McDonald's Happy Meal Spaceship

McDonald’s Happy Meal Spaceship!

I have wanted one of these forever! I mean that, like forever. Here’s the problem. I didn’t know what to call them. What it is if you aren’t sure is a Mcdonald’s Happy Meal Spaceship. It’s the first Happy Meal that I ever remember getting back when I lived in Illinois. This was way back in 1982.

See, when I would do searches on it I was always looking for Mcdonald’s Happy Meal UFO. That’s what I remember them being called. U.F.O’s, when in reality they are called, McDonald’s Happy Meal Spaceships. That’s a good name too.
McDonald's Happy Meal Spaceship

This was the one that I had and I had if for YEARS! I mean that, years. I loved the shape of it and I loved that it was green. That’s my favorite color. I do prefer a darker shade, more like forest as opposed to neon but Green is Green, I guess.

What I really loved about it though was that besides carrying hamburgers and fries it also made for a really great action figure space ship! See, it opens and you can put dudes inside! How great is that? Totally great!
McDonald's Happy Meal Spaceship

It doesn’t have seats or anything, that’d be too much to ask for but you could fit a whole grip of figures in there. I remember that my Fisher Price Adventure People would zip around the living room inside of here and later my Star Wars dudes did the same thing. I had a bunch of Star Wars guys but only had one ship, Darth Vader’s Tie-Fighter so when Luke wanted to fight back against The Empire he did it inside of a Happy Meal..
McDonald's Happy Meal Spaceship

Another cool thing about it was that it floated so it also got to double up as a boat when it was bathtub play time. Now that I think about it Mcdonald’s eventually made boat Happy Meals too. I’m not sure if I ever had one. If I did, it didn’t make the impact on my life that this green space ship did.

I was lucky enough to get this at an Ebay Auction. The sale ended on July 4th so I picked it up for only a couple of dollars while everyone else was out enjoying fireworks and BBQs. I don’t regret it at all.

Here is a TV Spot for these awesome Happy Meals. It’ll really bring you back if you happen to be from that era or it’ll take you there if you’ve never been. Either way, it’s great.

[Via] Robatsea2009

McPasta

The Time McDonald’s Tried to Sell McPasta

McDonald’s has tried a lot of off the wall menu items in their time. Some are fondly remembered like the McD.L.T., and others are still scorned to this day (I’m looking at you here Arch Deluxe). But a few products have come along that most of the population totally missed out on, and McPasta was one of them.

In 1990, McDonald’s decided they would try to add some entrees to their menu that weren’t hamburgers or Chicken McNuggets. They dreamed up this concept of McPasta dishes and roasted chicken legs, and felt sure it would be a big hit. Before they released it to the masses though, they went the test market route.

A small area in New York was selected, as well as chain of franchise stores in Northeast Tennessee for this new line of McPasta products. Fortunately, I lived in a part of southern Virginia where that franchisee had two locations, and they put the product in those two stores as well.

You can check out the New York Post story on this test from 1991 here.

What they offered was a selection of Spaghetti, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Lasagna, and Fettuccine Alfredo. Each dish came with a garlic bread stick as well. They also decided to offer roasted chicken legs as a side item, as well as mashed potatoes. How those last two items fit in to the McPasta lineup I’ve yet to figure out.

To be honest, the only one I ever tried was the Fettuccine…..and I thought it was awesome! For the six month period they were testing the line, it’s what I ordered on every trip to the golden arches. My Mom loved it too, and since my Dad was out-of-town a lot, she felt it was easier to just run to McDonald’s and pick up a couple of Fettuccine platters for the two of us instead of cooking, so I got to have the pasta goodness a lot.

Imagine my sadness one day when I went to order my favorite McPasta dish only to be told it was no longer available. I listened in horror as the lady at the counter relayed the info to my Mom and I that it had been a test product, and she had no way of knowing if it would be added back to the menu or not.

As the weeks and months passed by, I would continue to inquire about it on every trip to Happy Meal land. And every time I was disappointed. After a while, I came to the sad conclusion that McPasta wasn’t coming back at all.

For years I reminisced about it, only to find it strange when other people had no idea what the heck I was talking about. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why no one had even heard of McDonald’s McPasta. Then one day it popped into my brain and I searched it out on the internet. It was there that I discovered that it had been a test product with just a very limited release, and that’s why everyone thought I was crazy when I would bring it up.

To this day I miss that McPasta Fettuccine. But now I look back and realize that the stars were aligned perfectly for me to even have gotten to experience it in the first place. Some say, it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. But for those people who say that, to them I say they never loved McDonald’s Fettuccine Alfredo.

