Jessie Never Gives Up, Jessie Finds A Way


Hello & welcome to the Halloween celebration here on A Look at Disney. And today, we join the Toy Story gang at a hotel to help them escape their fate of being sold off and getting them back to Bonnie. Join me as I take a look at the first TV special that Pixar produced and the first of two Toy Story specials produced, as we look at the Halloween special, Toy Story of Terror.

The Plot

We open with the toys in the trunk of Mrs. Anderson’s car as Bonnie and her mom are a road trip watching a vampire movie, where a girl named Betsy is being chased by a vampire. With all of the toys talking to the TV about the various ways that Betsy should protect herself and we learn here that Mr. Pricklepants (I love that name) is a horror movie expert. Jessie says the toys are being silly and that is until she faces her biggest fear. Being trapped as the car hits a bump and puts her in a toolbox and the other toys have to save Jessie. And leaves the car with a flat. So, Bonnie’s mom finds a hotel, Sleep Well and spend the night there. What happened to Jessie is important as she is our central character and she has to face her fear in this special.

Potato Head explains to Bonnie’s toys that Jessie being in the toolbox is a too painful reminder of all the years she spent abandoned in a box, which to being afraid of being alone in dark spaces and being alone. They meet Ron The Manager (He’s the villain) and gives Bonnie’s mom, a key to room # 7 and we get one of many references in this special. This special is jam packed with Easter Eggs as the graveyard has a tombstone of a Incredibles character on it. This is a reference to The Shining in the shape of the keys.

Bonnie and her mother are now asleep and with this Potato Head decides to go to explore the hotel for the amenities and Woody warns him not to as a hotel is the easiest place for toys to get lost. Trixie, Pricklepants, Red get out. Buzz and Woody go after them, with Buzz telling Jessie to stay in the bag that the toys have gotten out of. Leaving her by herself. Okay, we need to establish something here. You know that Jessie has claustrophobia and doesn’t like being left alone by herself. So, why would you leave her by herself, after you just had to get out of a toolbox, where she felt trapped. Buzz assures Jessie that she is safe as we see a shadow of a strange creature that is collecting the toys for Ron.

Buzz assures Jessie that Potato Head is safe until they discover some strange slime that Pricklepants claims to be slime from the creature that Potato Head had stepped in after Jessie decides to catch up with the toys. Personally, I think it was hotel shampoo.

And now we have our next victim as Trixie is taken by the creature, still unseen. Pricklepant says that the vent would be the story’s threshold (He believes this to be a horror movie). And we then see the remaining toys enter the vent.

It is here where Pricklepants states that the creature would pick them off one by one, only to be taken after this and then Rex. They then find one of Potato Head’s arm and Buzz and Woody start to argue about which way, the arm is pointing. They find themselves in a bathroom. The fighting does them no good as the during their arguing, it grabs them both and takes them away.

Jessie is then grabbed by another toy hiding under the sink, Combat Carl, who has seen terrible things and lost one of his hands to the creature. And there we learn that the creature is Ron’s pet iguana, Mr. Jones. We learn from Carl that he was taken from his owner, Billy and hopes to reunite with him one day.

Jones then takes Jessie to his owner, Ron and there we learn that he is stealing the toys of the children that stay at his hotel to sell them online. And we see that someone has made a bid for Woody for on ebid and according to the Pixar Wiki, it’s Al from Toy Story 2. Al was even supposed to have a cameo but due to time constraints, it was cut. Jessie is then placed in a cabinet with the rest of the toys that have been taken that include a Pez Cat, a Lego Bunny, a superhero toy, and a clock toy.

Oh, and we get our traditional Pizza Planet truck cameo here as well on Ron’s calendar. This actually the second time that Pizza Planet appears in the special as the license plate frame on Mrs. Anderson’s car has the Pizza Planet logo on it.

We then see that Jessie is up next and Ron takes her out of the cabinet.

She doesn’t know what to do, Combat Carl tells her in order to save Woody, who has been taken by a delivery person, she needs to get in a box and to remember her training. Jessie replies that doesn’t have any training, which is when Combat Carl utters his catchphrase, “Combat Carl finds a way, Combat Carl never gives up” and he tells Jessie to repeat it. Which she does, until he tells her, you’re not Combat Carl. Jessie then finds her a way into a box that she opens with a paper clip freeing a robot toy that looked like it was inspired by Voltron. She places the box on top of another, so that the delivery person won’t notice and oh, here we learn that the hotel accepts Buy ‘N’ Large credit cards.

