"Luxo Jr." Will Forever Haunt My Dreams / by Matt Merlino

I hear 6 hops and those squeaky, bouncing sounds and immediately know exactly what I am dealing with. I could have my eyes closed and recognize the Pixar intro sounds from a mile away (even though my mom would absolutely disagree that my hearing DOES NOT range nearly that far), and my ears would instantly perk up like a dog. 

Pixar has held a special place in my heart for, well, forever - and that's not an understatement! I am currently 23 years old, and Pixar released its first movie, Toy Story, in 1995, which I absolutely loved as a child - so I'll let you add up all of the math there to see where I was going with that. The characters and movies have always been so stunning, beautiful and just so much fun to watch. I grew up with Woody, Buzz, Sulley, Mike, Nemo and The Incredibles. 

So when I accidentally stumbled upon a Pixar Trivia Night while scrolling through the Podcast’s Instagram feed, I was intrigued. I thought to myself that it would be awesome if there was something like this in Pittsburgh. Little did I realize at that moment that this event WAS in Pittsburgh! The very next night.

I had to go. I texted my girlfriend, Tori - pitching the idea nonchalantly, not to seem super excited about it, you know, just throwing it out there as something that might be fun and different. But she knew damn-well that I was already dead set on going.

Once we decided that we were going to go (her decision not mine), I then texted Kara (who you will be hearing on the Podcast very soon), one of our friends who just finished up her term with the Disney College Program, to see if her and her boyfriend, Alex, wanted to join our team as well. Naturally, they were all for it. 

So the four of us headed down to the Hard Rock Cafe the next night to take on the other Pixar fans in a game of trivia.

Now if you know me, it’s very clear that my knowledge when it comes to Disney and Pixar is pretty vast... Like, knowledge to the point that some would, and have, deemed “stupid.” So going into the game I thought there was no chance in hell that we would finish anywhere but *near* the top, to stay somewhat modest I suppose.

I will also let it be known that I donned a Toy Story Pizza Planet t-shirt for the event. Not that this has any pertinence to the story whatsoever, but I want you all to know how seriously I was taking this game. I was in it to win it.

On the way downtown, we decided to quiz ourselves a little before the actual trivia event. It was essentially our practice round. None of us had ever competed in a real trivia contest with prizes or anything like that before, so we were all a little nervous and wanted to prove that this wasn't an idiotic idea.

So Kara started firing questions at us left and right. I was answering the *harder* ones with ease. 

Then came a question that finally tripped me up: "What was the first animated short Pixar produced?" Immediately I said "Luxo, Jr." (You know, the one with the ball and the lamp - both Pixar icons).

Wrong.

The first Pixar short was actually The Adventures of André & Wally B while Pixar was still a division of Lucasfilm in 1984. This was the first time John Lasseter worked on a 3D animated film.

Interesting. I did known that Pixar was formerly a division of Lucasfilm, though this short had totally slipped my mind.

When we got to the Hard Rock, it was more crowded than I was expecting. There were thirteen teams specifically there to play Pixar trivia. How awesome is that?

We were given 8 sheets of paper where we would submit the answers to for game, and then we had to pick a team name. Hmm. "The Incredibles?" Too cliché. "How about The Good Dinosaurs?" That was it, and we were deemed "the most underrated team in the room." Though I beg to differ on two accounts there.

The game was set up as such:
-Round 1 (Places) - 4 Multiple Choice Questions / 1 Bonus Fill-in the Blank Question
-Round 2 (Names) - 4 Multiple Choice Questions / 1 Bonus Fill-in the Blank Question
-Round 3 (Random) - 4 Multiple Choice Questions / 1 Bonus Fill-in the Blank Question
-Round 4 (Things) - 4 Fill-in the Blank Questions / Final Fill-In the Blank All-or-Nothing Question

With the first three fill-in the blank questions, you would lose all of your points from that round only, but if you answered correctly your score for the round doubled. For the final fill-in the blank, you had the choice to answer. If you got the answer correct your total score for all four rounds would be doubled, but if you answered incorrectly, you would lose all of your points.

Our team breezed through the first round of questions, answering every single one correctly. We were in a 5-way tie for first place.

The second round was much of the same. No wrong answers. 3-Way tie for first place.

