Thinkway Toys in Canada was the original manufacturer of the classic talking Toy Story toys beginning in 1995 when the first Toy Story movie was released. The original Ultimate Talking Buzz Lightyear #62809 and the original Pull-String Talking Woody #62810 and #62943 made by Thinkway were wonderful toys - and they still are. In over fifteen years since the first Toy Story movie was released in theaters, there has always been a Buzz and Woody toy in production. The original versions of the Talking Buzz and Woody by Thinkway remain the truest and most collectible. The latest of these are labeled "Theme Park Exclusive" and the Buzz is available on our Toy Story Toys page. The toys made by Thinkway are the only toys with Tim Allen's voice for Buzz and the original soundtrack voice for Woody, (performed by Tom Hank's brother).
We offer the original toys made by Thinkway as collectibles. They
are amazing replicas of the animated characters they represent, and were made at the same time as the movies. But
they are generally inappropriate for gifts for children, and we would only recommend the Theme Park Exclusive
toys for this purpose and then only for older children. It's usually about ages 8 or 9 when these
things start to matter. These toys are very difficult to find and we think we give you a good deal on them.
If you want the absolute best toys for your children or grandchildren
who are old enough to care about the toy having the right voice, or the toy that looks just like the character, the
original toys from Thinkway are the Toy Story toys to buy.
For younger children, ages 3 to 7, as long as the toy is a close match, they're just as
happy to have one of the more commonly available toys, such as the Toy Story Toys made by Mattel and Hasbro
available from Amazon, The
Disney Store, Wal-Mart, and Target. With the re-release of Toy Story and
Toy Story 2 in 2009, and the release of Toy Story 3 in 2010, the toy manufacturers have started to issue a
new line of toys. Thinkway is again leading the way with a special series of toys called "Toy Story
Collection". These toys say more phrases, do more things, and have much more elaborate packaging than
the original toys ever did. These are made for collectors and as such, they are generally not suitable gifts
for young children, but Thinkway has also made a less expensive series that are also available in the stores
mentioned above. They make great gifts.
Toy Story 2's Jessie The Yodeling Cowgirl was made into another wonderful toy by Thinkway. The model #68068 Jessie is a perfect match for the #68027 Woody. This toy went out of production in 2001, but Thinkway has made at least one more run of them since then. The first Jessie's had real yarn for her hair, but later models had plastic hair. They're both still very hard to find and our supply is limited. Again, this Jessie is the one to get for children who are old enough to want the real voice or the authentic original version.
Not to be overlooked is the Classic Slinky Dog. Slinky Dog was a prominent character in both Toy Story movies. Voiced by the late Jim Varney, he is a popular figure and the toy made by Poof-Slinky, Inc. is a perfect likeness of the movie character. There is no difference between the Classic Slinky Dog sold in toy stores and the Toy Story versions. Only the packaging is different.
As I mentioned above, Mattel also makes Toy Story toys. They didn't make a
Buzz Lightyear or Woody action figure until 1997 when they made the first Christmas Edition of
Buzz Lightyear. They followed that up with a Talking Buzz that came in a spaceship-shaped box,
just like was shown in the original Toy Story movie in 1995. Then in 1998, they made a
Christmas edition of Woody in a fur-trimmed Santa-like costume. Finally, in 1999, when Toy Story
2 was released in theaters, they made a more complete line of Toy Story toys including a talking
Buzz Lightyear, the Singin' Strummin' Woody, the Talk 'n Yodel Jessie, and the unique Wild
Whinnies Bullseye (one of only a handful of Bullseye toys ever made, despite the character's
popularity). Mattel has made a variety of Toy Story toys since that time.
In the early to mid-2000's, Hasbro released a variety of talking Toy Story Toys, like the Galactic Defender Buzz Lightyear. Again, I recommend all of these less expensive toys from Mattel and Hasbro for younger children aged 3 to 7.
When Toy Story 3 was released in 2009, it was accompanied by a new series of toys from a variety of manufacturers. Thinkway led the way with a line of very sophisticated "Collectors Series" that revived an interest in Toy Story toys and collectibles. The Disney Store and the theme parks carried a line of talking Buzz and Woody toys made for kids, including another incarnation of the original Talking Buzz Lightyear.
This page was last updated on July 10, 2014.