Just the other day one of my co-workers and friends at the Arkadia Retrocade sent me a text with the image you see above attached.
As you can tell from the headline on this post these are vintage 1980s Happy Meal trays from McDonald’s. They were produced by Simon Marketing Inc. for the fast food chain but beyond that I have found very little information on these beauties.
I’m thinking they must be from around 1985 at least as the Hamburglar has already had made the switch to the more kid friendly-version of the hamburger thief. Long after he was introduced as the Lone Jogger!
Plus Captain Crook sadly was phased out around 1987 and this tray shows him in his original outfit although perhaps a little less sinister than his appearance in McDonaldland as a villain.
1985 was around the last time we saw the likes of his honor, Mayor McCheese as well as the stalwart Officer Big Mac.
Of course Grimace is always Grimace.
Now I would love to crow and say that my friend picked these up for me…but that isn’t the case…at least I know they are in a good home, the only one that wasn’t available when she picked these up was the Ronald McDonald tray. I think eBay can take care of that though!
What about you readers? Do you have any fond recollections of these Happy Meal trays?
As I was stumbling around the interwebs this morning I came across this pretty awesome demo reel from an effects company that was known as AVG that contributed effects for the Battle of Galactica tram ride and the Universal Monsters’ Castle Dracula show. This reel also includes the Monster Plantation work the company did for Six Flags over Georgia, the Gilded Cage for the Golden Nugget hotel in Atlantic City, the Circus Playhouse and Food Emporium, Tex Critter’s PizzaJamboree as well as Bullwinkle’s Family Food’ N Fun.
Now before I go further in this post you must understand that in my neck of the woods ShowBiz Pizza was one of the most magical places a young person could find. Rows upon rows of the latest video games and more importantly the entertaining Rock-afire Explosion band that did covers of the Beatles, the Monkees, and Beach Boys songs to name a few.
Now I’m in no way knocking those of you that grew up with Chuck E. Cheese but I personally think that Showbiz was hands down the best. But by 1990 after ShowBiz Pizza purchased Chuck E. Cheese due to bankruptcy and due to a legal scuffle over rights with Creative Engineering (Who created and built, designed, and provided the voices for Billy Bob and the rest of the Rock-afire Explosion) forced the company to go it’s separate ways, the owners decided to turn all ShowBiz restaurants into Chuck E. Cheese establishments, putting into effect “Concept Unification”.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia. This isn’t a photo of me but it WAS taken at the Fayetteville Arkansas ShowBiz Pizza.
What that means is all of the Rock-afire Explosion animatronics and sets were stripped to be repurposed for Chuck E. Cheese with Munch’s Make-Believe Band. To be fair, Circus Pizza Fan has added some sad music to the video but seeing some childhood friends like Dook LaRue, Billy Bob, Rolfe and Earl, Beach Bear, Mitzi Mozerella, Looney Bird, and the always impressive Fatz Geronimo…skinned and gutted is heartbreaking no matter what.
Thanks to the official Jim’s Red Book YouTube channel we can take a minute to watch the late great Jerry Nelson in a clip from his Puppeteer Workshop back in 1991 for the Jim Henson Company.
Jerry Nelson was possibly most famous for bring to life the Sesame Street character of Count von Count, he did the voice and puppet work for the character from 1971 to 2004 and continued to supply his unique voice talents until his death in 2012. Jerry was also the first performer to work with Mr. Snuffleupagus and he performed that role from 1971 until 1978 when Nelson said he was asked to join the Muppet Show.
On the Muppet Show Jerry brought us the likes of Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Lew Zeland, Robin the Frog, Camillia the Chicken, and Uncle Deadly. He continued with the Henson company on various movies and TV specials until his death at age 78 and though it is incredibly sad that we’ll not see any new creations from such a talented man at least we have his legacy of work and we can see his personality shine through with each Muppet, if you’ll pardon the pun, he had a hand in.