McDonaldland Specification Manual
Submitter: There are many wonderful gems in our vertical file collection that really make no sense on why we collected them. This is one of them. It’s a 1975 booklet on the McDonalds characters. I love this quote “Ronald McDonald is a CLOWN. The fact that he is a corporate spokesman should not overshadow his ‘clownness.’ He is all the good things that come to mind when thinking of clowns.” I see that this booklet has been digitized in a few places and they will allow us to let this one go.
Holly: Nostalgia at its finest! I had a birthday party at McDonalds when I was about eight. I was a cool kid for that one day. Best. Day. Ever. But yeah – why is this still in a library collection? And I’m genuinely curious – who still has a vertical file? We do, but it’s mostly local history.
How do you specify zaniness? “Be spontaneous” is a self contradictory command.
1. Why was this even collected in the first place?
2. I haven’t seen a vertical file since the days the libraries still had microfilm/fiche. Which, frankly, with the rate of bit-rot and website change, I kinda hope someone’s kept some. In a cool dry place.
You can find this whole thing online by searching it.
McDonalds got in trouble with some of these characters because they originally wanted to use HR Pufinstuf characters but the deal fell through. The Pufinstuf creators sued when McDonaldland started saying the concept was very similar, especially the burger characters. It’s probably why I never knew they existed til later; they weren’t being used when I was a kid in the 80s. Never saw the pirate or the professor either. I did have a McD’s party though so this did bring a nostalgia hit.
I get the feeling the comments for performer specs for the two burger characters wouldn’t go as well today. People would probably complain that it would need to be a strong performer but ask why it couldn’t be a strong young woman instead of a strong young man. Just a feeling.
In the late 90s McD’s went with Leo Brunette’s ideas and wanted to seem more adult and refined, so you didn’t really see anyone but Ronald anymore. He has faded too partly because of the creepy clown sightings in 2016. And some want him retired completely because of the whole marketing fast food to kids thing.
Also Ronald’s original look was creepier and Grimace scared kids too in his original incarnation.
The burger costumes are top-heavy. Women tend to have a lower center of gravity, which would help counteract that.
This explains why when I was a little kid I wondered why Puffinstuff the dragon looked like a hamburger.
He looked a lot more like a burger than like a dragon.
Well, that won’t give anyone nightmares, no siree.
1975 This was 2 years before the famous lawsuit by Sid & Marty Krofft Productions where the Federal Court found McDonaldland characters were declared a copyright infringment similar to H.R. Puffinstuff.
The case (designated 562 F.2d 1157) is in every law school textbook on intellectual property.
We still have a V-file and its very active. Last week someone from London emailed us to scan something for them. We were the only ones to hold this obscure brochure they wrote a long time ago. It was pretty neat.
Last year we started to digitize each folder’s contents and created and all online vertical file.
The Goblins became the Fry Guys a little bit later.
The description of Ronald McDonald makes him sound like a dictator.
As if we need any more proof that he was evil, beyond the whole clown thing.
Could this booklet be from later than 1975? The date given for Birdie says 9/1/80. Also, Birdie is not show in the character lineup in the last pic. Not that it matters, really!
Ah yes, I still remember the good ol’ days when going to McDonald’s was a fun-filled treat that my school would occasionally take us kids to after a morning at the skating rink or the swimming pool. Now you can’t eat a cheeseburger without being reminded how it will take at least two decades off your life span.
What is the… thing between the Captain and Grimace? Not so much with the bright colors there.
I bet no one’s missing Uncle O’Stereotype.
when Grimace first came out he was called “Evil Grimace” but apparently they dropped the evil part. and i think he had six arms or something, i remember when i was little thinking he was a spider.
In the last photo they are all lined up like in a police line up. They are all crooks: shills for corporate destruction of the planet.
Oh Ronald, how you gas lit us all.
You still retain your clownness: your smile disguises the malice you carry for us. You are scarier than the Donnie Darko bunny.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who found the whole concept of McDonaldland silly and kinda creepy even as a kid.
Who would collect this in the first place? Sigh.
And who keeps vertical files anymore?
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