My head is about to explode. Wikipedia has done it again, confirmed that I am indeed, a vat of useless knowledge as I turn to its delightfully abundant page of information on McDonaldland characters after trying to prove to my officemate that Grimmace did, in fact, have something to do with shakes.
What you're about to read below is intense, so please, read one entry at a time. DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT read Mayor McCheese's bio after Hamburglar's. You must read it before to get a sense of Kroc-ian progression. You begin to clearly see the so-called utopia that Kroc's henchmen tried to create where almost everyone is a thief and all authority figures are bumbling fools (except Grimmace, who is just obviously a mockery of the demographic McD's markets to and relies on: obese with hamburger grease in the brain). Disclaimer: No disrespect to McDonald's consumers.
Notice: No history on Ronald, only that he is the primary icon of all McDonald's characters. This brief description would lead one to believe that he is perhaps the Chalabi of the outfit, an opportunist picked as puppet leader yet, unbeknownst to his creators, has an agenda of his own. Or, perhaps he is a modern-day clown Manchurian Candidate?
Warning: If Hamburger Patch lasts for more than four hours, call the Professor. If McNugget Buddies develop, have a Happy Meal Gang.
Finally, does ANYONE remember this Great Gazoo poseur, "Iam Hungry"? He eats everything and won't go away unless you feed him? I don't know if he is Gizmo or one of my ex-boyfriends from high school.
Ronald McDonald, the primary icon of McDonald's characters.
Grimace aka Neicie is a large, purple anthropomorphic being of the "wumpus" species (Note to self: look up the genus of "wumpus"; possibly realted to Snuffleuphagus or ALF) with short arms and legs. One alternative theory is that Grimace is a large, walking, talking taste-bud. He is known for his slow-witted demeanor. His most common expression is the word "duh". He was referred to as Ronald's autistic friend on an episode of Family Guy. Originally, 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. (Jack Tripper?? Gomer Pyle??)The character was retained after the streamlining of the characters in the '80s.
The Hamburglar character was a thief that dressed in a black-and-white hooped shirt and pants, a red cape, a wide-brimmed hat, and red gloves whose primary object of theft was hamburgers. (Fergie??) A "Hamburglar" is defined to be one who Hamburgles or commits the act of Hamburglary- the thieving of ham and/or cheesburgers. Ex: "I think the Hamburglar stole my Big Mac, call Ronald!". Ex2: "Where are my burgers? Darn, I have been hamburglarized." (Fo shizzle).
Birdie the Early Bird was the first identifiably female character, introduced in 1980to promote the company's new breakfast items. She is a yellow bird wearing a pink jumpsuit and flight cap and scarf. In the ads she is frequently portrayed as a poor flyer, and somewhat clumsy in general. Birdie's origin is explained in one old commercial: A giant egg falls from the night sky into McDonaldland, and Ronald McDonald decides to show the egg love. When the egg hatches, Birdie was so happy that she had already made friends that she decided to stay in McDonaldland. (My thought is that she was the spawn of the same creators of Barkley the dog on Sesame Street--completely useless--harbinger of death of the show. See Ted McGinley.)
Fry Kids are characters used to promote McDonald's french fries (and traffic them illegally on the street). When they first appeared, they were called Gobblins and liked to steal and gobble up the other characters' french fries. Accompanying them was the "Keep Your Eyes on Your Fries" jingle. Their name was later changed to the Fry Guys, then the Fry Kids, as female characters (the "Fry Girls") were introduced. (Destiny's Child of potatoes). They are differently-colored, shaggy, ball-like creatures with long legs and no arms, almost resembling a pom-pom with legs and eyes. (Slash?) Most of the time they are mute, but when they speak they talk in some sort of gibberish. (Dubya?) In other commercials, they all talk very quickly at once. (That's because of the crack kicking in). Their only facial features are bulbous eyes and thick eyebrows. (Star Jones?) The characters were retained after the streamlining of the characters in the '80s.
Mayor McCheese has an enormous cheeseburger for a head, (WHO DOESN'T??) and sports a top hat, a diplomat's sash, and a pair of prince-nez spectacles. He is portrayed as a giggly, bumbling, somewhat incompetent mayor with a wavering, high-pitched voice that is reminiscent to that of comic actor Ed Wynn. (Or Sarah Palin?) The character was dropped during the streamlining of the characters in the 1980s, He did, however, appear in a 1999 McDonaldland VHS entitled Have Time, Will Travel.(Or was it a Beta?