(Sadly, there is virtually no pictures or video of this stuff available to share with this article.)

Burger Chef and Jeff - Drinking Glass

Retro Records: Burger Chef and Jeff Meet Cackleburger

Burger Chef and Jeff, does that name ring a bell? For those of us that grew up in the 70s of course it brings to mind the Funmeal. A boxed kids meal that provided puzzles and stories. Focusing on the adventures of Burger Chef and Jeff of course. The Funmeal also generally contained a toy or small collectible as well.
Burger Chef and Jeff - Funmeal Theatre

These were the mascots of the Burger Chef chain of fast food restaurants. Obviously. It bears pointing out that in addition to beating McDonald’s to the idea of the Happy Meal. Burger Chef was also quick to land the licensing for a little 1977 movie called Star Wars!
Burger Chef and Jeff - Star Wars

I will get to the subject of our Retro Records for this week in just a second. However I felt I should share a little more information about Burger Chef first. The restaurant got it’s start back in 1957, opening in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Burger Chef and Jeff - Fast Food

Thanks in no small part to focusing on smaller cities, for example my neck of the woods, they quickly expanded their reach. Furthermore in 1968 the chain was scooped up by General Mills which of course faciliated the expansion. By 1972 in fact they had 1,200 restaurants across the United States. It is important to realize that in that same year McDonald’s only had 400 more locations at the time.

I guess what I’m getting at is that it wasn’t a small operation. Now Burger Chef and Jeff were more than mascots, at least that was the case for me. I have mentioned before that growing up my Father and I didn’t have much. So generally once a month when I was taken to Burger Chef it was certainly a treat. One of those reasons I said they were more than mascots to myself is thanks in part to the TV commercials.

[Via] Eye 8h NBC

Burger Chef and Jeff - Mascots
I believe I have stated on more than one occasion that I was in fact a monster kid growing up. The kooky characters that Burger Chef and Jeff came into contact with like Wolfburger as well as Count Fangburger, the talking ape Burgerilla, and Cackleburger the Witch! I feel confident in saying these characters were certainly right up my alley!

You might want to listen to my first introduction to The Wolf Man in episode 53 of the Saturday Frights Podcast

Which indeed means I was very excited when Burger Chef was offering on of their 33 1/3 records. For this installment of Retro Records we are sharing Cackleburger Casts A Spell. I have hard a rather hard time tracking down the exact date but a few sources online point to 1976. You might also notice that the spelling on the record is different than the spelling for the character.
Burger Chef and Jeff - Cackelburger

Also of interest is that Burger Chef is voiced by the late and great Paul Winchell. Whose voice I think you might recognize from the massive animated series he was affiliated with. Paul provided the voice of Gargamel in the Smurfs, was Fleegle Beagle in The Banana Splits, as well as Dick Dastardly for many of the Hanna-Barbera shows.

So please join us on Retro Records as we listen to the adventures of Burger Chef and Jeff!

[Via] James Will

Durham 2500

Behold The Majesty Of The Durham 2500 Robot

A long time time ago, my dad taught banjo lessons to a British lady named Kay. She was an elderly lady who had a zest for new challenges. She was in her seventies when she was learning the instrument and she was incredibly nice. “Camptown Races” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” were in her repertoire and for a beginner, she caught on pretty well.

Kay was like an honorary grandmother to us. She was always at our family parties, at our house on the river, which were pretty raucous affairs. I think she was at my first communion party. They usually started with boating and ended with music led by my dad and joined by his brothers and Kay would join in on the banjo! Kay attended my birthday party at McDonald’s and she brought me a Durham 2500 Robot. He shuffle walks while swinging his arms, and his small cyclops eye flickers as does his large chest light.
Durham 2500

There’s three variations of this guy; all gray, all silver/chrome, and a combination of blue arms and legs, with red feet and head. That’s the one I have. There’s another variation with a Transformer like head on the robot body. This is referred to as Robot UFO.
Durham 2500

The robot has served as both hero and villain in the adventures with my action figures and such. Heck, he even drove our cats crazy! Blinking and whirring is better than catnip!

The Durham 2500 is a very well liked robot (in all of his versions) in the collecting community. Some prefer the all silver or gray versions and some prefer the red and blue guy. I dig the one I have. My robot has seen some better days. A couple of decades ago, a rubber snake I had, melted on him and a few other things, while being stored in our garage loft. His electronics no longer work, and his back panel is missing, but I have a strategy to fix that. If only I could teach him banjo.