The mystery behind Pixar’s hidden A113

"Finding Dory" by Pixar studios - santa clarita movies
"Finding Dory" by Pixar studios. Photo from IMDB

A113—a mysterious collection of numbers and letters—can be found in almost all of Pixar’s films from “Toy Story” to “Inside Out.”

It is known as one of Pixar’s greatest “Easter Eggs,” a hidden message in its films, but what many don’t know is that the infamous A113 got its start in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Before John Lasseter was the chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and Brad Bird was the director and creator of films like “The Incredibles,” they were students at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

A single CalArt’s classroom, A113, fostered the character animation and graphic design skills of Lasseter, Bird and others. The appearance of A113 in their films is a subtle tribute to their alma mater and a reminder of the character animation room where they began.

“CalArts is one of the best animation schools,” Lasseter explained to fans. “It was my alma mater and a lot of the students that went to CalArts at the time, as they created films… they’ve kind of hidden A113.”2012-1104-calarts01

According to CalArts Public Relations Officer Margaret Crane, the classroom is now used as a design room as part of the university’s School
of Art.

However, the international inside joke continues to live on in movies, television shows and video games.

It can be seen on the license plate of Andy’s mom’s car in “Toy Story,” the code for directive given to Auto in “WALL-E,” the room number in Syndrome’s lair in “The Incredibles” and the lecture hall Mike and Sully have their first class in “Monster’s University.”

A113 most recently appeared in Pixar’s “Finding Dory” where it was the license plate for cargo truck taking animals to Cleveland.

It also famously appeared in “The Simpsons” and crossed over to live action with cameos in “The Avengers” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

“It’s one of those little things you have to look for,” Lasseter said.

The belief is: if A113 is spotted in a film, someone from CalArts had a part in making it.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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