August 08, 2010


The McDonald's of my childhood is nearly thirty years old and each time I return I'm glad to see that their custom wall mural is still intact, even though today it serves as a graveyard for bygone McDonaldland mascots. After intending to for years, I finally brought in my camera and captured it for the ages. Exactly one week after doing this I learned that a new location is on the horizon and this building is about to be demolished, or as the Hamburglar would say: ruble ruble. (Yes, I know he really says robble, but wasn't that a good one?)

I'm betting the mural will go down with the 1980s-style country crafts decor. So as long as Blogger, the internet, and civilization as we know it remains, the painting will be available right here...

(click to enlarge)

The artwork is probably twenty feet long and was commissioned when the restaurant was built. The artist, Cecil Savage, was widely considered "the" town artist. He taught many of my little friends the proper way to paint trees and how to make flying birds out of letter M's. What makes the piece unique is that the cast of characters are frolicking in a local park.

I like that modern children are left to ponder why a man of science is pointing to a pirate standing in a fountain, seemingly directing attention away from the crime taking place in the background. Meanwhile all the government employees have hamburgers for heads.

I've never understood the high turnover rate among McDonaldland residents until I read the Wikipedia page. I knew they were heavily "inspired" by H.R. Pufnstuf but I didn't know McDonald's was successfully sued for ripping off Sid and Marty Krofft.

Stolen or not, this senseless cast of characters was certainly enough to captivate me as a kid. I was thrilled to find their likenesses on an eraser or a McWrist wallet. Remember McWrist wallets?

Yeah, I thought so.


Jay Amabile said...

I LOVE this post. It's awesome that you provided a shot of the mural. To me the McDonald's and even Burger King locations had way more personality back when I was a kid. The McDonaldland characters were a great idea and they endured. Even though they were ripped off...I enjoyed them. Thanks for providing this mural, it's a great reminder of how awesome it was for kids to go to McDonald's was back then.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gawd! I had all four wrist wallets growing up. Red, Blue, Yellow and Green.

Todd Franklin said...

My childhood McDonalds was torn down a few years ago, so they could build another McDonald's in the exact same spot. Glad you snapped a photo of the mural!

The Vintage Reader said...

I'm glad you were able to get photos of the mural before they tore it down. I was disappointed the other day to see that one of the few remaining old McDonald's in town had been torn down sometime when I wasn't looking.

I remember that in 6th grade my class painted pictures in the windows at a McDonald's down the street from our school for Thanksgiving. Can you imagine any McDonald's doing that now?

Phillyradiogeek said...

Is it painted directly onto the wall, or is it a separate painting attached to the wall? If the latter, it's possible to acquire it from the owner. If it would be detroyed anyway, perhaps they'd give it up for a nominal fee?

Jody B. said...

I miss the McDLT. Hot side is hot and the cool side is cool. It's that simple.

Dano said...

Great post! I love seeing all of the old characters, and I had no idea that Sid & Marty Kroft were responsible for their demise. Our McDonald's in South Paris, ME has a great 70's mural provided by the company featuring Ronald and the gang riding a train through an expansive McDonaldland. It's pretty faded but still a great piece! I'll have to take my camera with me next time I go.

Anonymous said...

Remember how we discussed the phenomena that is when you finally covet the marvel of a sign or talisman that is hanging around, only then is it removed, demolished, or changed for the worse? Case in Point....

San Diego

Kirk D. said...

Jay- Thanks so much! I think that fast food aesthetics really bottomed out in the 90s. They're slowly getting back on track, but they'll never be the same. And don't get me started on Showbiz Pizza/Chuckee Cheese.

Anonymous- I hope you wore them all at the same time...everyday.

Todd Franklin- wish I'd brought my camera before they tore down the playground, but that was years ago.

Vintage Reader- I have so many happy memories surrounding McD's. One that was nearby had an entire building across the parking lot that was an indoor playland! That's when I received my wrist wallet.

Phillyradiogeek. Very good question, I didn't think to look or ask. Hmmmm wheels are turning.

Jody B. Yeah, those were the only way to go. I like the roof of my mouth to be freezing while my tongue is nearly burned.

Dano- Yes I hope that will become a future blog post of yours!

James- Totally! I'm starting to get freaked out.

Miguel and the Detroit Wolverines said...

The Ferndale, Michigan McDonald’s in the 80’s has a nice custom mural as well. I had my 5th birthday there and have some photos that only capture fragments of the mural. It was an underwater scene and the Hamburglar was swimming away with some (soggy) burgers. The mural was signed “Omar 1979” but I’ve never seen another image of the mural nor have I found any information on the artist online.