The first CARS movie by Pixar came out in May of 2006 and was to become the final film independently produced by Pixar after its purchase by Disney in January 2006. Obviously the movie was ‘in the can’ before the acquisition was finalized. While all the paperwork was being signed, this Dinoco Helicopter with Mater as a passenger was released.
The King was the main competitor of Lightning McQueen and he held the coveted Dinoco sponsorship until his near-fatal crash at the end of a the big race (see the movie). The sponsorship was subsequently offered to McQueen, even though he didn’t win the race, but he turned it down to sell bumper ointment. Good deal!
But he did call in a solid to get his best buddy Tow Mater a ride in a helicopter. And so we have this wonderful piece of animated and audio merchandise:
This is a rather large toy (16″ long) with a trigger in the back that makes the rotor blades turn. So you can pretend to fly the ‘helicopter-without-a-name’ for yourself. I mean seriously, doesn’t the poor guy get a ‘Bill’ or a ‘George’ at least?
Both sides of the toy have buttons that produce different results. The right side opens a cargo hatch revealing enough space for one or two other Cars characters.
The left side has a button, that when pressed, pops out Mater himself! He then yells out three phrases from the movie and helicopter sounds can also be heard. Have a listen:
The toy has two functions. One is a demo mode with one saying and the helicopter noise, while the other function gives all three phrases from the film. The bottom of the toy also has a message that tells us to change the batteries if the sounds become distorted.
Some of the merchandise from this line feels like a money grab with obscure characters who had less than 2 seconds of screen time getting representation. So when I saw this toy with such a clear connection to a pivotal scene in the movie, I was delighted to see it and happier than a you-know-what in a you-know-where to own it!