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:
Birdie the Early Bird:
*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.
The Fry Guys aka The Fry Kids:
The McNuggets Buddies:
*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:
And if that wasn't enough, here's a nice group shot:
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.