Remember when McDonald’s was fun? We had McDonald Land, a magical place where all of our burger-loving buddies hung out and went on adventures. McDonald’s was more than just your fat fix back then, it was a universe for kids to become immersed in. These characters would appear in commercials regularly, were often the subject of happy meal toys, activity place-mats, donned the packaging and theme for products like cookies, and even had life-sized replicas all about the restaurant, mostly on the playground out front. McDonald’s was all about fun, then. But then people who were either, aimlessly angry, stupid, or just bad parents complained that the characters were making their kids fatter, despite the fact that the characters have been gone for almost two decades and parents are still taking their kids to McDonald’s on a regular basis and they’re getting fatter than ever. I myself ate far more WackDonald’s when I got older and the characters were gone than I did when they were around in my youth. If a parent feels they are powerless to restrict themselves from taking children there, it’s not the fault of puppets, it’s the fault of their own bad parenting.
But, anyway, here’s the run down on who all these wackos are:
RONALD MCDONALD - We ALL know who Ronald is. He’s the most famous fast food mascot of all time and arguably one of the most famous mascots of any kind. While he does represent a terribly unhealthy lifestyle, at least he taught good morals in his commercials, and he’s got a great charity.
GRIMACE - What the hell is Grimace you ask? Well… no idea. He originated as a character to advertise their drinks, namely milkshakes (for some reason I can’t figure out) and was even a villain in his earliest appearances, as well as having four arms.
BIRDIE - Birdie “the early bird”, the only major female character in the McDonald’s cast, was created to promote their breakfast products. She and Grimace sort of became Ronald’s main two friends by the late 80s and early 90s.
BIG MAC - There’s no mystery to what product this guy represents. For whatever reason, he’s a cop, modeled after a London police officer. I always found it kind of nasty that this dude has massive ground chunks of a dead cow in his mouth at all times.
HAMBURGLAR - The hamburglar is the most famous villain in the batch. While he is a villain, many times he was just hanging out with the other characters in a friendly way. He’s probably my favorite McDonald’s character. He’s a bastard.
MAYOR MCCHEESE - The mayor of McDonald Land, Mayor McCheese promoted cheeseburgers. Again, like Big Mac, he always has wads of meat in his mouth. Burger heads are pretty gross once you think about i.
MOON MAN - Considered the more adult-oriented mascot, the short lived Moon Man promoted McDonald’s then new later or all night hours. Singing a parody of “Mac the Knife” as “Mac Tonight”, this lounge singing moon painted the picture of late night McDonald’s as a classy affair. Pretty silly in retrospect, but a cool dude. I completely forgot about this guy until watching 80s commercial compilations a few years ago.
CAPTAIN CROOK - This guy is the only one I don’t personally recognize. He was being phased out around my time, but the Captain was basically the Hamburglar of Fillet-o-Fish sandwiches. No surprise he was cut. Who cares if you steal the most unpopular item that never goes away on Mc’s menu? “Someone’s taking all the cheeseburgers!” ”STOP HIM!” “And someone’s taking all the Filet-o-Fish sandwiches!” “oh….well OK”
COSMC - Not sure what this guy was promoting, but he was one of the last Mickey D’s characters ever made, and came out in either the tail end of the 80s or the dawn of the 90s, when there was year 2000 future hype everywhere, so they had to do an alien I guess. I never cared too much about him upon his debut but while drawing him I really appreaciated how fun his design was.
Now, there’s obviously more McDonald’s characters, like the tree, or even the first character they ever had, Speedee, but I just wanted to draw my favorites or the ones I’m most nostalgic for. Shame I couldn’t fit the Fry Guys. Those litle things were adorable.