Dan Scanlon (co-director) Release dateNovember 7, 2006 (2006-11-07) (with Cars DVD) WriterJoe Ranft (original story), John Lasseter (original story), Dan Scanlon (original story) DirectorsDan Scanlon, John Lasseter Story byDan Scanlon, John Lasseter, Joe Ranft CastLarry the Cable Guy (Mater), Owen Wilson (Lightning McQueen), Michael Wallis (Sheriff), Bonnie Hunt (Sally Carrera), Paul Newman (Doc Hudson), Cheech Marin (Ramone) Similar moviesPaperman, Get a Horse!, Elmer Elephant, Three Little Pigs, Mickey and the Beanstalk, The Ugly Duckling
Mater and the Ghostlight is a 2006 Pixar computer-animated short created for the DVD of Cars, which was released in the United States and Canada on November 7, 2006. The short, set in the Cars world, tells a story of Mater being haunted by a mysterious blue light.
The short film opens with Mater playing pranks on the other residents of Radiator Springs: moving Red's flowers, bursting out from a pile of tires to scare Guido and Luigi, dressing up as a cone vampire to scare Sally, attempting to scare Lizzie while she's sleeping (which is unsuccessful), moving Fillmore's gas cans back outside while he takes them in, and jumpscaring Lightning McQueen when he believes Mater is hiding behind a pile of cans ready to jump out (what was really behind the pile of cans is one of Mater's signs). This sequence culminates with Mater teasing McQueen as if he had seen "the Ghostlight," a Route 66 legend recounted to Pixar by Dean Walker of the Kansas Historic Route 66 Association.
Sheriff admonishes him for mocking the urban legend. When McQueen asks about the Ghostlight, Sheriff explains that the Ghostlight is a blue paranormal orb of light that haunts Radiator Springs, but Mater reminds Lightning that it isn't real. Sheriff points out that it is real, shocking them. He then tells everyone the tale of the Ghostlight, explaining the disappearance of a young couple that encountered it, leaving behind two "out-of-state license plates" and that it hates the sound of clanking metal. At this point, Mater is so scared that he begins making the noise that the Ghostlight hates the most and tries to stop himself. Sheriff ends the story with a warning that the Ghostlight could be anywhere. The rest of the gang say goodnight and turn off all the store lights, leaving a nervous and scared Mater all alone in the dark. Nervous, he returns to the junkyard and sees a shadow of a monster and, in a sudden shock, shines his light on it, revealing it to be just a pile of junk. After his headlight breaks, he enters his wall-less garage and closes the door, which then falls down. A light suddenly appears in front of him and he panics, believing it to be the Ghostlight until he realizes it is just a lighting bug. Suddenly, a blue light appears behind him. After using his mirror to observe it, he runs for it, thinking it is that Ghostlight.
During the body of the short, mayhem ensues as Mater is pursued by the Ghostlight, ultimately revealed to be just a lantern affixed to Mater's towing cable by Lightning and Guido. He drives into Willy's Butte and wakes Frank and his tractors and goes into slow motion where he sounds like a bull. The other residents of Radiator Springs watch as Mater drives around frantically with the "Ghostlight" on his tail, before Mater tires himself out and discovers the truth. The cars tell him it was all a prank to pay him back for all his pranks he played on them. Sheriff gently tells Mater that the only thing to be scared of on Route 66 is "his imagination." Doc jokingly adds that all Mater really had to fear was "The Screaming Banshee" before they all leave Mater, alone and frightened once again.
In a post-credits scene, Mater actually sees The Screaming Banshee but, not realizing it is him, warns him of the Banshee before departing, leaving the monstrous truck confused.
Larry the Cable Guy as Mater
Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen
Michael Wallis as Sheriff
Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera
Paul Newman as Doc Hudson
Cheech Marin as Ramone
Non-speaking characters appearing in the film include Luigi, Guido, Flo, Fillmore, Sarge, Lizzie, Mack, Frank, and Red.
Mater and the Ghostlight premiered on November 7, 2006, on Cars DVD as a special feature. On November 6, 2007, it got its first Blu-ray releases, attached as a special to Cars and on Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 1.