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This past Friday, I flashed back to the McDonaldland gang whose mission it was to get kids to pester their parents for more Happy Meals. This seemed to work out quite well despite the utter creepiness that plagued the original 70′s cast, and the sheer retardedness that hampered the revised 80′s group. Since Ronald and his strange pals were such a success getting kids to crave a fatty meal, the brain trust at Mickey Dee’s figured it might very well work on adults as well.
Seeing a need to alert people to the fact that McDonalds was the perfect place to eat dinner, the McAdwriters brought the best of both creepy and retarded together to create the one and only Mac Tonight. Here is an awesome compilation of some of Mac’s classic ads that aired from 1987-1990, along with a few bonus features and plenty of retro awesomeness as well…
If you didn’t live through the 80′s, you’d never understand….
So, how did McDonalds come up with such an unusual character like Mac Tonight? Well, I had Buster break into the company’s vault in Oak Brook, IL and extract the secret recipe for Mac Tonight’s creation that was hidden from the world once people realized how awful it was to release something so hideous on the burger eating world….
First, since you want to attract people to your restaurant for dinner, and most people have dinner after the sun sets, you want some visual cue for your mascot that makes people think of the evening. Since a prostitute might not be suitable for using in commercials, the McDonalds ad creators settled for the moon. Good choice.
Next, make your mascot a lounge singer since they are thick as fleas in a squirrel tail in the dinner hour. Former American Idol contestant John Stevens was too young to be the inspiration for Mac Tonight since he was born when the campaign was first being created, but his soft, smooth voice is perfect for putting one to sleep. And since he was a favorite of my Mom on the first season she watched American idol, this will score some points with her as well. We like to keep Mom happy here at The Nest…
Third, be sure to sprinkle a healthy dose of current pop culture trends into your character to make him more relevant. Max Headroom was huge in 1987… maybe the only year he was ever huge… and it’s hard to look at Mac Tonight and not have flashbacks to the world’s first CGI stuttering dumbass. They both share a similar creep factor that is proven to sell more Big Macs.
Finally, to finish off your mascot creation and to be sure he’ll be a proven hit, shamelessly steal off something that is already successful. Bobby Darin had a huge hit three decades earlier called “Mack the Knife”…. hey, wait a minute! Mack the Knife… Mac To-night! Everything at McDonalds is “Mac” something, and “tonight” says dinnertime! We can have our crazy moonheaded man sing in our ads! Heck, Mack the Knife is so easy to parody, it practically writes itself!
- When the clock strikes half past 6, babe
- Time to head for golden lights
- It’s a good time for the great taste — dinnah!
- At McDonald’s, it’s Mac Tonight
PERFECT!!! Only McDonalds didn’t learn its lesson from the McDonaldland legal fiasco a decade earlier…
Bobby Darin’s son Dodd, who probably had plenty of experience in court suing his parents over that horrendous first name,
decided to cash in on stuck up for his deceased father and took McDonalds to court in 1989 over using his dad’s song and style. Little Dodd Darin won an injunction a few years into the campaign that essentially stopped Mac Tonight in his lunar tracks. While Mac Tonight has made infrequent appearances since he initially got blasted from the sky in 1990, including a brief mid 90′s revival, he just wasn’t the same without his groovy little song he sang as he floated through the air on his flying piano. Mac Tonight has for all intents and purposes become just another footnote in the bizarre history of McDonalds advertising.
After two straight retro posts centering around the land of Mickey Dee’s, we here at The Nest are getting mighty hungry. We just might have to get our tails down to the golden lights at half past six and make it Mac Tonight! Here’s to the crescent headed king of late night swing, who helped America seriously consider letting some teenager without a hairnet make dinner for us. You may have been permanently eclipsed from our view, but you will always be a legend of 80′s pop culture… first in our hearts, our minds, and our dinner table.
It’s the second week of December, and you know what that means…. the year has officially ended and nothing else matters until January 1st. I was passing by the checkout counter at work the other night and noted Time’s tribute edition to the famous people who died in 2013 was already out, and thought how brilliant it was that any memorial to those we lost in 2013 wouldn’t include Nelson Mandela. That’ll teach you to die in December if you want to be remembered…
As I’ve learned, in blogland December means the coming of the annual Blog of the Year Award. I went through this rigamarole last year, collected my six stars, and had my Mom all excited because she thought I really won something special. Well, I’m currently sitting on four nominations for this award by different followers of mine, so i guess I better get cracking on accepting this thing!
