When Pixar announced that they were going to make a third installment of the “Toy Story” series, fans everywhere asked: “What about Slinky Dog?”
The beloved southern toy dachshund with the metal slinky middle was originally voiced by actor/comedian Jim Varney who also starred in “Ernest Goes to Camp” along with its seven sequels. Sadly, he died in 2000, not long after “Toy Story 2” came out. So naturally, when the third movie was announced, the internet was a buzz over who would fill Varney’s shoes, er, paws.
Director Lee Unkrich put that speculation to rest with a video released on Twitter. “We searched long and hard for someone who would have the spirit of Slinky, like Jim, so we can keep the character alive. We were very fortunate to find that person in Blake Clark,” he announced on the video. You might not know the name, but you’ve most likely seen his face — he’s been in dozens of TV shows and movies along with an impressive number of Adam Sandler flicks including “Little Nicky” and “The Waterboy.”
As it turns out, Clark actually knew the late actor. “We were really excited when we found out that Blake was actually friends with Jim Varney,” said Unkrich. “They knew each other from way back.”
“And when I’m in recording sessions with Blake, [he] just channels the spirit of his friend, Jim Varney, and he’s done a really awesome job keeping that character alive and I hope you guys feel the same.”
You can judge for yourself this weekend when “Toy Story 3” comes out.