The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald
The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald were a series of retail animated direct-to-video episodes produced by the ka-chew! division of Klasky Csupo for the McDonald's fast-food restaurant chain and about the McDonald's mascot, Ronald McDonald and the gang in McDonaldland. A total of six forty-minute tapes were produced, released at various times between 1998 and 2004.
Although the series is "free-standing," ongoing artistic influences can be inferred from the ways certain characters were drawn for animation similar to the animation from the fellow Klasky Csupo series, Rugrats, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Wild Thornberrys and Rocket Power. For example, the character Birdie shares certain aspects of grooming and costume with Eliza Thornberry and Lil DeVille, and the rendition and bearing of the Hamburglar, reminiscent of Darwin and of Chuckie Finster, may have been an influence on the design of Otto Rocket. Elements of early K-C "house style" are also very evident on other supporting characters like Sundae the dog and the Chicken McNuggets. Co-protagonist Tika, however, is a very normal looking human girl of color. Iam Hungry appeared in one part of the episode "Visitors From Outer Space." Also, Mayor McCheese made an appearance in the final two episodes.
A new character named Franklin was also introduced in the first volume in 1998 as the son of Dr. Quizzical (a scientist who was the inventor of Hamburglar's "Quizzical Bear Call", seen earlier in the episode). Tika was also included as a human sidekick to Ronald McDonald in the first and fourth volumes. In the first and sixth volume, Ronald was seen driving a sarcastic anthropomorphic car called the McSplorer.
The last video released, The Legend of McDonald-Land Loch, is the rarest of the six videos, because it was not distributed into stores and was available on the Klasky Csupo webpage that sold the videos.
By various accounts, the titles turned out to be rather popular, and individual McDonald's locations frequently ran out of tapes, which were sold individually for $3.49, and could be bought with a small vanilla ice cream cone or a small Diet Coke. Klasky-Csupo therefore agreed to carry them for direct sale at their online gift shop, which closed in the fall of 2005.
Preceding this video release was a 30-minute VHS tape by Hi-Tops Video titled "The Adventures of Ronald McDonald: McTreasure Island", released on February 7, 1990. The animation was not in the Klasky Csupo style, instead in the style of the costumed characters and how they were depicted in the company artwork. DIC animated the special, which featured an appearance by Captain Crook.
In 1999, a Happy Meal released at the restaurant featured LEGO vehicles for children to build. The front of each vehicle had an image of one of the Klasky Csupo McDonaldland characters.
This volume was released in October 1998. It features Ronald and his friends going on a camping trip in the Far-Flung Forest where Ronald discovers an old house which he assumes is haunted by a ghost called the Far-Flung Phantom. The campers are forced to stay in the old house due to the stormy weather where a holographic head named Franklin leads them through a challenging game which will eventually help them to escape. The holographic head turns out to be a child named Franklin programming the game with help from Tika (who wanted to give Ronald a challenge) and the McNuggets in a lab room.
Ronald and Sundae go down the inner tube slide.
The Legend of Grimace Island
This volume was released in January 1999. The plot features Ronald and the gang out on a journey to Grimace Island where Grimace's species is discovered. Grimace previously received a letter which was actually written by the pirate One-Eyed Sally and her first mate Blather. The two pirates follow them to capture the treasure on the island.
Ronald and Sundae go down the ball pit slide.
The Visitors from Outer Space
This volume was released in April 1999. Originally advertised under the title, "Ronald McDonald and the Visitors from Outer Space" when the trailer was shown on the predecessor's VHS release, the title was abbreviated to "The Visitors from Outer Space" when the volume was released. In this episode, Hamburglar tricks the gang to believe that aliens have come to earth so he can steal the McDonaldland hamburgers. The gang loses their trust in him, which was followed by the Hamburglar being captured by actual aliens. Ronald and his friends go on a mission to rescue him even though they were angry at his pranks.
Ronald and Sundae go down the inner tube slide.
This volume was released in March 2001. It is Ronald's birthday and Hamburglar invites him and his friends to a fake amusement park known as "Birthday World" to celebrate, run by an evil mad scientist named Professor Thaddeus J. Pinchworm who plans to turn the human species into infants. After telling them they will be his guinea pigs, the McNuggets soon correct him, telling him, "They're McNuggets." Ronald and his friends are turned into babies after riding one of Pinchworm's rides, and they need to find out how to return to their original ages, even though their certain abilities are limited since they are infants.
Have Time, Will Travel
This volume was released in October 2001. While helping Franklin clean up his father's lab, Ronald and his pals stumble across a time machine. Hamburglar dreams up a crazy scheme to use the time machine to get out of cleaning and they end up getting lost in time. Their time travel adventures take them to prehistoric times where the time machine is nearly digested by a Tyrannosaurus and they meet their cavemen ancestors, medieval times where they impress the crabby King Murray with a musical number to save captured Birdie, the wild wild west where they discover Hamburglar's ancestor Henry H. Burglar II who the residents mistake Hamburglar for him, and the disco era of the 70s where they briefly encounter Mayor McCheese.
