Day 95: McDonaldland Playset


Image credit: Wishbook’s “1976.xx.xx Sears Christmas Catalog (Canada) P220”

This is the second McDonald’s toy in this series thus far (the other being the Playskool McDonald’s set back on Day 107), and what separates this gem is the fact the Ronald and company have their own figures.  Before I knew grimace was a particular type of smile, it was fat, amoeboid like part of theMcDonaldland playset, and he was my favorite. Now this isn’t to say I didn’t like Mayor McCheese, the Hamburgular, or Ronald McDonald himself, but Grimace was so unusual and I loved the fact that he could barely walk.  And while the train that comes with this set is pretty cool, it was really the facade of the McDonald’s store that I liked playing with the best—the menu intrigued me to no end.

What’s more, the figures themselves were freaky.  Flickr user Cracklintulip has taken an impressive series of the set in the wild that really capture how weird looking the characters were.  Everything from the haunted Ronald clown face to the buck-toothed Hamburglar, these figures were not for the faint of heart.  And what’s more, the images below beautifully capture the plastic textures of these dolls, it’s as if you could almost smell them through the photos.  So, I’ll let Cracklintulip’s visuals do the talking on this one.

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8 Responses to Day 95: McDonaldland Playset

  1. I always loved Hamburgler – a restaurant chain encouraging people to steal their food by providing a strong role model. Subversive social manipulation as global-scale advertising. Genius!

  2. Reverend says:


    I never thought about it like that, but you are right!
    But Grimace still kicked his ass as characters go, look at this description via wikipedia. And while he started out evil, he was “re-educated” and become just a stupid sidekick for Ronald. I also like this is parents renamed unnamed. The could have been smile and frown, or something like that. Either way, Grimace rocked.

    Grimace is an anthropomorphic purple being of the Wumpus species. Initially, Grimace was the “Evil Grimace”, with two pairs of arms with which to steal milkshakes. After that first campaign, the character was revised to be one of the “good guys”, and his number of arms was reduced by two. Commercials and merchandise generally portrayed him as a well-meaning simpleton, whose clumsy antics provided a comic foil to Ronald McDonald. The character was retained after the streamlining of the characters in the ’80s. His Uncle O’Grimacey [see below] would visit only one month per year, bringing Shamrock Shakes. Additional family were revealed in a McDonaldland VHS tape “The Legend of Grimace Island”: He has an unnamed mom, an unnamed dad, a grandma named “Winky”, a great, great grandma named Jenny Grimace, and a possible ancestor named “King Gonga”. King Gonga is the king of all Grimaces. Grimace was voiced by Frank Welker, and later by Kevin Michael Richardson. In “Grimace’s Oddysey”, Grimace has the hobby of ham radio and often sends out transmissions through a homemade transmitter made from a colander.

  3. Jared Stein says:

    Is this supposed to make kids smile? Or scream?

  4. can’t sleep. clown’ll eat me.

  5. Tom McNulty says:

    I actually had that Ronald McDonald doll as a child and I can personally attest to its freakishness. Believe it or not there was a knob built into his back that let you control which way his head looked. I don’t remember doing much more with the toy than trying to make his head spin completely around, which it never did.

  6. Reverend says:


    That’s awesome, did this come out the same year as the Exorcist? Actually, it came out a year earlier, which makes me think it may have inspired the movie 🙂

  7. Brad says:

    I had some of these. Mayor McCheese looked freaky naked.

    @Tom, I totally forgot about the knobs on their backs until you mentioned it. The memories come flooding back.

  8. kristin forrester says:

    I still have this set stored away. Loved it as a child. characters were a little freaky.

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