McDonald’s and Burger King’s Krofft-ian Nightmare Worlds

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First things first; McDonaldland is a blatant rip off of the world of Sid and Marty Krofft. This isn’t even in dispute. The Kroffts sued McDonald’s for copyright infringement over the similarities between Mayor McCheese and their H.R. Pufnstuff character and won. So there’s that. Moving on, why shouldn’t a psychedelic nightmare hellscape children’s show be adapted for a place that provides the food for children watching a psychedelic nightmare hellscape children’s show? It makes too much sense not to do so. I’d like to think that McDonald’s had this in mind when they introduced McDonaldland in 1971. Over the years, McDonald’s added and contracted the roster of McDonaldland inhabitants, finally scrapping it all in 2003 and moving forward with Ronald flying solo. Along the way, Burger King dipped their toe in and ripped off the rip off in 1976, riding it for a little while until transitioning to the BK Kids Club, but until then we experienced wizards and hamburger fields, talking nuggets and space aliens.

Now we’re going to take a look at some of the more obscure inhabitants of these worlds. In the case of Burger King, this is everybody but the King himself, because honestly who the hell remembers that Burger King had an associated cast that wasn’t the Kids Club? We’re not covering Birdie or Ronald or the Hamburglar. We don’t need to get into the weeds with the characters everybody knows. Instead we’re shining a light on our grotesque forgotten heroes.

The McDonald’s Rogues Gallery…

Captain Crook


INT. Ad agency, 1971

Agency Exec. #1

Okay, so we’ve got the clown. We’ve got the crook who steals burgers. What else do we need?

Agency Exec. #2

They’ve got a fish sandwich there. Maybe somebody should be stealing that?

Agency Exec. #1

With the deals they run during Lent, it’s like we’re ALL stealing them! Hey oh!

Agency Exec. #2

Uh huh. Pirates steal. They sail the sea. There’s fish in the sea. What if it was a pirate character stealing the fish?

Agency Exec. #1

Why would a man who sails on the ocean need to steal fish? The ocean is full of fish.

Agency Exec. #2

Don’t overthink it. Let’s get this done so we can do copious amounts of drugs.

Agency Exec. #1

Fair enough. What should we call him?

Agency Exec. #2

You heard of Captain Hook from Peter Pan? Well imagine this: It’s Captain Hook, but he’s a crook. Captain Crook.

Agency Exec. #1

Wow. McDonald’s definitely won’t get sued over that.  

Agency Exec. #2

I’ll have to remember this one for later and tell my kid Mitch Hurwitz Jr. about it. Now let’s do cocaine until all of our blood vessels burst.

Agency Exec. #1

I like the way you think.

They do a whole bunch of cocaine.


Officer Big Mac


Only named Officer Big Mac because McDonald’s doesn’t serve donuts, I assume (yes I am aware they have sticks now- Ed.), he existed as a scathing indictment of the inefficiency of modern policing and the failures of the criminal justice system. Officer Big Mac was obviously only hired due to nepotism, as if nobody noticed that he was clearly a secret sauce relation to the mayor of McDonaldland. McDonaldland had two criminals: Hamburglar and Captain Crook. We’re supposed to believe that necessitated a full-time member of the police force, who apparently couldn’t catch or keep either of those criminals in jail? It makes you wonder whether he kept them on the streets to justify the existence of his job. If that’s the case, a lot of Hamburger Patch kids had to die for no reason.

Uncle O’Grimacey

Twirl for us, you big Irish Christmas Tree Man.

Does McDonald’s hate the Irish? Or is it a level of general disdain, where the company is convinced that it can rain down indignities on an entire ethnic group, secure in the belief that they’ll keep coming in due to their crippling addiction to potato products? It’s either that or McDonald’s is convinced that all one needs to do to make a character Irish is make it green and add an O’. Uncle O’Grimacey is clearly a relative of Grimace’s since he’s an exact copy except green and decked out in shamrock themed clothing, but that’s not even how names work. Uncle O’Grimacey wasn’t even a stereotype, he was a hate crime. Irish-Americans everywhere would have been furious if they weren’t too sloshed on whiskey all the time to notice.  


Poor CosMC. You were too weird and beautiful for this world. You had absolutely nothing to do with the themes of McDonaldland, so much so that some might say you were cynically added in an attempt to include a hip archetype since aliens were big in the 1980s. Some might be correct about that. You talked like a surfer for some reason, and made trades involving random crap. But enough about McDonald’s food. You gave Ronald flowers, which I choose to believe was inspired a Hollywood screenwriter 15 years later when young Tommy Lee Jones did the same during an alien encounter in Men In Black. Unloved, unremembered, pointless, inspiring? Probably not.

And now for Burger King…

Burger King Kingdom was the Go-Bots to McDonald’s Transformers. The Lex Luger to McDonald’s Hulk Hogan. The Sense of Right Alliance to a super team not featuring Shrek and Lightning McQueen. Let’s look at them anyway. Somebody might as well remember them.

Sir Shake A lot

He. Is. A. Junkie. Burger King didn’t even try to disguise it. He’s a knight with armor made of garbage who shakes uncontrollably and has an unquenchable thirst for shakes. Yeah sure, he’s shaking because “shakes are cold” and not because he’s experiencing early symptoms of withdrawal. Bleak start, BK.

The Burger Thing

I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.

Burger King seriously put no time into these things. He’s a painting with a burger face, designed to resemble that favorite of children everywhere, say it with me now: W.C. Fields. Kids couldn’t get enough of him in the late 1980s! He’s all we talked about. And I think that’s it? It really didn’t have a purpose.

The Duke of Doubt

At least when this gig dried up I could find work as a college basketball mascot.

Speaking of not having a purpose, it’s the Duke of Doubt! He’s the Burger King’s nemesis! How does he express this opposition to the Burger King? Why, he…doubts that the King can do things. No, you’re right, that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with burgers, fries, or food in general. The Duke is the Thomas to the King’s Jesus, refusing to believe until he touches the wounds and feels the ketchup flow through his fingers. This is just horrible half-assed work by whichever advertising firm got this job. I’m actually getting mad at everybody involved 30 years after the fact.

The Wizard of Fries


Oh look, it’s the Wizard of Fries! A robot. With a french fry brain. So it’s not a wizard. Come on. Seriously. People got paid for this? At least they managed to include a product that Burger King sold this time. But why not Frytron 2000? Robofries. Frybot. This shit isn’t hard. I am so glad the King sent them all to a farm upstate in 1989 and brought in the wheelchair kid instead.

Did Officer Big Mac send your cousin to jail? Were these Burger King characters secretly brilliant and I just don’t get it? Let me know in the comments, or sound off on Twitter. Also, if you thought the silent Burger King of recent years was creepy, then buddy do you have to see this!



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