Luxo Jr. (character)

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Luxo Jr. is a desk lamp character used as the primary mascot of Pixar Animation Studios. He is the protagonist of the short film of the same name and usually appears on the production logo of every Pixar film where he hops on screen and bounces on the letter I. John Lasseter created Luxo Jr., modeling the character after his own Luxo brand lamp.[1] The manufacturer of Luxo lamps sued Disney, the parent company of Pixar, for selling Luxo Jr. branded merchandise in 2009.[2]

Creation[edit]

John Lasseter used a Luxo lamp on his drawing table as a graphic rendering model.[1] Lasseter experimented with the model, using it for motion studies.[3] He demonstrated the animated Luxo model at an animation festival in Brussels. Lasseter did not plan on creating a story for the lamp, but the Belgian animator Raoul Servais urged him to write a plot. Servais said that "No matter how short it is, it should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Don't forget the story." Servais persuaded Lasseter that the length of the animation would not impede the story, telling him "You can tell a story in ten seconds." [1]

The inspiration for the Luxo Jr. character came from Lasseter's interactions with Spencer, the young son of Tom Porter, a Pixar team member. Lasseter wondered if the body proportions of a child could be applied to a lamp.[1] Lasseter said that "Spencer was about one and a half, and seeing him hold his arms up over his head made me laugh, because he couldn't really touch the top of his head yet. After he left, I started thinking, what would a baby lamp look like?"[3] He changed the proportions of the lamp model to make it more infant-like, giving a large head and a small body. Lasseter did not modify the size of the light bulb. He imagined that the store-bought bulb was separate from the "body" of the lamp and did not age.[1]

Films[edit]

Luxo Jr.[edit]

Lasseter followed Servais' advice and conceived the plot for a short film starring Luxo Jr. as the protagonist. The story would have two characters, Luxo Jr. and a bigger lamp named Luxo Sr.[4] Luxo Jr. plays with a small ball, but jumping on it causes it to deflate. Saddened by the loss of the toy, Luxo Jr. hops off screen. Luxo Jr. finds a beach ball and reappears chasing after it, while the parent lamp shakes its head.[1]

The film demonstrated advances in the technology of self-shadowing.[1] Lasseter said that "The animation of a lamp whose head is a light-source, moving around and self-shadowing the world around him, was a perfect matching of technology and subject matter."[4] Luxo Jr. made its debut at the 1986 SIGGRAPH show in Dallas. The film received critical acclaim for its photorealistic style and emotional impact.[5]

Sesame Street shorts[edit]

Luxo Jr. also appeared in four educational short films created by Pixar specially for Sesame Street in 1991: Light & Heavy, Surprise, Up and Down and Front and Back.

  • Light & Heavy: Luxo Jr. demonstrates both light and heavy by using a beach ball to demonstrate light and later a bowling ball to demonstrate heavy.
  • Surprise: Luxo Sr. examines a box in which Luxo Jr. pops out, demonstrating surprise.
  • Up and Down: Luxo Jr. demonstrates up and down by jumping on and off of a cardboard box until he falls through.
  • Front and Back: Luxo, Jr. demonstrates front and back by showing his front and back until he gets exhausted and falls over.

Toy Story series[edit]

In the Toy Story franchise, a red Luxo lamp appears on Andy's desk.[6]

Animatronic[edit]

A 6-ft. high animatronic figure modeled after Luxo Jr. stood near the Toy Story Midway Mania attraction at the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.[7] The animatronic often danced to music on a ledge near the entrance. In 2010 Disney removed the animatronic without offering an official explanation, but the Luxo ASA lawsuit may have been a factor.[8]

At Disney California Adventure, there is an animatronic of Luxo Jr. on top of the Pixar Pier marquee.[9]

Lawsuit[edit]

Luxo ASA, the Norwegian company that manufactures Luxo lamps, sued Pixar and its parent company Disney in 2009 by claiming that Disney violated its trademarks by selling promotional lamps branded as the Luxo Jr. character.[10] Disney had planned on bundling the Luxo Jr. lamp with the collector's edition of the Up Blu-ray release.[11] Luxo ASA claimed that the Luxo Jr. merchandise would "cause devastating damage to Luxo and dilute the goodwill which Luxo has built up." Disney settled with Luxo ASA and agreed not to sell Luxo Jr. lamps while Luxo ASA did not object to "artistic renditions" of the lamp and allowed Pixar to keep using Luxo Jr. as a character.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Price, David (2009). The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company. Random House. p. 90. ISBN 9780307278296.
  2. ^ Larson, Erik (September 4, 2009). "Pixar's Animated Desk Lamp Triggers Lampmaker Lawsuit". Bloomberg L.P.
  3. ^ a b Paik, Karen (2007). To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios. Chronicle Books. p. 58. ISBN 9780811850124.
  4. ^ a b Paik, Karen (2007). To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios. Chronicle Books. p. 59. ISBN 9780811850124.
  5. ^ Price, David (2009). The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company. Random House. p. 92. ISBN 9780307278296.
  6. ^ Lesnick, Silas (November 1, 2010). "Your Toy Story 3 Easter Egg Guide". Coming Soon.
  7. ^ Larson, Erik (September 4, 2009). "Pixar's Animated Desk Lamp Triggers Lampmaker Lawsuit". Bloomberg L.P.
  8. ^ Hochberg, Matt (May 12, 2010). "Luxo Jr's Obituary". Studios Central.
  9. ^ Niles, Robert (October 31, 2018). "Disneyland finally installs Luxo Jr at Pixar Pier". themeparkinsider.com. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  10. ^ Larson, Erik (September 4, 2009). "Pixar's Animated Desk Lamp Triggers Lampmaker Lawsuit". Bloomberg L.P.
  11. ^ Connelly, Brendon (September 6, 2009). "The Creators of The Luxo Lamp Are Suing Pixar". Slash film.
  12. ^ Gardner, Eriq (November 4, 2009). "Disney settles Pixar 'Luxo, Jr.' lamp case". Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 8, 2014.