Saturday, June 9, 2012

This Day in Pixar History: Cars Theatrical Release

On this day in 2006, Pixar released Cars to theaters. Cars opened to over $60 million and ended up bringing in approximately $462 million worldwide. The film was directed by John Lasseter and co-directing credit was given to the amazing story artist Joe Ranft, who sadly passed away during the production of the film.

Cars was released with the short film One Man Band. One Man Band was directed by Andrew Jimenez and Brave director Mark Andrews, and included music by Michael Giacchino.

While Cars may not have been one of Pixar's most profitable films, it has definitely been the largest generator of Pixar merchandise. It is also the inspiration for Cars Land, a new and major expansion of Disney's California Adventure park that is opening on June 15, plus a wing of the Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World, opening on June 18.

Cars is one of my favorite Pixar films. I fell in love with the nostalgia of Route 66, and the film inspired me to take a road trip with my son along Route 66 later in the summer of 2006. We caught The Mother Road in Illinois, drove through Missouri and Kansas, and ended our trip at the Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK. It was a great trip - we drove along some wonderful portions of Route 66 such as single-lane cement and red brick segments. We also saw locations visited by Pixar research trips and met a number of friendly people. In particular I remember the owners of the Pig Hip Museum, the Ariston Cafe, both in Illinois, and the Eisler Bros. Store in Kansas. Sadly, as I was doing research for this post, I discovered the Pig Hip Museum was destroyed by fire less than a year after we visited it, and its long time owner and founder Ernie Edwards passed away this past April. It saddens me to see such a slice of American history disappearing forever.

Below are a few photos I took during our trip. I truly feel as Lightning McQueen did, when he said, "...they're driving right by, they don't know what they're missing." In fact, maybe I will watch Cars tonight!

Ready to head out for our week-long trip!

The Pig Hip Museum, Broadwell, IL. Sadly, it was lost in a fire in 2007

1920s segment of red brick road near Springfield, IL.

Ariston Cafe, Litchfield, IL

There were often multiple segments of the Mother Road
as it was reroute over the years


I believe the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, MO,
was the inspiration for the Wheel Well Motel.

Eisler Bros. Store, Riverton, KS.

There were so many great bridges along the route.

Single-lane segment, Oklahoma.

The end of our trip, Catoosa, OK.


  1. Hi Jeff!

    Congratulations for your blog! It's G-R-E-A-T-!-!. I really appreciate your effort working on it because it helps me abstracting myself from the day by day routine.

    Best regards and cheers from the opposite of the world... you know, your second or third home is here!

  2. Thanks for the kind words Santi! I enjoy doing the blog, and it's good for me as I'm not the best writer and so it makes me work! :)

    Hopefully some day I will be able to get to Spain and Andorra! It would be great to visit you there.

  3. Hey Jeff,

    What a great post and how cool for you to share your experience of Route 66 with us! Remember to watch Cars next Saturday on ABC Family as well so you can catch the Time Travel Mater short!

  4. Thanks, glad you liked it! We really had a great time. Hopefully I'll do the entire route sometime.

    I definitely want to catch Time Travel Mater, those shorts are so funny. But I'll be in Emeryville next Saturday! We're going out to San Francisco for a week to celebrate our 25th anniversary, spending the first night in Emeryville - hotels in San Fran were packed due to WWDC. So don't think I'll have much time for TV! :)