Monthly Archives: August 2011

Mac Tonight

Performing live at selected McDonalds restrauants!

Because I didn’t do a post last week, I decided to post another one to make it up for all of you. After debating what to discuss for my next forgot advertisement I choose something from McDonald’s category cause they have at least 50 years worth of forgotten advertisements.

Mac Tonight was McDonald’s other mascot for evening entertainment at all participating McDonalds. He was a crescent moon headed man who plays jazz on a piano which is on a floating cloud hovering over a McDonald. He was first introduced in 1986 as a mascot to appeal to adults like how Ronald McDonald appealed to kids. However kids were familiar with him and it was perfectly alright for kids to be fans of him cause there’s nothing about the character that would cause parents to be concern about. Mac Tonight’s name is a pun on the song “Mac the Knife” which was made popular by Bobby Darin. Throughout the course of 9 years, Mac Tonight appeared in a total of 29 commercials in America from 1986-1997. In 27 of the 29 commercials had Doug Jones(Abe from Hellboy) portrayed Mac Tonight. Despite him being aim towards older viewers, the character was seen greeting kids along with Ronald McDonald at various McDonalds. Along with a 3 inch plastic Happy Meal toy made with his likeness. The character has made an impact in American culture throughout the years. Jay Leno often jokes on his own show that he looks like Mac Tonight. While the character was featured as part of a hood artwork on Bill Elliot’s NASCAR #94.

A Mac tonight displayed at Greenfield, WI

By 1998, McDonalds no longer uses Mac Tonight for their American advertisements. His image can still be seen at certain McDonalds as well as museums and antique shops. Throughout his nine-year popularity, he never once appeared in any of the McDonaldland or McWorld commercials. Making him one of the fewest mascots of McDonalds’ to not interact with Ronald McDonald. I always wonder what it been like if we saw Ronald & Mac Tonight advertising together in McDonaldland. The character has been partly forgotten throughout the past 13 years, however back in 2007 Mac tonight was revived in McDonald’s third world country commercials. He was given a CGI redo instead of a guy wearing a mask, he no longer has a floating cloud or a piano and now only does jazz on top of a McDonald’s roof with a saxophone. His voice is now more gruffier with some new lyrics to his trademark song. These commercials on air in Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Phillipines, & China. In Hong Kong he is portrayed by singer Eason Chan for their version of the character.

While the character isn’t a common mascot from McDonalds anymore, he is still parodied or mention from time to time. Luckily he made a come back in other countries, wonder if he’ll make a comeback in America again anytime soon?

References:

http://www.thedougjonesexperience.com/mactonight.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Tonight

DZ: Discovery Zone

Sorry for no article last week, I was busy playing Original Silent Hill for the first time ever. And please no spoilers on the sequals, remake or prequel while posting please or it will be deleted. I don’t want to brag to all of you how I heard spoilers on Final Fantasy 7 before actually playing it. Anyways now for the article. If you remenber going to this as a kid under the age of 12 then you are between the Ages of 18-34. If you were born after the late 90s, then it wouldn’t of been possible for you to know about the exsistence of this amazing place. For those who know what I’m talking about, be prepared for an article about commercials and ads on a place that was worth visiting multiple times as a kid in the 90s. For those who haven’t a clue what the heck DZ is, don’t worry you’ll be getting a history lesson on something that hasn’t been seen since 12 years ago. For I was one of the million passionate fans of this place when it was still running and active.

With alternate text.

So that way they won't get sued.

This is what it was like to see a DZ in business.

The history of DZ is a rare subject after some research I came across a few resources to confirm the place’s official estiblishment. The origin of the DZ industry began in 1989 when four individuals named Ronald Matsch, Jim Jorgensen, Mike Geselbracht and Dr. David Schoenstadt came up with the idea of a chain of entertainment facilties for kids to enjoy. The first official DZ opened in Lenexa, Kansas around January 1990. The town was known for being one of the 26 best small towns in America, back when DZ first opened the population of Lenexa was only 34,034. To start off business, DZ was first sponsored and supported by famous female tennis player Billie Jean King. Within fiver years, the population of DZ buildings already increased to 500 locations throughout the U.S.

This is the lobby of which you'd check in.

This is where you place your shoes at.

The place where you'd eat or watch FoxKids on TV.

