Carl’s Jr. has over the years used various gimmicks, mascots, and slogans to promote their food. But today, I’m going to talk about this series of commercials from the early-mid 90’s which I like to call the Happy & Carl Karcher series. I know what you’re thinking “The star of Carl’s Jr. wasn’t named Carl Jr.?”, fraid not at one point in time the star was a living breathing character named Happy. However I don’t recall ever hearing any body talking about these commercials so that’s why the name Happy didn’t catch on to the public. Which thus to this day people only refer to the star as Carl Jr. So I like to present this article dedicating to both Happy the Star & the original founder of Carl’s Jr., Carl Nicholas Karcher(may he rest in peace).
You know how Carl’s Jr. commercials usually are accompanied by gimmicks. Well this series of commercials makes fun of gimmick use where each one has to do with Happy the Star trying to do a gimmick for a Carl’s Jr. commercial, except Carl Karcher wasn’t interested in doing any such thing for the commercials and feels it’s better to just advertise the food and nothing else. The first four commercials had to do with Happy & Carl being interview on what they are currently serving at their restaurant, what meal is healthy to eat(which Carl replies the Terriyaki Chicken Sandwich), acceptance of paying meals with ATM Cards(Explore & Interlink for example), & the advertisement of the Dijon Swiss Burger. The rest of the commercials are set at either a local restaurant or somewhere else to match the theme of the commercial. Happy would often be seen trying to convince Carl that their commercials need gimmicks cause that’s how all fast food establishments advertise their own products these days. However Carl will remain loyal to what he’s doing cause he believe that customers will only be interested in the food and nothing else that is associated with the products. The commercials often have the slogan “Go for the food” and sometimes end with Happy going up to a Carl’s Jr. sign and turn into the logo we all know. After no more than 12 commercials, this series quickly went off the air, sometime in the mid 90’s. Carl’s Jr. went on to doing commercials entirely based on gimmicks, something that Happy Star would have love to see. But unfortunately Happy was never used again in any future Carl’s Jr. commercials. Today it seem hard to believe that Carl’s Jr. used to have a mascot for their company that also serve as their logo.
I was probably the only kid who knew these commercials existed at the time, cause I don’t recall any kid at my school talking about Happy the Star or even address the logo of the restaurant as Happy for that matter. Sure they know the McDonald Land & McWorld commercial series, but not this series except for the old “If it doesn’t go over the place, it doesn’t belong on your face” slogan for Carl’s Jr.(yeah it does sound nasty for a slogan). Which is why this series of commercials are more than qualified to be on this blog. The reason why these commercials were special, was because they were well written and did something that was rare at the time which was making fun of gimmick filled commercials. Not to mention this was one of the fewest commercials I’ve seen that had Carl Karcher in them, the only other fast food founders I’ve seen that star in their own commercials are Dave Thomas of Wendy’s & The Colonel of KFC. There’s not much to be said about the background on these commercials or even the info on the voice actors besides Carl himself. The animation consists of water colors which at the time was a common thing to see in artwork of the 90’s cause the moment you see these commercials you’ll already say “It’s the 90’s” right when it starts.
So there you have it, the shocking truth that the star had a name. I’ll do another Carl’s Jr. article sometime in the future, but for now I have some really good articles to write-up for the rest of this month and next month. Since there’s so many video game commercials, I would like to do an article on an Atari commercial which is next week. While the Atari commercial will be none other than the Mario Brothers! Believe it or not, there used to be Nintendo based games made for Atari before Atari had financial problems for their own consoles. Until then enjoy the commercials below this paragraph.