Al is considered to be very greedy and very funny at the same time. However, unlike Sid Phillips, who breaks toys and uses them for scary experiments, or Stinky Pete, who is just mean, Al is very smart and collects toys in his own kind of way. He never breaks them or throws them around to the point that they lay on the ground broken. Instead, Al sells off the toys after kidnapping them to do his evil plot.
He is also very lazy (he complains about "driving all the way to work on a Saturday", even though his apartment is across the street from the store).
Al is a middle-aged stubby fat man with balding brown hair turning to gray. He has a mustache and goatee and wears eyeglasses. He is usually seen wearing solid bowling shirts, white undershirt, navy pants, black shoes, and a wristwatch. In his Chicken Man form for his commercials, he wears a white chicken costume consisting of a red comb, giant white eyes with small black pupils, and orange beak.
In Toy Story 2, Al is the owner of Al's Toy Barn in the Tri-County Area and appears as its mascot, a giant chicken, in the store's commercials. He is also a greedy toy collector, and made a deal with Mr. Konishi of the Konishi Toy Museum in Tokyo, Japan to collect the entire Woody's Roundup collection in the exchange for handsome payment. He spent an undetermined amount of time tracking down Woody and his gang, and eventually found Jessie, Stinky Pete, and Bullseye.
While attending a yard sale at Andy's house, he happened to come across Woody, who had just saved Wheezy the penguin from being sold. Al tried to buy him, but Ms. Davis refused to sell Woody as he is Andy's toy, and Andy was away at Cowboy Camp. Despite this, Al steals Woody when Ms. Davis had her back turned (by causing a distraction involving kicking a skateboard into a series of boxes) and made off with his prize. Buzz initially attempted to rescue Woody from the trunk of Al's car, but failed due to losing his grip before he could open the trunk. However, he did ultimately gain a few clues despite the failure: a feather and a glimpse of the license plate LZTYBRN. After deciphering the license plate number for his car as "Al's Toy Barn" during the Crime Scene Investigation, consequently identifying the culprit as being Al and gaining a map to Al's Toy Barn from a commercial, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Hamm, Slinky Dog and Mr. Potato Head then traveled to the city to save Woody.
Al, meanwhile, took various photos of Woody and the rest of his collection and after faxing them to Mr. Konishi, made arrangements to finally fly to Japan with the whole collection. He placed the Round-Up gang dolls in a big green box to keep them safe during the flight, even though he made it very clear to the baggage handler that what was inside was very important to him, stating that he had a box of cookies on a plane once and they finished off as crumbs.
But when he finally arrived in Japan, he realized that they were all gone, due to Buzz and the other toys' interference of rescuing them and going back to Andy's house.
Shortly after this, he was seen in another one of his commercials, this time sobbing over his loss of fortune. Hamm responded to it by saying, "I guess crime doesn't pay."Bonnie in Toy Story 3, Al is still concerned with completing his Roundup Gang collection, and in Toy Story of Terror!, he is the winning bidder on Ron Tompkins' auction on Woody after he is snatched from one of his motel patrons by his pet iguana, Mr. Jones (ironically the same one he had once attempted to steal). As his address signifies, he remains the owner of Al's Toy Barn. After Woody was rescued by Jessie and Ron got exposed by Bonnie and her mom as being a crook, Ron was unable to send any of his stolen toys out.
Al was originally planned to appear in the special, but was cut for timing reasons. Disney/Pixar released a deleted scene in storyboard form illustrating this. In this scene, Al is shown wearing his chicken suit, rejoicing as he sees on his laptop he has won the auction for Woody. A news article on the wall indicates that Al's Toy Barn has gone bankrupt, and it is implied he lives at his mother's house. This may not be canon, however, since as indicated above, he still has the address of his store in the final film.
- Al's license plate reads "LZTYBRN," which is "Al's Toy Barn," minus the vowel letters and a Z in place of the S. It is also the actual license plate of Ash Brannon, co-director of Toy Story 2, according to the Toy Story 2: Special Edition commentary.
- Al's last name is revealed on the nameplate on his office desk. Additionally, when he is done taking pictures, he answers his cell phone, and Mr. Konishi can be heard saying his full name.
- When Al finishes his conversation with Mr. Konishi over his phone, he says, "Don't touch my mustache," which is a mnemonic of how to say "You're welcome" in Japanese. Incidentally, the phrase "You're welcome" itself is considered highly impolite in Japanese culture.
- According to a Disney Adventures Magazine, the reason why Al was obsessed with toys is because his parents never allowed him to play with such toys as a kid.
- Both Al and his toy store were mentioned at the end of the Buzz Lightyear commercial in the first Toy Story movie.
- Wayne Knight (the voice of Al), shortly after this film, got to voice another one of Toy Story 2's "villains," the Evil Emperor Zurg for the TV series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command.
- Because Wayne Knight was bearded at the time of the film's production, the Pixar staff chose to give Al McWhiggin a goatee. Early concept drafts show Al as an almost identical animated version of Knight, with the final design being fairly toned down to distance them.
- In Toy Story 3: The Video Game (PS3 or Xbox 360 version), a trophy (or achievement) has the name "The Collector" with Al on the image, despite the fact that he didn't appear or was even mentioned in Toy Story 3. Although he doesn't physically appear in the game, his Toy Barn does where you can buy new toys for Toy Box mode by unlocking different cards in story mode. He also appears on the coins used to buy toys from his toy store.
- Al's car is mostly based on the 1956 Ford Mystere concept.
- It bears some resemblance to Flo.
- In Al's apartment, he has an abstract painting, which makes a cameo to Tuck and Roll and Dot from A Bug's Life.
- The read-along version never shows the plane rescue or Al's fate, it only mentions Woody saving Jessie and the toys returning home.
- It can be assumed that Al's favorite snack is cheese puffs, considering that there were a few in his trunk as Woody was being stolen, some on his office desk as the toys were searching for Woody, and he had a whole bowl of them which fell on the floor as he was snoozing in his apartment.
- During development of the film, the crew suggested that Al would fix Woody when he got damaged, as he would be a toy repairman himself. But as they continued to develop the character, they thought Al wouldn't have the ability to fix him, so they decided to use Geri from Geri's Game instead.
- Al is the first Disney/Pixar villain who does not reveal his true nature at first or turn bad as the film progresses, not counting Mr. Potato Head who was a villain in the first movie.
- It took over a month for Pixar to digitally paint Al's car.
- Though Stinky Pete is the real main antagonist of the second film, Al is the Bigger Bad as he was the one who came with the plot to sell the Roundup toys to Japan, to which Stinky Pete tagged along. It's also possible that he was the one who sold Buzz to Andy's mom as a birthday present in the first film, as his store was known for selling Buzz Lightyear action figures in the Tri-County Area.
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