Wednesday, November 09, 2005

McNostalgia

Last night at Institute our after class treat (funny how once you make it into the 25-30 year old class they start treating you like kindergarteners, not that I'm complaining) were some Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. And I mentioned to Julene that they reminded me of the old "Chocolatey Chip Cookies" that McDonalds used to sell along side their McDonaldland Cookies. Obviously they weren't as popular as the McDonaldland Cookies, I mean who could expect to compete with animal crackers in the shapes of our favorite McDonalds characters, but once I was older and started working there, it became clear right away that they clearly were the superior cookie. Basically they looked like Cookie Crisp cereal, which I've never eaten due to my mother's insistence that a bowl full of cookies couldn't possibly count as breakfast. She felt the same way about Chocolate Pop-Tarts, which of course led to me buying them my first summer away from home.

Back to McDonalds, though. The topic got us talking about how McDonalds used to have a whole cast of kid-friendly characters (more on this later) and how now you almost never even see Ronald. I mean who doesn't remember the Ronald McDonald Christmas time ice skating commerical where he picks up the girl who can't skate and they have a great time. Thats says Christmas to me almost as much as watching Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Now the best McDonalds can muster is a campaign telling me how much they are "lovin' it". Apparently kids no longer get to choose the restaurant or else today's kids just aren't swayed by cartoony characters with ties to menu items.

Just for fun, I decided to see if I could find some pictures of the McDonalds cast of characters. Here's what I was able to dig up:

Ronald:

ronald mcdonald

Birdie the Early Bird:

mcdonalds birdie

Grimace:
mcdonalds grimace

*Note: As I was searching for images I found out that Grimace apparently was supposed to somehow represent McDonalds shakes. Like maybe he is made of shake mix? Not sure.

Hamburgler:

hamburglar mcdonalds

Mayor McCheese:

mcdonalds mayor mccheese

The Fry Guys aka The Fry Kids:

mcdonalds fry guys

The McNuggets Buddies:

mcdonalds mcnuggets

Big Mac:

mcdonalds big mac

*Note: Does anyone remember the playground equipment that included a gigantic Bic Mac head where you could climb up and look out. There were holes in the top of the hat, and also you could crawl around inside the Big Mac part. It had a bunch of bars where you could look out? I think we always called it Mayor McCheese but its clear to me now that it was actually Big Mac, judging from his hat.

Another obscure character that seems vaguely familiar to me was this pirate, Captain Crook:

mcdonalds captain crook

And if that wasn't enough, here's a nice group shot:

mcdonalds characters

Looking at this group shot I'm realizing that some playgrounds actually had that tree you could climb on. The tree was also featured prominently in the McDonaldland cookies. Must have been some kind of talking tree. Also on the far left there's a guy in white looking kind of like Moses. Some of the sites spoke of a character called "The Professor" who I know nothing about. I'm guessing thats him.

12 comments:

Adam said...

Who's the freaky dude in the back on the left?

j said...

As far as I can tell its someone who goes by the name of "the Professor". He joined the cast of characters at the original expansion from just Ronald to include Hamburglar, Grimace, Captain Crook, and Mayor McCheese, according to the official McDonalds media timeline in 1971.

Adam said...

...the Professor and Marianne, here on Giligans Isle!

metamorphose said...

Weird. All of these old McDonald's pictures took me back to forgotten lore of my childhood. Kind of creepy and kind of cool at the same time.

Claire said...

I have vivid memories of climbing into that hamburger head with the bars on it and just sitting there until my mom would make us go home. I think this was in the days before safety standards for children's playthings at fast food restaurants. Also, some of our local McDonalds got those ball-play areas after I got to be 10 or 11, at which point I was deemed to old to play in them. An everlasting desire.

P.S. McDonalds new commercials are the absolute worst, I seriously have to change the channel every time!

Joshua said...

I remember the hamburglar jail that you could crawl inside, but does anyone remember the grimace cage?Ihad it as a child at my mcdonalds and you could shake the whole inside by holding onto the bars from within.

Tania said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tania said...

I totally remember the bouncy/shaky Grimace cage! I also remember some sort of low to the ground spinning thing, possibly based off the Hamburglar?
for a pic of the Mayor McCheese cage:

http://roadsidetraveler.blogspot.com/2007/11/unoffical-mcdonalds-museum.html

Anonymous said...

if you can find pictures of the griddler post them
!!!

Anonymous said...

I just stummbled onto this blog and became ecstatic. I often wonder what ever became of these McDonalds characters. They were lovable (and scary)friends that I was fascinated with as a little girl. Really, besides the happy meal toy, they were the only reason I wanted to go to eat there. You mentioned the playground equipment. My parents live across the street from a church who purchased old McDonalds playground equipment for a cheap price. One of the pieces is the hamburger jail, with the hat and holes in the top! They also purchased the tornado slide. The deal was in the purchase, the church was to re-paint the equipment so it wasn't so "Mc-Donaldish." The church painted everything, minus the jail, considering there isn't a good way to disguise a hamburger.

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