The most fun you can have on a bun...

The most fun you can have on a bun…

This past Friday, I flashed back to the McDonaldland gang whose mission it was to get kids tuesday tvto 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.

Smoother than a pigladillo's belly.

I beat out Jennifer Hudson!  You can look it up.

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…

It's Mac T-t-t-t-t-t-t-toNIGHT!!!!

It’s Mac T-t-t-t-t-t-t-toNIGHT!!!!

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.

One of these days, I'm going to be selling McDLT's!

One of these days, I’m going to be selling McDLT’s!

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
Come on make it Mac Tonight!!!

Come on make it Mac Tonight!!!

PERFECT!!!  Only McDonalds didn’t learn its lesson from the McDonaldland legal fiasco a decade earlier…

It's just as funny as when I used it Friday!

It’s just as funny as when I used it Friday!

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.

He did help Bill Elliott lose a handful of Winston Cup races in 1997.

He did help Bill Elliott lose a handful of Winston Cup races in 1997.

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.



About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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26 Responses to Dinnah!

  1. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Just as I was getting over your Jar Jar Binks post, you had to reference Max Headroom. Yet I still keep coming back here…

    It is sad to say that I didn’t know about the song “Mac the Knife” until these commercials; I just thought McDonald’s had come up with the melody themselves. My mother had to break it to me.

    • I may not agree with you on Jar Jar, but I will definitely agree Max was a pain in the ass. I only like him in a nostalgic [Archie&Edith]”those were the days”[/Archie&Edith] kind of way….

  2. The Cutter says:

    I remember hearing Mack the Knife and being very confused why someone was singing the McDonalds song with the wrong lyrics.

  3. merbear74 says:

    I played the video and was instantly carried back in time, before peeps be all lovin’ it and shiz. Those were the days…two beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese on a sesame seed bun! Yay! 😀

    • As soon as my Mickey Dee’s buzz dies down, I’ll do a feature on the ad they had in 1989 where they had this guy sing the entire menu… kind of an expansion on their old Big Mac jingle. It came with a contest that had a flimsy record (yes, a record!) in the Sunday paper… and I still have it!

  4. merbear74 says:

    Oh, and special sauce! Oppsie..

  5. acuriousgal says:

    Oh I so remember that guy!!!!

  6. Twindaddy says:

    I lived through these times, but I don’t remember those commercials at all.

    • It’s funny what we can completely miss out on from our younger days… I have absolutely no recollection of Thundercats or the song “You Spin Me Round”, yet supposedly they were huge in the 80’s….

  7. HaHa! I remember those ads! They were really weird! I liked Mr Headroom though.

  8. pishnguyen says:

    Mac Tonight! I remember that guy! (Is this a good thing or a scary thing? Hmmmm … not sure.) Loving the pic of the squirrel with the burger bun. Too cute!

  9. 1jaded1 says:

    Just when I was recovering from Hamburglar…*shudder*

  10. draliman says:

    I feel happy that I don’t remember these adverts at all! Possibly they never came to the UK, but back then we pretty much just watched BBC 1 and BBC 2 which don’t have any advertising so maybe I just missed them 🙂

  11. I have no recollection about this one.

  12. fourcatpaw says:

    Me and my family, we wish you and your family “MERRY CHRISTMAS”!!!
    Yelloz, Servant Z and family

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