Archive for June, 2006

BlakeOnline Special – ‘Cars’ World Premiere Report

June 3, 2006

by Blake

Originally posted June 2, 2006.

The world premiere of Disney/Pixar’s new movie Cars was held on Friday, May 26, 2006 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. I was there to see it all! Luckily we bought tickets (which were only $10 per person – TOTALLY worth it!) before they sold out. Here’s how everything played out:

Red Carpet

Directly after our arrival at the Speedway, we mosied around to see all the big setups for the event. We saw a Mater car off to the side, there were huge Cars banners everywhere, the red carpet was being put out, and a few radio stations (including, of course, Radio Disney) were broadcasting from the event. We decided to pick out a spot near the red carpet to see if we could get a chance to see the celebrities arrive. Guests with a VIP pass were instructed to sit on some bleachers in the middle of the red carpet, which we thought was sort of odd as it didn’t really give them a chance to see the celebrities at all, but rather just watch them from a close distance.

Anyway, we picked out a spot at an end of the red carpet that we thought would be where all the celebrities would EXIT. Keep that in mind. We waited in that same spot for quite some time. The celebrities were supposed to arrive at 6:00, but a storm was brewin‘, so that delayed their arrival until 7:30! The red carpet was completely covered in plastic to keep it dry. We waited in our ponchos for the storm to pass and then about an hour later I saw someone pass by. It wasn’t just “someone,” it was John Ratzenberger! As it turned out, we were at the ENTRANCE to the red carpet instead of the EXIT! So we were literally about three feet away from where all the celebrities stepped out of their limos! Because we were at the very beginning, all of the celebrities were fresh, friendly, and up for autographs. Here’s a list of who all was there:

  • Jeff Burton (Nascar Driver)
  • Kyle Busch (Nascar driver)
  • George Carlin (voice of Fillmore)
  • Dick Cook (Walt Disney Studios Chairman)
  • Paul Dooley (voice of Sarge)
  • Dave Foley (voice of Flik in A Bug’s Life)
  • Dale Earndhart, Jr. (voice of Jr.)
  • Jeff Gordon (Nascar driver)
  • Katherine Helmond (voice of Lizzie)
  • Bonnie Hunt (voice of Sally)
  • Bob Iger (CEO of the Walt Disney Company)
  • Jimmie Johnson (Nascar Driver)
  • Larry the Cable Guy (voice of Mater)
  • John Lasseter (director of Toy Story, a bug’s life, Toy Story 2, and Cars)
  • Jenifer Lewis (voice of Flo)
  • Cheech Marin (voice of Ramone)
  • Norm Mineta (U.S. Secretary of Transportation)
  • Paul Newman (voice of Doc)
  • Brad Paisley (country music superstar)
  • Richard Petty (voice of the King)
  • John Ratzenberger (voice of Mack)
  • Mike Rucker (Carolina Panthers player)
  • Tony Shaloub (voice of Luigi)
  • Bruton Smith (Chairman of Speedway Children’s Charities)
  • Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers player)
  • Michael Wallis (voice of the Sheriff)
  • Darrell Waltrip (voice of Darrell Cartrip)
  • Humpy Wheeler (President and General Manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway)
  • Owen Wilson (voice of Lightning McQueen)

Needless to say, it was amazing to see them all walk by in person!

Cars Road Trip ’06

Cars Road Trip ’06 was a nationwide tour that showcased life-sized replicas of Lightning McQueen and Sally from the movie. In addition to those cars, exclusive to the world premiere tour stop were Mater and Doc!

Anyone that wanted to see Lightning, Sally, Mater, and Doc, however, was not in luck. The giant truck that carries the crew around the nation was blocking the exit to the red carpet, where the cars were available for photo-ops, making it impossible to meet the cars unless you were a celebrity or a VIP guest, none of which we were.


Although there were a few pieces of official world premiere-exclusive items available in kiosks located throughout the speedway, I was hoping there would be more. After all, it was the WORLD PREMIERE of the newest movie created by the two biggest names in animation, Disney and Pixar.

Available for sale were two world premeire shirts, one with Lightning McQueen and Sally on the front and the Cars logo on the back and another with Lightning, Chick Hicks, and the King all racing on the front with Lightning, Mater and the King on the back. I bought the latter because it said “World Premiere” prominently on the front and the other shirt looked a little too “kiddie” for me.

Other merchandise also included a black baseball hat with the Cars logo stitched on the front as well as “World Premiere” and “May 26, 2006” on the back. My favorite item for sale was the world premiere pin, with the logo, date, and location all in one awesome pin – and for a pretty cheap price, too!


Although the pre-show was pretty entertaining and included a lot of big names from Hollywood, Disney, and Nascar, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it hadn’t been delayed by the rain. The entertainment was supposed to start at 6:30, but due to the rain didn’t begin until 9:00. It ended around 10. It was a pretty impressive show, but after waiting in the rain for two hours and already seeing all the stars on the red carpet that were in the pre-show, I was personally ready to get the show on the road and start the movie. Not to mention that it was getting pretty late.

The pre-show entertainment was hosted by Larry the Cable Guy and started out with him doing a comedy routine. Then there was a military salute, followed by a performance by a local band called “Party on the Moon.” One of the lead singers’ microphones had a little technical difficulty in the middle of the performance, but it was soon fixed.

Next, Larry the Cable Guy introduced Disney CEO Bob Iger and Cars director John Lasseter to present to the charitable organizations that the money from the event went towards with one million dollars.

