Yesterday's blog celebrated a banner displayed in our Toy Box advertising the new (in 1997, anyway) Disney animated feature Hercules. If you haven't seen it, it's a lot of fun. Worth the time. As an expert at sitting around and watching movies, we have confidence in our opinion. Anyway, the banner we have is more than just advertising Hercules. It's also encouraging you to go to McDonald's for a meal - a Happy Meal!
We could spend hours telling you all about McDonald's. Or we could encourage you to just see the movie The Founder with Michael Keaton about the founding of the restaurant chain. We won't do either because, in the first, we don't have the time and, in the second, we haven't actually seen the movie yet. But want to. Instead, we will mention Happy Meals!
The first Happy Meal came out in the era of bell-bottoms and disco. 1979. A man named Bob Bernstein, owner of an advertising agency, developed the idea after seeing struggling moms try to eat their own meals while their little ones picked through their food. Having a young son of his own, he figured a fun and festive container filled with jokes and games and trivia would make the kids happy - and a cheap gift inside would make them even happier. The rest is culinary and toy history.
- The Happy Meal was first introduced in Kansas City, Missouri
- Happy Meals have been tied into movie promotions since the beginning. The first film that used them was Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Fans had to buy multiple Meals to get a 'full' series of artwork on the boxes.
- Critics complain that the Happy Meal encourages kids to eat poorly and have fought to remove the toy as a way to discourage obesity.