The McDonaldland Crime Syndicate

Back in the day, if Mom and Dad drove anywhere passed a Mickey D’s you knew darn well a whiny blonde-haired boy in the back seat was going to beg them to make a pit stop.

As a child, I loved going to the Golden Arches. It was like visiting Mr. Rogers or The Fonz only this excursion also included burgers, fries and shakes! I just loved eating there as a wee lad. Much more so then now, as eating that stuff today tends to put weight on me for some unknown reason.

But I have to admit, the thing I loved most about going to McDonald’s in the 1970′s had nothing to do with burger or fry. No, the best thing about going to the place where billions and billions were served was that it was another chance for me to see what my boy Ronald McDonald and his homies were up to.

Ronald sure had the coolest bunch of friends ever – a posse that all lived in their own little McDonaldland. A world filled with talking nuggets, trash cans and trees. A place I only got to visit when my parents grew tired of listening to their bratty kid on the way home from the store.

I still fondly recall trying to collect all of the promotional, lead-laced glasses and plates they’d have. Not because I’d ever utilize such items for eating or drinking mind you. My goal was strictly to have something with the McDonaldland characters on it. The coolest bunch of dudes ever. You know who they are: Ronald McDonald, Grimace, The Professor, Mayor McCheese, Big Mac and Birdie the Early Bird (for all you breakfast lovers out there).

It’s actually been years since we all really hung out together, so on a whim I decided to read up on my old pals to see what they were up to. What I discovered about their past was shocking… and sadly, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

Has anyone else noticed the evil crime syndicate that was being run out of McDonaldland?

Take a look at these biographies of the characters and you tell me. Fatty fast food is the last thing our children need to be worried about. The truth is, larceny has been running amok in McDonaldland:

Hamburglar – The Hamburglar was a pint-sized burglar who first appeared in March 1971 and was one of the first villains on the commercials. He is dressed in a black-and-white hooped shirt and pants, a red cape, a wide-brimmed hat and red gloves. His primary object of theft was hamburgers.


Captain Crook – Captain Crook was a pirate who first appeared in July 1970 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 while avoiding being caught.




Fry Guys -They are characters used to promote McDonald’s french fries. When they first appeared in 1972, they were called Gobblins and liked to steal and gobble up the other characters’ french fries.



Griddler – A short-lived McDonaldland character. He was featured in 2 commercials in 2003 to promote the McGriddles by stealing them from Ronald and his friends.

Even my boy Grimace started out on the wrong side of the tracks:

Grimace a large, purple character who was first introduced in November 1971 as the “Evil Grimace”. In Grimace’s first two appearances, he was depicted with two pairs of arms with which to steal milkshakes and sodas. “Evil” was soon dropped from Grimace’s moniker, and Grimace was reintroduced in 1972 as one of the good guys.

It seems like almost everyone at McDonalds has taken to a life of crime. And to make matters worse, the only two real “good guys” around: Mayor McCheese and Big Mac (an actual police officer) both disappeared from McDonaldland years ago and haven’t been heard from since. Coincidence?

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to question which side Ronald himself is on.

Which makes me wonder how it all began….

4 thoughts on “The McDonaldland Crime Syndicate”

  1. Jim, I still have the plastic dishes that came out in the 70’s, for the four seasons! My son used them when he was little and I am saving them for his kids. I did, however, throw out the glasses, since they were laden with lead.

    And I love the comic at the end!!!

    1. I lied a bit when i said I didn’t want to use the plates. As a kid, nothing beat having dinner with Ronald and the boys. I do still have some of the glasses stored away in my basement. I have a lot of odd ball stuff. One of these days I’m going to get a curio-cabinet.

      That comic cracks me up too!

  2. That is hilarious Jim! I remember begging my parents to take me to McDonald’s too. It was an absolute MUST to get those plates, glasses…whatever I could get my hands on! But honestly I have no idea where they are now. 😦 My daughter’s Swan Princess and Pocahontas plates and glasses now sit in the cabinets! And…she still loves and treasures them. She’s almost 20 years old!! haha

    Thanks again for bringing back some great memories!

    1. Absolutely nothing better than going into Mickey Dees when they had those things. Good memories!

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