As the world mourns the loss of an amazing and brilliant man, I would like to say thank you to Steve Jobs for something other than Apple computers or anything with an "i" in front of it. While all of that technology is something to marvel at, my thank you to Steve is a little different. Steve Jobs was a technology pioneer in so many ways, but his connection to Pixar is by far the thing I am the most grateful for.
I recently had the opportunity to watch the film, The Pixar Story, and it was there that I first really learned about Steve Jobs connection to Pixar and how he was able to assist the struggling company in finding its footing and becoming the success it is today. John Lasseter, head of Disney and Pixar animation, had this to say upon hearing of Steve's death: “He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply ‘make it great.’”
And make it great they did. You see, in my house, my son has grown up on Pixar films. Pixar was really his introduction to all things Disney. I can't imagine our lives without Buzz & Woody, Mike & Sully, Flik & Hopper, The Incredibles, Lightning McQueen & Mater, and so many other characters.
Payton's first "Disney/Pixar" movie was Toy Story, and he was hooked! At two, he could quote the movie, and would run around shouting, "Too infinity, and BEYOND!" (although it was a little hard to understand him!). On his first trip to Disney, his first purchase was a soft Buzz Lightyear doll. He dressed as Buzz for Halloween, and sometimes just for fun. Not only that, he ended up with an entirely Buzz Lightyear themed bedroom! I will never forget searching frantically on ebay for all those crazy Toy Story McDonald's Happy Meal toys for Christmas one year.
His first trip to the movie theater was to watch The Incredibles (which he loved, naturally). We heard about nothing else for weeks, and once it came out on DVD, we watched it so much, we could quote lines!
Our family has enjoyed so many happy memories together of watching Pixar films in the theater and at home, and meeting those characters in the Disney parks. So thank you Steve for being a part of our family through Pixar, and for helping to introduce my son to, what I hope will be, a life-long love of all things Disney that he and I can share as he grows up.