The first nomination I got for BotY ’13 of course came from Merby, who loves me to pieces even if I am usually a smartass to her. Did you see that, “best squirrel evah!” Stick that in your nuts and smoke it, Rocky…
On the heels of that nomination came a BotY nod from Draliman, and somehow I made his very, very selective list! I am extremely honored and flattered to be in such select company!
One of my more recent followers chimed in with the next BotY nomination, Fourcatpaw. My own felines Ody and Biskit are somewhat perplexed there may be another cat out there who actually likes a squirrel!
And finally over the weekend, Robin from Witless Dating After Fifty offered up a shotgun BotY nomination to all of her followers. How could I refuse that since I love that approach as well?
And in continuing with that tradition, I hereby nominate every blogger who appears on my Friends of the Nest page… including the four of you who have already nominated me yourselves!
Here is the official Blog of the Year 2013 logo:
Now, the point is to add a star each time someone nominates you for it, up to 6 stars. Last year I added acorns as I gained each nomination. This time, I decided to take a different creative approach, and actually pay a bit of a visual tribute to those who thought of me when the time came for their BotY nominations. So instead of adding stars for each nomination, I’m adding something symbolic for each nominating blogger who thought of me when it came time for accepting their awards!
For Merby’s nomination, what else could I add but Holiday Paul?
For Draliman, a smiley face with a bullet through his forehead to remind me of his twistedly hilarious short stories he does for Friday Fictioneers!
For Fourcatpaw, a… well, a cat paw! Meow!
And for Robin, the sun from the Farmer’s Almanac since she likes to post data from the almanac at the beginning of each month, and she enjoyed my analemma post last week!
Thank you everyone who nominated me, and for those who haven’t yet…. there’s still two empty holes on that award with some lucky stiff’s name on it…..
Squirrels have a unique point of view on the world that we humans don’t often get to experience. They can climb to the very tops of trees and get a panoramic view from a hundred feet up in the air. The sights you could see from the highest branch of that tree in your yard that can’t be taken in from ground level…
Sometimes, though, even squirrels like to think small. Here we see a cute little fella who decided to leap up into my empty birdbath and look out on his kingdom from just a couple feet in the air. Maybe he is calling out to his fellow squirrels and preparing to deliver an inspirational speech, or perhaps he’s just trying to figure out where he buried that nut back in September. Either way, this sciurine seems to be just chillaxing and taking in the sights of the sunny side of the yard from the shade. Perhaps he wishes he had his squirrelfriend by his side to enjoy the edge of the birdbath view with him.
Smile, my friend! You just made this week’s Saturday Squirrel!
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the view!
There once was a glorious day when nobody thought it was irresponsible for a fast food company to promote its artery clogging delicacies to children, and no funny looking restaurant with a drive thru handled this better than McDonald’s did. For this week’s Flashback Friday, let’s take a look back at the wonderfully creepy world that was McDonaldland and all of its lobotomized inhabitants!
Let’s get you in the proper mood for this post with a classic mid 80′s ad featuring four of McDonaldland’s best known goofballs…
How in the heck did we find this so amusing as kids?
Ronald and his gang of misfits were completely ubiquitous during the 80′s, not only all over the commercials we used to watch as kids, but throughout McDonalds restaurants as well. You know how Mickey Dee’s has been trying to look all upscale and classy the last decade or so, even making their employees wear ties? That so didn’t used to be the atmosphere at McDonalds. Not only were they generally dumps where all the weird people hung out all day, but they used to have one of the most fucked up playgrounds in your town…
Here, you could bounce up and down on a Fry Guy, run through the guts of Grimace, make out with the Ronald McDonald statue on the bench, or lock yourself up in the Big Mac jail… wait a minute, what was up with that jail anyway? It’s become the iconic attraction from the old McDonalds PlayPlaces of our youth, but there was no cop character in McDonaldland, was there?