Officer Big Mac. In addition to McDonald's signature sandwich, Big Mac was the name of a character in McDonaldland. He was similar to Mayor McCheese in that he had a large Big Mac for a head, except he was the chief of police and as such he wore a constable uniform. As the main source of law and order in McDonaldland, he spent most of his time chasing the Hamburglar and Captain Crook. He was featured in several of the campaign's commercials throughout the late '70s and early '80s. The character was dropped during the streamlining of the characters in the '80s.
Captain Crook was a pirate and is similar in appearance to the famed Captain Hook from Disney's 1953 movie Peter Pan. Unlike the Hamburglar, this villain spent his time trying to steal Filet-O-Fish sandwiches from citizens of McDonaldland (especially the women-folk) while avoiding being caught by Officer Big Mac, the Chief of Police of McDonaldland. As part of the nautical theme of the character, Captain Crook used ships and waterways as means to escape being captured. In his final appearances, he was renamed simply "The Captain" and his character design made less sinister. The character was dropped during the streamlining of the characters in the '80s.
The Hamburger Patch is part of the fictional city of McDonaldland where McDonald's hamburgers "grew" like fruit (or weed) on plants from the Hamburger Patch. Even though hamburgers in McDonaldland were anthropomorphized and spoke, they were picked by characters such as Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar for consumption. (Cannibals! It's like using Mrs. Butterworth. Would you seriously put her syrup blood on your buckwheat cakes?) Advertisements featuring the Hamburger Patch were shown as evidence during the McLibel court case in the United Kingdom. During questioning by defendants, McDonald's Senior Vice President of Marketing David Green admitted that showing the reality of meat production "would not be very appetizing". (Really? You don't think showing children how to stun a cow with a million volts of electricty to the skull and then skinning it and bleeding it on the floor amongst scraps of intestines and feces would be appetizing? Why not? I SAY MOO-MENDOUS! HOOF-liciouss!) The Hamburger Patch also featured in books and toys used to promote McDonald's. The characters were dropped during the streamlining of the characters in the '80s.
Iam Hungry was a short-lived McDonaldland character. He was introduced in 1998 and dropped in the early 2000s. The character was a floating green fuzzball with orange arms and a monstrous face. He would often appear when Ronald was dining with kids and would constantly crave food. He would never leave them alone until he got fed. (See above)
CosMc (aka Spicolli) was a temporary character from McDonaldland. He was featured in a series of McDonald's commercials in 1990 when the McDonaldland gang went to the moon. CosMc was an alien who wore a large space suit, and he talked like a surfer dude. CosMc was featured as a character on the video game, M.C. Kids.
The Happy Meal Gang. Cheeseburger, soft drink, and fries, all regular size, later joined by the McNugget Buddies.
The Professor, a mad scientist type character in a lab coat. He was introduced in 1971. (Mengele?)
Uncle O'Grimacey was created for an advertising narrative of the McDonald's fast-food restaurant chain both in celebration of St. Patrick's Day and to mark the annual appearance of the Shamrock Shake. (And so that McDonaldland could have a local pub to drink themselves into a coma in, to remind themselves that they just imaginary, and nothing in their miserable existences really matters, and that no one needs anyone, you hear? I don't need your pity or your shit anymore...yeah? Well f u!) O'Grimacey is the Irish uncle of the character Grimace and is a variant of the Grimace-design in that he is green instead of purple, sports a frock coat covered with several four-leaf clovers, and carries a shillelagh. (And he dances like Michael Flatley). His design motif is not unlike that of a stereotypical depiction of the Irish folkloric Leprechaun,(or from the movie Leprechaun) similar to the mascot of the football team for University of Notre Dame. O'Grimacey resides in his home country for eleven months of the year and visits his nephew Grimace in March, bringing with him his "incredibly delicious" shake.(Do I even need to say it? Secret sauce?) Uncle O'Grimacey is no longer used by the chain for its promotions of the shake. (Because he spent 6 years in Chino for being a pederast).
Many of the dropped characters were still visible to the public years after being eliminated from the advertising campaigns, remaining incorporated among the core characters in the restaurant's "Playland" playgrounds, and in the McDonaldland-themed Happy Meal toys.