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

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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 Elohim

Holding Hands flac

Elohim. 2019. Writer: Quinn XCII;Jeremy Zucker;Elohim;Danny Parra;Corey Berkowitz;Antonina Armato.
2 P!nk

Walk Me Home flac

P!nk. 2019. Writer: P!nk;Scott Harris;Nate Ruess.
3 Katy Perry

365 flac

Katy Perry. 2019. Writer: Zedd;Katy Perry;Caroline Ailin;Corey Sanders;Daniel Davidsen;Cutfather;Peter Wallevik.

Happy flac

DEAMN. 2019.
5 Ariana Grande

7 Rings flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Ariana Grande;Richard Rodgers;TBHits;Njomza;Michael "Mikey" Foster;Kaydence;Tayla Parx;Scootie;Oscar Hammerstein II;Victoria Monét.
6 5 Seconds Of Summer

Who Do You Love flac

5 Seconds Of Summer. 2019. Writer: Andrew Taggart;Talay Riley;Oak;Sean Douglas;Luke Hemmings;Calum Hood;Ashton Irwin;Michael Clifford;Trevorious;Zaire Koalo.
7 Bonn

No Sleep flac

Bonn. 2019. Writer: Albin Nedler;Bonn;Martin Garrix.
8 Bruno Mars

Please Me flac

Bruno Mars. 2019. Writer: J. White Did It;DJ White Shadow;Philip Lawrence;Bruno Mars;Cardi B.
9 Brooks

Better When You're Gone flac

Brooks. 2019. Writer: David Guetta;Emma Lov Block;Ido Zmishlany;Jackson Foote;Jeremy Dussolliet;Brooks.
10 Ariana Grande

Imagine flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: JProof;Priscilla Renea;Happy Perez;Andrew "Pop" Wansel;Ariana Grande.
11 Avril Lavigne

Dumb Blonde flac

Avril Lavigne. 2019. Writer: Mitch Allan;Bonnie McKee;Nicki Minaj;Avril Lavigne.
12 Avril Lavigne

Birdie flac

Avril Lavigne. 2019. Writer: J.R. Rotem;Avril Lavigne.
13 Ariana Grande

Thank U, Next flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Crazy Mike;Scootie;Victoria Monét;Tayla Parx;TBHits;Ariana Grande.
14 Ariana Grande

Fake Smile flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Joseph Frierson;Mary Frierson;Fred Ball;Happy Perez;Andrew "Pop" Wansel;Wendy Rene;Kennedi Lykken;Priscilla Renea;Justin Tranter;Ariana Grande.
15 Avril Lavigne

Warrior flac

Avril Lavigne. 2019. Writer: Chad Kroeger;Travis Clark;Chris Baseford;Avril Lavigne.
16 Nichkhun

Home flac

Nichkhun. 2019.
17 Dua Lipa

Swan Song flac

Dua Lipa. 2019. Writer: Dua Lipa;Justin Tranter;Kennedi Lykken;Mattias Larsson;Robin Fredriksson;Junkie XL.
18 Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike

Selfish flac

Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. 2019. Writer: Victor Thell;Michael Thivaios;Maria Smith;Jeff Porcaro;Dimitri Thivaios;David Paich;Dan Book;Will Grands;ANGEMI.
19 Jason Derulo

Let's Shut Up And Dance flac

Jason Derulo. 2019. Writer: Bongo.
20 Ariana Grande

Needy flac

Ariana Grande. 2019. Writer: Tayla Parx;TBHits;Victoria Monét;Ariana Grande.

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