Pixar's unprecedented string of hit animated features was built on the short films in this collection. John Lasseter and Ed Catmull used these cartoons the way Walt Disney used the "Silly Symphonies" during the 1930s: as a training ground for artists and a way to explore the potential of a new medium. Although it's only 90 seconds long, "Luxo, Jr." (1986) ranks as the "Steamboat Willie" of computer animation: For the first time, audiences believed CG characters could think and feel. (It was also the first CG film to make audiences laugh.) The long-unseen films for Sesame Street are an unexpected bonus.
Beginning with Pixar's second film A Bug's Life, all subsequent Pixar feature films have been shown in theatres along with a Pixar-created short. Other Pixar shorts, released only on home media, were created to showcase what Pixar can do (either technologically or cinematically), or were created specifically for a client. The first shorts were made while Pixar was still a computer hardware company, when John Lasseter was the only professional animator in the company's tiny animation department. Starting with Geri's Game, after Pixar had turned into an animation studio, all later shorts have been produced with a larger crew and budget. In 1991, Pixar made four CGI shorts produced for the TV series Sesame Street. The shorts illustrates different weights and directions starring Luxo Jr. and Luxo - Surprise (1992), Light and Heavy (1990), Up and Down (1993), and Front and Back (1994).