Tour the forsaken McDonaldland that Sid and Marty Krofft didn’t want you to see

Erik Adams just a moment. 0 comments
TV AUX Food McDonald's Sid And Marty Krofft H.R. Pufnstuf Great Job, Internet!

In 1971, McDonald’s threw open the gates to McDonaldland, a fantasy world populated by spokesclown Ronald McDonald and his Golden Arches-loving friends. Shepherded by advertising firm Needham, Harper & Steers, the McDonaldland ad campaign bears all the gently psychedelic traces of a massive corporation courting post-Woodstock consumers: hallucinations-cum-mascots like Mayor McCheese (the star of a recent Comics Page miniseries) and Officer Big Mac, a sunshine-pop soundtrack, and talking wastebaskets straight out of the mailbox sketch that shocked America. (Don’t you get it? The wastebasket was Haldeman!) It was inventive, ready to merchandise, and totally unlike any other sales pitch for the burger chain’s competitors.

It was also a flagrant example of copyright infringement: As eventually ruled by the United States Court Of Appeals, the McDonaldland concept bore a distinct similarity to Sid and Marty Krofft’s Saturday-morning hit H.R. Pufnstuf. Among the information divulged during the multi-year court battle between the restaurant and the TV producers: Needham, Harper & Steers had consulted with the Kroffts in the process of winning the McDonald’s account, yet denied them a payday through the nefarious strategies of a) lying about the campaign’s cancellation, b) poaching former Krofft employees, and c) adding some suspiciously familiar flourishes to the McDonaldland characters. Both a jury and the appeals court eventually found in the Kroffts’ favor, the latter declaring—in a money quote later cited by The Straight Dopethat “We do not believe that the ordinary reasonable person, let alone a child, viewing these works will even notice that Pufnstuf is wearing a cummerbund while Mayor McCheese is wearing a diplomat’s sash.” Judge for yourself—as the jury that awarded the Kroffts $50,000 did—in this side-by-side comparison.

H.R. Pufnstuf’s original run was long over by the time the case reached the appeals stage; the offending McDonaldland characters were progressively phased out of advertisements, replaced by legitimately original characters like breakfast-promoting Birdie The Early Bird or the singing, dancing, and all-too-eager-to-be-eaten Chicken McNuggets. But reminders of the unlawful copy cats lingered, in extant McDonald’s Playlands that turned Big Mac into a miniature prison and stuck Captain Crook’s decapitated head on a pike as a warning to any potential fry thieves. Replaced in the 1990s by plastic slides and ball pits, relics from these playgrounds still turn up on eBay, like this Mayor McCheese statue which can be yours for the equivalent of 2,750 McPick 2 deals.

The original McDonaldland TV ads have left their greasy fingerprints all over YouTube, where you can also find the promotional film above. Produced by the company responsible for the slides, swings, and sculptures of McDonald’s Playland, it’s essentially a catalog of Mickey D’s crimes against H.R. Pufnstuf and the Living Island. For a literal catalog of McPlagiarism, Flickr user Jason Liebig has uploaded this informative promo packet. - Download Hi-Res Songs

1 Alan Walker

Different World flac

Alan Walker. 2018. Writer: Alan Walker;Fredrik Borch Olsen;James Njie;Marcus Arnbekk;Gunnar Greve Pettersen;K-391;Corsak;Shy Martin;Magnus Bertelsen.
2 Ariana Grande

​Thank U, Next flac

Ariana Grande. 2018. Writer: Crazy Mike;Scootie;Victoria Monét;Tayla Parx;TBHits;Ariana Grande.
3 Mesto

Wait Another Day flac

Mesto. 2018.
4 Anne-Marie

Rewrite The Stars flac

Anne-Marie. 2018. Writer: Benj Pasek;Justin Paul.
5 Rita Ora

Let You Love Me flac

Rita Ora. 2018. Writer: Rita Ora;Easyfun;Fred Gibson;Noonie Bao;LotusIV;Ilsey Juber.
6 Fitz And The Tantrums

HandClap flac

Fitz And The Tantrums. 2017. Writer: Fitz And The Tantrums;Eric Frederic;Sam Hollander.
7 Clean Bandit

Baby flac

Clean Bandit. 2018. Writer: Jack Patterson;Kamille;Jason Evigan;Matthew Knott;Marina;Luis Fonsi.
8 Conor Maynard

How You Love Me flac

Conor Maynard. 2018. Writer: Yoshi Breen;Thom Bridges;Hardwell;Rik Annema;Conor Maynard;Cimo Fränkel;Snoop Dogg.
9 (G)I-DLE


(G)I-DLE. 2018. Writer: Riot Music Team;Harloe.
10 Mark Ronson

Nothing Breaks Like A Heart flac

Mark Ronson. 2018. Writer: Thomas Brenneck;Maxime Picard;Ilsey Juber;Conor Szymanski;Clement Picard;Mark Ronson;Miley Cyrus.
11 Big Boi

Out At Night flac

Big Boi. 2018. Writer: Jack Patterson;John Ryan;Julian Bunetta;Big Boi.

Good Years flac

ZAYN. 2018. Writer: Anthony Hannides;Michael George Hannides;Khaled Rohaim;ZAYN;Herbie Crichlow.
13 The Chainsmokers

Beach House flac

The Chainsmokers. 2018. Writer: Andrew Taggart.
14 Imagine Dragons

Bad Liar flac

Imagine Dragons. 2018. Writer: Jorgen Odegard;Daniel Platzman;Ben McKee;Wayne Sermon;Aja Volkman;Dan Reynolds.
15 Clean Bandit

Mama flac

Clean Bandit. 2018. Writer: Jason Evigan;Jack Patterson;Grace Chatto;Ellie Goulding;Caroline Ailin.
16 Bhad Bhabie

Playboy Style flac

Bhad Bhabie. 2018. Writer: Jack Patterson;Grace Chatto;Bhad Bhabie;George Astasio;Jason Pebworth;Jon Shave;Ryan Alan;Alex Oriet;David Phelan.
17 Ava Max

Sweet But Psycho flac

Ava Max. 2018. Writer: Ava Max;TIX;Cirkut;Madison Love;Cook Classics.
18 Cat Dealers

My Way flac

Cat Dealers. 2018.
19 Cmc

As Long As I'm With You flac

Cmc. 2018.
20 BTS

Waste It On Me (Slushii Remix) flac

BTS. 2018. Writer: Steve Aoki;Jeff Halavacs;Ryan Ogren;Michael Gazzo;Nate Cyphert;Sean Foreman;RM.

Suggested posts

Other Erik Adams's posts