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McDonaldland Characters

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    So a thing I’m casually obsessed with are the characters from the old McDonaldland series of advertisements. McDonalds appears to be bringing back the Hamburglar, albeit in a strange, not fun form, and it made me wonder if we’ll see any of the other characters make a comeback.

    I’ve always thought somebody could spend some serious effort to write a really interesting book/documentary on the rise and fall of the entire McDonaldland IP. They used to have an entire world populated with anthropomorphized foodstuffs, and it all just quietly went away some years ago. There was Mayor McCheese, Birdy, Grimace (who was a…glob of jelly? not sure), Officer Big Mac, The Hamburglar, the Fry Guys, Mac Tonight (that moon headed guy at the piano), the chicken nuggets, and of course Ronald. When fast food playgrounds started to become a thing, all the equipment was shaped like the different characters, including the weird creepy Jail thing that was shaped like Officer Big Mac’s head but with bars for teeth that kids could look out of. It seems that all that stuff went away with Sid and Marty Kroft sued them for too many points of similarity to the HR Puffinstuff universe. Now it’s like it doesn’t exist, except at the World’s Largest McDonalds here in Orlando, where they still have an animatronic Mac Tonight that plays a piano as well as iconography from some of the others painted on the walls.


    There appears to be at least one more location with some of the original McDonaldland characters.

    Steam: Garayur


    Also a passive fascination of mine. Generally, and McDonalds that still has old school stuff like this so intensely repped, or looks like a proper clusterfuck, is franchised rather than corporate-owned. I know for a fact that corporate hates the World’s Largest McDonalds on I-Drive as they get away with off menu items, jacked-up prices, and delightful abstractions of the brand (like continued use of Mac Tonight).

    Grimmace was originally a spider and was turned good by Ronald:

    The lawsuit with the Kroffts happened in 1977 and that does seem to be when the phasing out of some older elements began, but really it was more of a shift to the McDonaldland aesthetic of the 80s and 90s which was more its own thing.

    I’ve got to say, Mac Tonight was really affecting as a kid. The sets for many of his ads were unreal:

    Does anyone remember an ad where a ship sailed through the sky (I think steered by the Professor or Captain Crook)? I recall it being a way less cartoony ad than normal, very dreamlike, more like the Mac Tonight commercials. Granted, my memory of it is dreamlike so it could just as easily not exist.


    He’s not the Hamburglar we need, but the one we deserve right now… 😛

    "You'd be surprised how many calories hedonism burns."


    @Garayur that guy seems to be making an active effort to find that old stuff, that’s pretty awesome. It says he has a museum on site for it all.

    “This restaurant’s franchisee is a second generation McDonald’s owner/operator who’s passionate about preserving the history of the McDonald’s. Having grown up in the McDonald’s business, he was curious where all the McDonaldland characters of his childhood had gone. After extensive research, he discovered that most of the vintage items had either been destroyed during restaurant remodels or locked away in private collections. This curiosity is what began his desire to create a complete McDonaldland character collection inside his restaurant. Over the years he has been able to rescue various historical McDonald’s pieces from private collectors all over the USA. Typically these collections are over 30+ years old, and often in terrible condition. Each one of the items in the collection has been professionally restored to like new condition by local craftsmen.”

    , the only Mac Tonight commercial I have memories of is the one in your compilation that starts at :36, where he is flying on a cloud past the big clock. Some of the others ring a bit of a bell, and at the end there appears to be some footage of the World’s Largest installation, the one with all the reflective streamers behind him, but there may have been a standardized layout for those things.

    Those old 70s commercials are totally H.R. Puffinstuff inspired, that is crazy.


    These new Hamburglar commercials remind me of the Burger King King commercials that ended up getting the tie-in XBox games awhile back somehow.

    I briefly searched for the boat commercial, and discovered that in 2007 McDonalds was using a 3d Mac Tonight to advertise the 24hr locations in Singapore:


    When I was still a child, I always thought life as an adult was going to be a crazy cool mixture of surreal and colorful Mac Tonight commercials smashed together with the “exclusivity” and carefree playground of Disney’s “Pleasure Island.”

    Looks like the joke is on me. Being an adult sucks.

    If you want to reach my in-character profile as "General Manager" of the Ghostbusters, tag me using: @seven


    being an adult doesn’t suck, you just lost some of your innocence.

    besides that i am happy to see the Hamburgler strike again and that no administration has brought him to justice, and i am waiting again for the return of the Grimmace. so as to strengthen the fact that “Nothing can kill the Grimmace”

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