At the same time, another company, Kadabrascope, was also vying for a foothold in the computer animation industry, though its owner — Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese, which, yes, were somehow founded by the same dude — was possibly the only guy with more grandiose ambitions than Lucas. Kadabrascope only produced one project, a canceled Christmas vehicle for Mr. Cheese, and eventually lost so much money that its assets had to be sold … to Pixar. So there’s at least two iconic mice involved in this story.
Pixar’s First Short Film
The Pixar tradition of whimsical short films dates all the way back to 1984 with the premier of The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. at SIGGRAPH. What’s SIGGRAPH? Some pretentious indie film festival that prides itself on you never having heard of it? Nope. It’s a computer graphics conference. The film was mostly a demonstration of the groundbreaking techniques Pixar was pioneering.
Enter Steve Jobs
It was only at this point, in 1986, that Steve Jobs bought the company from Lucasfilms. Many believed, as he wanted them to, that he founded the company, but unless you’ve only been skimming up to this point, you know that’s not true. He did keep the company afloat for the next decade, but he also slowly pried 100% of the ownership out of its real founders and tried to get somebody to buy him off until it became clear that Toy Story was going to make him a lot of money, so like most things involving Steve Jobs, it was a real mixed bag of money and nightmares.