Check Out These 1980s McDonald’s Happy Meal Trays!

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!
Hamburglar - Happy Meals Tray

[Via] The Burger Nerd

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.
Captain Crook - Happy Meals Tray

1985 was around the last time we saw the likes of his honor, Mayor McCheese as well as the stalwart Officer Big Mac.
Mayor McCheese - Happy Meal Tray

Office Big Mac - Happy Meals Tray

Of course Grimace is always Grimace.
Grimace - Happy Meals Tray

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!
Ronald McDonald - Happy Meals Tray

What about you readers? Do you have any fond recollections of these Happy Meal trays?

Battlestar Galactica! Universal Monsters! This AVG Effects Reel Has It All!

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.

[Via] Gold Cylon

To be honest besides the Universal Studios stuff I’ve never ever heard of the others but after watching that video I so wish I could have visited the Circus Playhouse and Food Emporium in my youth!

Watch This Concept Unification Video For ShowBiz Pizza…And Be Horrified!

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.

[Via] Macattac294

[Via] MovieMan327
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.

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.

Jerry Nelson’s “Puppeteer Workshop” For The Jim Henson Company (1991)

Jerry Nelson - The Count
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.

Sean Hartter (1973 – 2013)

Sean Hartter
As we announced yesterday with the passing of Sean Hartter the Retroist has lost an amazingly talented Illustrator and Contributor and friend to the site, more so we have lost the possibility of seeing what new fantastic alternate Universe movie poster or 80s toy icon Sean would share with us next.

Now with some heartfelt thoughts we have fellow Retroist Writer and Illustrator as well as friend of Sean, Daniel XIII.

I first became aware of the work of Sean Hartter back in August of 2010 (although I had seen his poster for Dante Tomaselli’s Torture Chamber over on Retroist contributor and long-time friend Professor Brian O’ Blivion’s website The Cathode Ray Mission 2 months prior but for some reason I never looked to see who had created the piece). A website I frequent ran a piece featuring a multitude of Sean’s alternate Universe movie poster concepts…photo manipulations mixed with bold graphic designs that presented famous films as Sean wanted them to be cast. Needless to say, it was love at first sight, and his rendition of Mario Bava’s Masters of the Universe starring John Phillip Law and Boris Karloff (pure Hartter) became my laptop’s wallpaper.

A few months passed and suddenly Hartter appeared again, this time on the website Rejected by Covered, a place for artist’s work that was turned down by comic book cover recreation website Covered. Sean did a rendition of Star Wars number 36 featuring Luke Skywalker facing off against some sort of crazy space panther (while the original was not created by Hartter, it was pure Hartter)! This was the first time I had seen Sean’s illustration style and I was hooked! His line work was like the unholy love child of Bakshi, Bode and Kirby. At the bottom of the post was a link to Sean’s website. I clicked that seemingly innocent link and my brain nearly exploded. How could someone distill the entirety of genre pop culture and make it so much their own? I had to find out how Hartter created his work so, on a whim I sent him a Facebook friend request. This was the best move I’ve ever made.

Over the next few years, Sean and I conversed online nearly every day (we talked until 1:30 am on the night he passed). We shared our artistic influences and aspirations, we talked about our families and childhood, we discussed film, comic books and music ad nauseum…the list goes on and on. We also discovered we shared the exact same birthday, right down to the year!

Best of all I had the pleasure of collaborating with Sean on a number of pieces for this very site (and at the time of his passing we had more pieces in the works)! We also had a number of other projects that I only wish had come to fruition…believe me brains would have melted and eyeballs would have exploded! And through all of our conversations there was a constant…Sean inspiring me and giving me confidence to try any and all creative endeavors that came my way.

So with a heavy heart I mourn the loss of a true friend, but all is not sadness! Sean has left behind an amazing legacy just waiting to be discovered by the next pop culture fiend! His art, music (yes Sean was an incredible musician) and vision will continue to endure. His work will live on as a permanent part of the pop culture that he loved so much as a quick search will reveal his work not only on this site, but in countless places including his own website (, Deviant Art page (, and Soundcloud ( to name just an obvious few!

I will leave you with one of the last things Hartter said to me, some advice about some art I was unsure of : “You’ve got what they call mojo…I heard someone say about your goals once, something to the effect of just claim you can do anything they ask of you then figure out how to do it as fast as possible.” Again, pure Hartter!

Rest well my friend.”

Friends, a Memorial Fund has been set up by Allison Clark Hartter to help cover the expenses for funeral costs and final arrangements. You can make donations by clicking on the link provided.

From Allison: “In the early hours of April 27th, family, friends, and fans of art everywhere suffered a great loss with the untimely death of Sean Hartter. While he was an innovative and prolific artist, Sean was first and foremost a devoted husband to Allison and father of Griffin and Gabriel. He was a valued friend who was always willing to lend an ear when you needed it or make you laugh until it hurt. The notion that a heart so big and generous would stop beating after a short 39 years on this Earth is both shocking and cruel to all who knew him.

Tragically, Sean’s death came at a time when his artwork was finally starting to get the recognition it deserved. Any of Sean’s nearest and dearest will tell you that he never fully accepted just how gifted he was. His brain bursted with creativity- his artwork included various mediums, from the simple black sharpie and pen to recent adventures creating action figures. He made music, wrote stories, but finally got a taste of recognition from his “Alternate Universe” creations.

The unfairness of losing this talented man at such a young age can not be expressed enough. His death was so unexpected that it was not at all planned for. Sean’s friends would like to help his family through this devastating loss in the only way we can- by assisting with the tremendous expense of funeral costs and final arrangements. Because time is so important, please share this link as much as possible. Thank you so much for your help and for the outpouring of love and condolences that have been showered on his family with this enormous loss.”

Things We Miss: Ecto Cooler

On this Things We Miss, we look at the delicious and hardly forgotten HI-C Flavor, Ecto Cooler. Why this has not been brought back is beyond me, but I am hoping for a Ghostbuster 3 just in the hopes that it will get me some new Ecto.

As always, the video format and all that fun stuff is a work in progress. If you have any video or animation skills though and would like to send me some advice or help with anything, please email me at You can subscribe to the Retroist YouTube channel here. More videos from people who are not me should be coming soon to the site, so keep watching.