When it comes to learning life lessons, one seldom looks towards household appliances to lead the way. But that’s precisely what author Thomas M. Disch did when he wrote The Brave Little Toaster in 1980. Seven years later, a group of former Disney employees would bring his touching tale to the big screen.
The story revolves around five appliances – Blanky, the electric blanket; Kirby, the vacuum cleaner; Lampy, (you guessed it) a lamp; Radio and Toaster (hopefully, self-explanatory) – all of which reside at a seemingly abandoned cabin in the woods. Day after day they anxiously wait for their young master, a boy named Rob, to return to them.
When they learn that the cabin is up for sale, they decide it is time to pack up, and the group sets out to find their master in the “City of Light”. Along the way, they face numerous obstacles including rainstorms, an appliance junkyard (complete with a dangerous giant magnet,) quicksand, a waterfall and a rotund handyman named Elmo. Throughout their perilous journey, they learn to rely on each other’s friendship and ingenuity.
Hyperion Pictures released The Brave Little Toaster in 1987, with backing from The Walt Disney Company. The delightful characters came to life thanks to an all-star voice cast that included Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, and iconic Disney voice actor, Thurl Ravenscroft (also the voice of Tony the Tiger for the baby boomers in the crowd). The film provided a perfect balance of heartwarming parable and action-packed adventure and would become the first animated film to ever appear at the Sundance Film Festival. Its modest success in theaters would lead to two sequels, The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars in 1998, and The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue in 1999.
If you have fond memories of watching The Brave Little Toaster in your youth, we hope you’ll share your recollections with all of us in our comments section.