When Pixar released Toy Story, their first movie, in 1995, John Ratzenberger was just another actor amidst an impressive field of performers (including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Don Rickles). But over the years, Pixar has seen fit to include Ratzenberger in every single one of their releases – with the following five characters standing as obvious highlights in the collaboration between the two:
As one of the core group of Andy’s toys, Hamm has undoubtedly become one of contemporary animation’s most well-known and recognizable figures. There’s little doubt that a key ingredient in Hamm’s staying power is John Ratzenberger’s indelible voice performance, as the actor brings a sardonic, sarcastic sensibility to the character that proves impossible to resist. Hamm – or Dr. Porkchop, as Andy likes to call him – effectively kicked off Ratzenberger’s long and storied relationship with Pixar, and it’s certainly not difficult to see why the former Cheers star has become a regular fixture within the studio’s releases.
Best Line: “You heard of Kung Fu? Well, prepare yourself for pork chop!”
After treating the viewer to one larger-than-life action scene after another, Brad Bird must have felt the pressure to close The Incredibles on a similarly high note. In calling upon Pixar regular John Ratzenberger to voice the perfectly-named villain The Underminer, however, Bird ensures that viewers walk out of the film exhilarated and excited – as the movie ends with the heroes enthusiastically preparing to take on Ratzenberger’s over-the-top character. (The Underminer was so popular, in fact, that he returned in the video game The Incredibles: Rise of the Underminer.)
Best Line: “Behold, the Underminer! I'm always beneath you, but nothing is beneath me! I hereby declare war on peace and happiness! Soon, all will tremble before me!”
3. The Abominable Snowman ('Monsters, Inc.')
Though he appears in only one scene, The Abominable Snowman is certainly one of the more memorable figures within Monsters, Inc.’s cast of characters. After they’re banished to the Himalayas, Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) immediately find themselves face-to-face with the legendary, mythical creature known as The Abominable Snowman. The character is hardly the vicious figure Mike and Sulley might have expected, however, as John Ratzenberger’s affable voice work transforms the big guy into a friendly, helpful ally in the heroes’ efforts.
Best Line: “Abominable. Can you believe that? Do I look abominable to you? Why can't they call me the Adorable Snowman, or the Agreeable Snowman, for crying out loud? I'm a nice guy.”
4. P.T. Flea ('A Bug's Life')
A Bug’s Life, Pixar’s second feature film, marked the first time that John Ratzenberger lent his distinctive voice to a villainous character. Though P.T. Flea isn’t as evil as, say, The Incredibles’ Underminer, the character is nevertheless a sleazy and self-serving figure who takes advantage of the various members of his circus troupe – including ladybug Francis (Denis Leary) and lovable caterpillar Heimlich (Joe Ranft). Ratzenberger’s larger-than-life voice work ultimately ensures that P.T. Flea is a character that you just can’t help but love to hate.
Best Line: “I'm gonna be rich, rich, rich! I'm gonna be the richest flea in the land! KA-CHING! The streets’ll be paved with golden retrievers! I’m rich, rich, rich! That’s who I am!”
In Cars, John Ratzenberger provides the voice of Mack – an oversized truck that’s responsible for hauling Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) from one race to another. The film’s storyline kicks into gear after Mack accidentally falls asleep on the road and Lightning is left stranded in the small town of Radiator Springs. Though Ratzenberger is as good as ever here, it’s the actor’s willingness to poke fun at himself during the movie’s end credits that really stands out – as Mack, after sitting through clips of several auto-specific versions of Pixar films, utters the hilarious line listed below.
Best Line: “Wait a minute here, they're just using the same actor over and over! What kind of a cut-rate production is this?”