Round three came around and we were finally at an impasse with a question. Of course, it's about A Bug's Life!  Thankfully Tori and Alex took the lead on that one and got the answer correct! Still no wrong answers headed to the final bonus before all fill-in the blanks. And then came the highlight of the night with the Round 3 bonus question.

Finish this Cars quote: "Float like a Cadillac, sting like a..." 

"BEAVER!" yelled Kara.

Yes, folks, that is not a joke. For 12 years Kara thought that quote legitimately used the word beaver. For. Twelve. Years. (And Lightning McQueen is her favorite character!)

"Ha! You mean Beamer... Like the car...? Because it's totally Beamer." I said.

She was in disbelief. We all could not contain ourselves. We were howling! It may have just been one of those "you had to be there moments," but that is going to be something I laugh at every single time I watch Cars for the rest of my life. (And for those who are unaware, the correct answer is, in fact, Beamer).

So there we were in the final round, still with no wrong answers and only fill-in the blank questions to go. We were in sole possession of first place at this point. We had the other teams right where we wanted them. 

The final round of questions began to flow in.

Question one; Correct. Question 2; Correct. Question 3; Correct. Question 4; Correct!

The Good Dinosaurs answered EVERY SINGLE QUESTION correctly throughout the entire game. No team was even remotely close to us in points leading up to the final double or nothing question. I swear some people were even giving us dirty looks. It was awesome.

And then came the final question: "What was the first animated short produced by Pixar?"

We had just gone over this in the car on the way there!

...But none of us could remember the name of that stupid short! (The Adventures of André & Wally B will now be forever etched into my brain's stupid knowledge bank. We played it safe and didn't answer, hoping that the other teams who chose to answer would not answer correctly.

The Host came over the loudspeaker. "And the correct answer is," he said as he switched to the next slide on the large projector in the front of the restaurant, "Luxo, Jr.!"

Wait, what!?!

I did a double take. Then another. Then another. That was not the correct answer. I knew Luxo, Jr., and that was my answer in the car, but even after going back and looking at the official Pixar Animation Studios website to triple check myself; there The Adventure of André & Wally B was, first on the chronological list of Pixar animated shorts.

We answered every single question correctly (and would have answered that one *correctly* as well), but we chose to be safe to keep our points.

 Photo Credit: Totally Terrific Tuesdays (Facebook)

Photo Credit: Totally Terrific Tuesdays (Facebook)

We won second place, though that will forever be considerably less cool than saying that we won first place. But not to discredit anyone or anything, because all of us had an absolute blast playing. And we got to walk away with arguably the coolest prize lot out of all the winners! 

Second place was awarded four prizes: An Incredibles Comic Book, a Mr. Potato Head toy, a Monsters, Inc. Boo POP! Vinyl, and a Monsters, Inc. Sulley POP! Vinyl.

 Tori bit the bullet and let me have Sulley, so for that "I am eternally grateful."

Tori bit the bullet and let me have Sulley, so for that "I am eternally grateful."

The host then pulled up a tiebreak question on the large screen just for fun: "With the release of Incredibles 2 this summer, how many movies will have been created by Pixar?"

I shouted 20 almost halfheartedly, just as he finished reading the question. No other person who yelled out an answer was even in that ballpark.

The correct answer: 20 movies.

One woman at the table next to us, who had been participating with her family all night, looked at our table and said "Wow! He's so smart!"

Sure, you're probably thinking this is only going to hike up my ego, but really it isn't. Though, I can't say I wasn't beaming ear to ear after hearing that.

I know that I am very knowledgeable when it comes to Disney and Pixar, but I absolutely love sharing my knowledge with others. So, so much. If you take anything from this story or any of our Podcast episodes, I hope you walk away with the feeling that you learned something, and that you were entertained.

For never competing in any kind of trivia night, this absolutely exceeded every expectation I had going into the night (well, except for the expectation of taking home first place). It was so much fun, but I was also able to share my Disney knowledge without seeming like too much of a prude or nerd for once, which truly is an amazing feeling.

The next time there is any kind of Disney trivia event in Pittsburgh, you better believe I will be there in a heartbeat, ready to claim the first place prizes.

I hope you enjoyed reading the Love of the Mouse Podcast! Until you read us again, thank you, and goodnight.
-Matt