • OSTBY: Each of the scenes in this film was named after a little gag that was in it.
  • LASSETER: That's right.
  • OSTBY: It's really made up of a whole bunch of gags that are...
  • LASSETER: That's right.
  • OSTBY: ...stitched together.
  • LASSETER: Boy, long time ago, we, we had so few shots that we could actually name them instead of number them. The computer could keep track of them. Gary Rydstrom of Skywalker Sound did the sound design. He's amazing. We, we had worked with him on all of our short films. And I'll never forget the one sound effect that just made me laugh the first time I heard it is Nick, as we called him, the little snowman does the welding thing, then flies offstage. There's this long pause and then there's this huge crash, it goes... And it's much later than you would expect. And it just caught me off guard and was so funny. And then, the incredible sound is when he finally does explode, expecting the whole snow dome is gonna come apart, but instead, it just makes it this violent swirl. And you cut inside, and it's going all around you.
  • (chorus vocalizing)
  • LASSETER: In creating the story of this, I had started storyboarding this out and doing the drawings for it. We, we were such a small group. I remember Eben and I shared an office at the time. So we bring everybody into the office, you know, and when we were having like little story meetings.
  • OSTBY: Oh, yeah, I remember that. It was a lot of fun because everyone was there, everyone came. Everyone could work on the story and pitch ideas. I remember Deirdre Warin, our secretary at the time came to those meetings.
  • LASSETER: And she's the one that came up with the ending of having it when he lands in the fish tank. He'll look over and actually see a little mermaid.
  • OSTBY: We all laughed and we knew we had our ending.
  • (chorus vocalizing)
  • LASSETER: As we were making Knick Knack, Bobby McFerrin had the big hit Don't Worry, Be Happy. So, one of the funny things is at the very end, we did not have place holders for the end credits. And so we had just typed out "blah, blah, blah." So when the blahs came up, he started singing "blah." And it was so funny to us. That's why we left it in there. And a lot of people don't realize that is Bobby McFerrin saying the "blahs."
  • Bobby McFerrin: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
  • (chorus vocalizing)
  • Bobby McFerrin: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
  • OSTBY: After 14 years, it's still a fun film.
  • Bobby McFerrin: ...blah, blah-blah-blah.
  • (chorus vocalizing) 

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