Then there was a twelve-lap race around the speedway track and ,not-so-surprisingly, the Cars car won. 😉

After the race, there was a performance by country music star Brad Paisley, who sang two of his songs that were featured in the film as well as an additional song of his own that was not from the movie.

Next up on stage was Chuck Berry (who I hadn’t seen earlier on the red carpet), who entertained the crowd with “Route 66.”

Finally, Larry the Cable Guy proclaimed that the movie was starting, resulting in many cheers from some impatient audience members.

The Movie

After 20 years of Pixar and 11 years of Pixar films, everyone has high expectations when they see a Pixar movie these days.

The movie actually seemed to start out a little slow for me, despite its fast-paced opening sequence. I was beginning to think that the entire movie would be revolved around Nascar racing. Fortunately, the film turned itself around and once its plot started progressing, I liked it more and more.

The animation was superb, the humor was spot-on, and the characters are just downright fun to watch. The touching storyline accentuated by a pleasant score and song arrangement are all certainly plusses that add to the movie’s value, as well. And make sure you stay for the END CREDITS!!! 🙂


Of course, being outside with a crowd of 30,000 people, the world premiere of Cars was a little chilly. Rain sprinkles were on and off during the movie, but each drizzle didn’t last longer than five minutes, if that.

There was a slight sync problem with the sound towards the beginning, but of course that was fixed in a snap and everything was back on track.

The film was projected onto four gigantic (and I mean HUGE) movie screens that were placed around the speedway, making for quite a unique movie experienced that’s not to be forgotten easily too soon.


Seconds after the movie was over, surprise fireworks started exploding from the middle of the speedway. And these were not your average local fireworks – it was a truly magical display and one that only Disney could have pulled off. It was an amazing ending to an awesome night that was just adorned with Pixie Dust and Disney magic. And at a price tag of just $10 per person, it’s safe to say that EVERY person that attended certainly got their money’s worth out of the event!

by Blake; originally posted June 2, 2006. All images (C) Disney.


Disney Talk – Inside the World of ‘Cars’

June 2, 2006

by Blake

Originally posted June 2, 2006.
In the lastest Disney/Pixar film Cars, a hotshot rookie racecar Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) gets tied in a nail-biting race against two competitors (Michael Keaton and Richard Petty). To get to the tiebreaker race in California, Lightning has to travel Route 66, where he ventures from his driver (John Ratzenberger) and gets strangded in the sleepy small town of Radiator Springs.

While there, Lightning learns that there is more to life than winning. He also meets some new friends along the way. Let’s meet the characters from Cars!
Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) is a country boy with a big heart and the only tow truck of Radiator Springs. He runs Tow-Mater Towing Service & Salvage. Although Mater is a little rusty, he is the best backwards driver in Carburetor County. Seeing the bright side of any situation, Mater is the first to reach out and lend a hand to Lightning McQueen, who Mater claims his best friend. Mater’s dream is to one day fly in a helicopter and also enjoys “tractor tipping.”

Sally (Bonnie Hunt) is a 2002 Porsche 911 from California who grew tired of the big city and started fresh and new in Radiator Springs. Her job in the town is to run the local hotel, the Cozy Cone, which she owns. Sally’s nickname for Lightning McQueen is “stickers.”

Doc (Paul Newman) is the doctor and judge of Radiator Springs. Slow and gentle, Doc fears that Lightning’s arrival in Radiator Springs will ruin the town’s citizens, and wants McQueen out as soon as possible.

Sarge (Paul Dooley) is a World War II veteran and owns Sarge’s Surplus Hut. His lawn is kept nice and clean cut, unlike his neigbor, Fillmore, who likes to keep his lawn uncut. Sarge can’t stand Fillmore’s antics and claims him to be a hippie.

Fillmore (George Cariln) is a 1960 Volkswagon bus and Radiator Springs’ local hippie. He owns an organic fuel shop and believes in world peace. His laid-back personality and preference of music drives his neighbor, Sarge, crazy.

Luigi (Tony Shaloub) is a 1959 Fiat 500 and owner of the local tire shop, Luigi’s Casa Della Tires. An excitable Italian race fan, Luigi is thrilled to meet racecar star Lightning McQueen.

Ramone (Cheech Marin) is a native of Radiator Springs and owner of Ramone’s House of Body Art (paint jobs for cars). He is married to Flo, owner of Flo’s V8 Cafe (the gas station). Ramone is all about the latest fasions, style, and what’s “in.”

Flo (Jenifer Lewis) is a 1950’s veteran and owns Flo’s V8 Cafe in Radiator Springs. She likes her husband Ramone for his hip, cool, new paint jobs he does on himself.

Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton) is racecar #86 and is tied with Lightning McQueen and the King for the Piston Cup. Chick tends to brag and doesn’t mind to rub it in Lightning’s, or any body else’s, face when he arrives first to the big race in California.

The King (Richard Petty) is racecar #43 and a racing legend. He has won more Piston Cups than any other car and values hard work and sticking together as a team. He is sponsored by Dinoco, the oil of champions.

Last but not least (in his opinion) is Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), the conceited racecar who gets lost in Radiator Springs. He is racecar #95 and is sponsored by Rust-eze Mediacted Bumper Ointment. Lightning considers his silver lightning bolt his lucky sticker and enjoys saying his catchphrase, “Ka-chow!”

Cars is in theaters June 9, 2006 and is rated G. Soundtrack available on June 6, 2006.

by Blake, originally posted June 2, 2006. All images (C) Disney/Pixar