Jessie frees Woody and the two head back to the cabinet to free the other toys but they stop as soon as they hear Bonnie come along with her mother. And as Bonnie pulls the curtain down between the registration desk and the toys were being held. At this, Mrs. Anderson wants to know what her daughter’s toys are doing in that cabinet and leaves without paying. We see the toys back in Bonnie’s bag and Pricklepants points that if this were a horror movie, this is where the credits would roll and that just happens. And during the credits we see two cops come to take Ron away, who escapes because one of the cops left the keys in the car and crashes the Sleep Well Sign.

I love this special and it fits in the Toy Story continuity quite well. I love stuff like this and the Toy Story Toons as I like seeing what toys are up to since being with Bonnie. I like how this ties into Toy Story 2 and I like how this builds upon what we learned of Jessie in the second Toy Story sequel and she learns to overcome her fear.


Main Character

Jessie voiced by Joan Cusack

This special was Jessie’s story through and through and how she had to overcome her fear and I have to say it was nice to see that because as I said it built upon, what we learned in Toy Story 2 and now Jessie in order to save her fellow toys had to face her fear with the aid of Combat Carl. And while she was scared, she came through in spades and saved the toys.

Supporting Characters

Combat Carl voiced by Carl Weathers

Anybody that remembers the first Toy Story remembers that one of the toys that Sid blew up was a Combat Carl.

Well here, we finally get to see Carl as a a character alongside his counterpart, Combat Carl Jr.

Carl was based in part on Carl Weathers’ character from Predator and from what I’ve heard this is a rather accurate depiction but also some speculate that Carl was based on his character from Happy Gilmore, mainly about losing his hand to a ferocious creature. Either way, this character was a lot of fun and served well in the mentor role for Jessie.

Buzz & Woody voiced by Tim Allen & Tom Hanks

I’m grouping Buzz & Woody together because they seemed to serve the same role as leader and protector of the toys. Though, they could’ve done a better job but you can see that they care and were worried when their friends disappeared.

Mr. Pricklepants voiced by Timothy Dalton

Pricklepants had to be the funniest character in this special with how he was pointing out the tropes of a horror movie and actually believed that he was in one.

Rex, Mr. Potato Head, & Trixie voiced by Wallace Shawn, Don Rickles, & Kristin Schall

Again, I’m grouping these characters for the same reason as they served the same purpose of being captured by the creature, only for Jessie to find.

Bonnie voiced by Emily Hahn

This short continues to show why Bonnie was the right choice to be the new owner of Andy’s toys and I loved her reaction, when she found her toys and her mom was just pissed that someone would take her daughter’s toys. In many respects, her losing her toys kinda reminded me of when Andy thought he lost Woody in the first movie but this is on a smaller scale, even if it was more toys. I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing more with Bonnie.


Mr. Jones voiced by Dee Bradley Baker

Y’know, while it may seem silly to us that the toys are scared of an iguana. It does make sense in the long run because he has swallowed some of their parts and he is bigger than most of the toys I’ve seen some people compare Jones to Joanna from The Rescuers Down Under but I’m not so sure that I’d go that far.

Ron The Manager voiced by Stephen Toblowsky

In many respects, Ron reminds me of Al from Toy Story 2 in how he stole the toys to make a quick buck off of them but whereas Al was an avid collector, I don’t think that Ron really cared about the toys’ condition and just stole them in the hopes of selling them to make a quick buck. Now I know that some may argue that this character seems like a downgrade after Lots-O’ Huggin’ Bear but with the third and final film taking their villain to the most extreme, the trilogy had ever gone, I don’t mind a simpler villain in their first TV outing.

My Final Thoughts

All in all, this is another great Halloween special and even though, it’s only a year old, it’s slowly climbing the ladder as something that I consider required viewing for Halloween. If you are a Toy Story fan, and you have not seen this, you owe it to yourself and you will not be disappointed. And the same looks to be true of this year’s Christmas special, Toy Story That Time Forgot.

I love picking up on all Easter Eggs and the plot is a lot of fun and it does something that a lot of good Disney Halloween specials do, a character has to face their fear but I think this does it the best because we already knew what Jessie’s fear was from the second movie, so we have that knowledge and to finally see her overcome it, just feels so rewarding for not only Jessie but for the audience that has followed her since Toy Story 2. Join me tomorrow as we go visit Donald Duck and things get a bit weird as he experiences getting…

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