By 1994, DZ merged it’s operations with Blockbuster Video to promote various offers involving renting videos. Among the other collabarations I recalled from DZ, I recalled a few from memory and from what I found on Youtube. The earliest one was in 1993 when they pass out a Nick theme activity with five of their Nicktoons(back when they only had a handfull of their own cartoons). It not only had Doug, Rugrats, & Ren & Stimpy in the activity books, but two cartoons that were both new cartoons at the time. Which were Rocko’s Modern Life & Real Monsters. I recognized Doug, Rugrats, & Ren & Stimpy, but those two shows were the only ones I didn’t recognized in the actitivity book. But it wasn’t long until I saw both of the shows on Nick and both became new favorites. I can still remenber when I obtain this book, I would make up the names of the three main characters of Real Monsters. Since this was before I saw the cartoon, I didn’t know their names unless their names were labeled in the book. If so it was before I knew how to read. Before I knew it was Ickis, Krum, & Oblina I called them Toads, Boss, & Nakey. Yeah, I know but back then it was before I learn to never make up a name for a character unless it already had one.

Green instead of Red.

Black Ranger & White Ranger from Season 2 of MMPR.

The first 5 Nicktoons!

The average DZ facilties would all have the similar or the same arcitexture. The play areas would usually have ball pits, roller slides, foam climbing mountain, foam block climbing, and moon bounce. After the many previous times I went there as a kid, I always loved the roller slide and the foam climbing blocks the most. I remenber playing around on those two courses the most until I was sweating bullets. Also for a reminder to those who don’t know this is back when ball pits weren’t considered a liability to family facilties and play areas. Ever since a new discovery was made in the early 2000’s that keeping the ball pits sanitized and preventing kids from stealing the balls was too costly so every family facilty elminated their ball pits. Even Toontown in Disneyland took their’s out which I remenber going to that ball pit once. I wish I was able to interview someone who use to work there to get further info on what the interiors of the place was like, but unfortunately I don’t know anyone who use to work there so all I could provide is memory and archive photos for references.

Today this coin is a collector's item.

I remenber seeing these at my Elementary School.

I rarely visited this area when the place was still around.

Other than Nick, I once remenber DZ giving away Flintstone Stickers along with a Flintstone theme commercial on TV(which I’m having trouble finding online). Though I remenber I got those stickers and use them to make a story out of them by merging my drawings with the stickers(A common thing I did before I got more professional in cartooning). During DZ’s final years I remenber they had a laser tag room with MIB the Animated Series and the Godzilla Animated Series(Not to be confused with Hanna Barbara’s 70s cartoon). I don’t remenber if they were both laser tag themed or both seperate advertisings for DZ. I’ll need some comfirmation on that. I recalled the lounge area has mini TV hanging off of the ceilings showing FOX Kids(for those who didn’t know FOX used to have daytime as well as Saturday Morning lineups). I only recalled seeing parts of Carmen San Diego once at DZ though which was a cool cartoon from the now bankrupted company DiC Entertainment.

Sadly I never had the chance to save enough tickets for the most expensive prizes.

I'm sure every DZ had these.

The memories I had with all those snacks.

The only mascot this place had was a robot that was used for parties. I don’t think my only DZ birthday party had that robot, unless it cost more. Funny thing is I rarely saw the robot at my local DZ besides all of the commercials I saw him in. I only recalled seeing him once at one of the DZ I went to. I’m not sure if he had a name so let’s just call hi mthe DZ robot. Who is the only known mascot for DZ(that I know of). How this guy operates is a mystery to me unless I could interview someone who knew. Either it was remote control or had a small person inside it. But I doubt it was easy to find that many people that short enough to portray every robot in all 500 locations of DZ. So the likely answer is it was remote controlled. Not to mention this was before A.I. robot toys became more affordable.

The movie and cartoon were good.

As cool as the movie franchise.

I wonder if any of these robots still exsist in this world.

This was such a great place and you might ask why did this place gone bankrupt. Well there were a couple of reasons, for starters the franchise was going thin with all of the expansions in locations and tried new managements. However these managements didn’t save the company as their debt was 366 million dollars by March 26, 1996. By 1999, all 500 locations were shut down and all remodeled as Chuck E. Cheese facilities. After that the place cease to exsist, my favorite place to be was forever gone. After 12 years I still hold a place in my heart for DZ, cause it meant a lot to me. Ask anyone who’s my age and they’ll likely to say that it was their favorite place for them to play or have parties at. As of today I feel sorry for kids who are growing up without a DZ. In this day and age you’d think a place like DZ would exsist cause with all the hype about parents and teachers complaining about kids’ lack of health and exercise. Cause with all the running around and stamina it takes to enjoy DZ, kids were getting their exercise without realizing it. That’s one of the positive things to say about and what to compare what it had that Chuck E. Cheese didn’t. Though within time there might be a revival of the place or a family facility that’s similar to it. When that day comes I’m sure it’ll be more success, course the only thing they could exclude is the ball pit. DZ will still be fun even without a ball pit.

