McDonaldland was a fantasy world used in the marketing for McDonald's restaurants. It was based on the "total concept and feel" of Sid and Marty Krofft's H.R. Pufnstuf television program . McDonaldland was inhabited by Ronald McDonald and other characters, which was formerly used in marketing for McDonald's. In addition to being used in advertising, the characters were used as the basis for equipment in the playground attached to some McDonald's. McDonaldland has been abandoned in their marketing, as well as the supporting characters, but the main character Ronald McDonald is still seen in commercials and in Happy Meal toys.
The first phase of the McDonaldland concept began in January 1971, about the same time McDonald's was replacing its drive-ins with mansard roof restaurants. These early commercials were built on an upbeat, bubble-gum style tune, and featured a narrator; many had plots that involved various villains trying to steal a corresponding food item, foiled by Ronald.
McDonaldland itself, as it was depicted in the commercials, was a magical place where plants, foods, and inanimate objects were living, speaking characters. In addition to being the home to Ronald and the other core characters, McDonaldland boasted a theme park of "Thick Shake Volcanoes", anthropomorphized "Apple Pie Trees", "French Fry Bushes" (where McDonalds French Fries grew from bushes), "The Hamburger Patch" (where McDonald's hamburger grew out of the ground like plants), "Filet-O-Fish Lake", and many other fanciful features based around various McDonald's menu items. In the commercials, the various beings are played by puppets or costumed performers, very similar to those used in the popular H.R. Pufnstuf program.
Some of the commercials were directed by veteran voice actor Howard Morris, who voiced some of the characters in the commercials as well.
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