Come to think of it, who is this Mayor McCheese I always hear about? I don’t remember him, yet his meat and cheese head always seems to come up whenever McDonaldland is mentioned! Well, that’s because the McDonaldland we remember in the 80′s was much different than the McDonaldland your parents remember from the 70′s. Not only were there a lot of characters we 80′s kids never got a chance to know, but even the ones who survived into our lifetimes were barely recognizable. Check out this picture of Ronald’s old gang…
Holy fucking McNuggets! And to think Burger King gets slammed for their creepy king mascot these days… McDonalds built an entire popular kids franchise on a recipe of creep! There’s Mayor McCheese up there in the upper left corner, and there’s the cop, by golly, on the right!! I’m not sure what Cap’n Crunch and Jerry Garcia are doing in the picture, though… but at least we have Grimace and Hamburg…. holy crap, what the fuck is up with Hamburglar!?!? Geez, we always thought Grimace looked disturbing… Hamburglar was an absolute mess back in the day! If you think this is starting to look like it was inspired by a bad LSD trip, well, there’s a good reason for that! Here is what the entire McDonaldland concept was inspired by…
If you aren’t old enough to remember the classic McDonaldland characters, then you also aren’t old enough to remember the popular Sid and Marty Kroft kids show H.R. Pufnstuf. Heck, I’ve never seen it myself, but it is legendary in 70′s nostalgia, and probably one of the most memorable things to come out of the drug culture of the hippie generation after Woodstock. So inspired by H.R. Pufnstuf were the creators of McDonaldland, that the Krofts actually sued McDonalds for not giving them credit and wound up being awarded one million items off of the Dollar Menu.
This wound up being the major transition point between the old school creepyass McDonaldland, and the more colorful and slightly less creepy McDonaldland we all grew up to know and love. After the lawsuit in the late 70′s, McDonalds phased out the mayor, the cop, the pirate, and the professor… which is why we never saw them in any 80′s advertising. They kept Hamburglar and Grimace, but made each clean up their act first. Hamburglar had to get plastic surgery and dye his hair, while Grimace had to lose his second set of arms (Seriously, he used to have four arms!). They also had to quit thieving everything in sight. We figured from his name that Hamburglar was a skilled ground beef thief, but you probably didn’t know that Grimace (nee, the Evil Grimace) use to take milkshakes from little kids. Yeah, back before he was put through fast food mascot rehab, Grimace would bitchslap innocent children and take their milkshakes!
And sure enough, despite getting rid of both the Mayor and the cop, crime in McDonaldland dropped like a rock in the 80′s… meaning McDonaldland was obviously one of the most corrupt places on the planet. Grimace became a loveable big buffoon, and the Hamburglar became some goofy kid in a Zorro costume who could only say “Robble Robble!” Ronald carried on as the clown who tied everything together, and the Fry Guys were… well, they kept being whatever the hell they were supposed to be.
To help promote their menu items that McDonalds considered to be some loose form of breakfast food, Birdie the Early Bird was brought on in the 80′s and became one of the major characters. She was clumsy and kinda stupid, a lot like the other inhabitants of McDonaldland. I wonder if they ever had the set tested for lead paint?
While the old regulars were out in the PlayPlace rusting in the rain, the new gang was adorning our Happy Meals for much of the 80′s and 90′s. Sadly, McDonalds pulled the plug on the crew about 10 years ago, focusing instead on more adult advertising. Ronald McDonald lives on… it is kinda hard to kill off the icon most associated with your franchise. But sadly, Grimace, Hamburglar, Birdie, the talking McNuggets, and all the rest of the remnants of bad acid flashbacks have been banished to rot for all eternity in a decommissioned Big Mac jail.
Kids gotta eat unhealthy too, so The Nest offers up a big, greasy salute to McDonalds for helping kids steer their parents to the Golden Arches through the use of some of the most ingeniously designed culinary villains of all time turned special education rejects. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know what Grimace was supposed to be or that the Fry Guys looked like walking hairy testicles, we just knew it translated into the desire for Happy Meals and cheap plastic toys. Thank you Mickey Dee’s for all of the memories and nightmares your gang of ragtag McPimps brought into our lives, and don’t worry about what those evil Health Nazis may think… you can Super Size us any day!