Now a collector's item!

My all time favorite attraction.

Sadly, only from the commercial.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Zone

http://www.framinghamnatickretail.com/sherwood/extras/dz/

http://abandonedplaces.livejournal.com/1459899.html

http://2thewalls.com/journal/2010/12/30/rediscovering-discovery-zone-org-posted-8109.html

Nestea Snowman

Cool to the Core!

The Nestea Snowman starred in a series of commercials where it usually starts off with the Snowman being nothing but a skeleton with boots and a snow hat. After getting a hold of Nestea Cool he drinks it and turns into a Snowman where the snow just grows on him. Which makes me wish the Snowman from the 1982 “The Snowman” TV special had some Nestea Cool to prevent himself from melting. Compared to Frosty the Snowman, this snowman has more edge and has a more cool personality than your typical snowman. Throughout these commercials the Snowman has been to Central America where he’s wanted by the police but thankfully they only recognize him by his skeleton form and not his snowman form. He once got trap inside a dryer at a laundry mat, but got his hands on some Nesta Cool to get back in his original form. The Snowman would do anything for a Nestea, he would even go into a Liquor Store when it’s closed just to drink some Nestea Cool. These commercials also had a fair share of collaborations with other medias and marketers. That includes Ice Breakers Gum and advertising “Charlies Angels: Full Throttle”. I especially like how the Snowman actually found a Drive-In theater that is still in business and has a huge supply of Nestea Cool due to him melting every time he sees Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz, & Drew Barrymore on the screen. Too bad not everyone liked that sequel when it came out back in 2003. It seem like this character would have a lasting appeal, that is until he faded out of existence in the mid-2000’s. I remember I was surprised they no longer have him on any of the Nestea products. It was like either Nestea wanted no icons for their company or people lost interest in the Snowman. Whatever was the case The Snowman fell into the category with the other forgotten mascots.

The character was a stop motion puppet who always appeared in live action settings. His voice was very deep almost like that of a bear. He would certainly not be a gentle sort of Snowman like the 1982 Snowman or Frosty the Snowman. And to answer your questions I’m not really a fan of the 1982 Snowman cause to this day the ending traumatized me when I was a kid. I got nothing against the TV special it’s just something I wouldn’t recommend as a good X-Mas Tv special. While Frosty the Snowman is more watchable in my opinion including the “Frosty Returns” sequel which was animated by the Bill Melendez Productions (which did the Peanuts Cartoons & the Earlier Garfield TV specials) instead of the Rankin Bass Company. Not to mention that company was known for its influential stop motion animation style. Except the Nestea Cool Snowman is far from being comparable to Rankin Bass standards. Anyways, I think this character was the most unique for anything related to ice tea. And it’s a real shame it was given early retirement. If it was a bland character then it would have been a good thing for it to be gone. But how many Bad-A snowmen can you think of that are comparable to the Nestea Snowman? I’d be surprised if there was another deep voiced Snowman out there for advertising. Don’t worry Nestea Snowman, there are people out there that do miss you dearly and will be there to welcome you back if the Nestle Company realised it was a mistake to get rid of a cool mascot.

Budweiser Ferret

Never let a Ferret do a wessel’s job.

I know I didn’t do one last week, but it was my 23rd Birthday, and I had to get caught up with some video games including the Twin Snakes remake of Metal Gear Solid, which looks consistent to Metal Gear Solid 2’s graphics. So anyways I like to discuss the last character of the Budweiser Frog series. And that is the Ferret, whom you might know best as the ferret who Louie hired to electrocute the Frogs and eventually got fired from Budweiser for having a previous career in posing for nude photography. Like the Alligator, the Ferret doesn’t speak but only communicates with various rowls. I’m not sure who did his voice but Frank Welker could easily pass as a substitute for the Ferret’s voice cause I always think of Furball from Tiny Toons every time I hear that Ferret. The ferret is also the only mammal character in this whole series of commercials. And in conclusion to this article I present one extra Budweiser commercial that I discovered not too long ago. And there you have it, the whole cast to the Budweiser Frog series. There are other mascots but I like to take a break from doing beer mascots. So expect something else for the next article.

Ferret has entered the building!

Now on itunes!

A very unfortuniate cat.