The Legend of McDonaldland Loch
This volume was released online on the Klasky Csupo site on June 28, 2003. Originally titled "The Monster O' McDonaldland Loch," the plot follows the gang traveling to Scotland where a scientist attempts to build a replica of the Loch Ness Monster. Birdie befriends the Loch Ness Monster who wants his existence to be kept a secret. Mayor McCheese made a second appearance at the beginning of this video.
Franklin Mane Event
This volume was released online on the Klasky Csupo site on October 2003. Originally titled "The Mane Event Old,"the plot follows the gang traveling to Scotland where a scientist attempts to build a replica of The Big Brown Lions. Birdie friends The Big Brown Lions who wants his existence to be kept a secret. Large Hamburglar made a at Little Ship made a second appearance at the beginning of this video.
There were two opening sequences created. The original three videos featured a female singer, with video footage featuring Ronald McDonald and Sundae's daily morning routine, which begins with one of their Rube Goldberg-esque alarm clock inventions ringing, and ending with Ronald choosing the outfit that he will wear (eventually leading to his famous yellow jumpsuit that Sundae agrees on). During the footage, Ronald wipes off animated wall portraits of him and the other primary three characters, each shown as they appear in their commercial/advertising appearance from the late 1980s. When Ronald wipes the pictures off individually, they flip over and reveal their caricatures from Klasky Csupo. During the montage, the female performer states how "McDonaldland is changing".
The second title sequence was featured on the final three videos from 1999 to 2000, and was sung by Ronald himself. The upbeat song was accompanied by older and newer material from previous episodes and some clips of Ronald performing the theme song. On these three videos, Ronald appears to be on a level of his arch-shaped house under his bedroom as seen in the first three volumes. Verne Troyer is absent from the live-action sequences portraying Sundae (though is briefly heard in the fourth volume). A large change in this sequence is that Ronald is not seen entering the animated world through a ball pit and slide similar to the ones in the McDonald's Playplace playgrounds, but by running on a treadmill to energize a corresponding monitor. The animated sequences are shown as a previous event experienced by Ronald instead of the present, which explains why most of the McDonaldland characters appear in Ronald's TV screens in the real world at the first 3 volumes which was animated with computer generated imagery while during the last 3 volumes, Ronald can sometimes be seen outside of the house (but not in the animated world) in an animated-like background via greenscreen. Also, that the first three volumes, at the end of each tape, Ronald appears after opening his window saying "This is your very own clown, Ronald McDonald. Hope that I'll see you next time live and in person at McDonalds!" and then closes the window, after which the trailer for the next episode plays. On the last three volumes, Ronald is shown with a submarine telescope saying "Hey everybody, if you thought that was fun, take a peek at some of the other adventures we have in store for you. Haha! Wacky! Hehehe" and as he progresses on viewing the telescope, the trailer plays that instant. Also, the credits are different from the first three volumes but are the same for all three last ones.
- Charlie Adler - Hamburglar, McNugget #3, McSplorer (ep. 1)
- Pamela Adlon - McNugget #1
- Dee Bradley Baker - Voice of Sundae, TV Monitor
- Christine Cavanaugh - Birdie the Early Bird
- Jazmine A. Corona - Tika
- Jim Cummings - Announcer
- Nika Futterman - Fry Kid #3
- Paul Greenberg - Fry Kid #2
- Alex D. Linz - Franklin
- Joe Maggard - Ronald McDonald (or Ronald McDonald as Himself as in the videos' voice cast)
- Lisa Raggio - McNugget #2
- Kevin Michael Richardson - Grimace, King Gunga (ep. 2)
- Kath Soucie - Fry Kid #1
- Verne Troyer - Sundae
- Jeff Bennett - TV Man (ep. 1), Knight #1 (ep. 5)
- Gregg Berger - Barber, Fat Man, Foodfight Walla (ep. 3)
- Corey Burton - Bug, Mob Man #1 (ep. 5)
- David Eccles - Bear (ep. 1)
- Bill Farmer - Knight #2, Mob Leader (ep. 5)
- Joseph Fuqua - TV Man (ep. 1)
- Henry Gibson - Blue Planet (ep. 3)
- Billie Hayes - One-Eyed Sally (ep. 2)
- Bob Joles - Mayor McCheese, Mob Man #2, Knight (ep. 5)
- Carol Kane - Org's Mom (ep. 3)
- Maurice LaMarche - Dr. Quizzical (ep. 1, ep. 5), Burger Chef, Knight (ep. 4)
- Jeff Lupetin - Iam Hungry (ep. 3)
- Julie Merrill - TV Woman (ep. 1)
- Richard Moll - Org's Dad (ep. 3)
- Patrick Pinney - Phantom Head (ep. 1)
- Phil Snyder - Professor Thaddeus J. Pinchworm (ep. 4)
- Warren Sroka - King Murray (ep. 5)
- Andre Stojka - Royal Chef (ep. 5)
- Meshach Taylor - Pink Planet (ep. 3)
- Gedde Watanabe - Karate Master (ep. 3)
- Bruce Weitz - Blather (ep. 2)
- Carl W. Wolfe - Org (ep. 3)
- Charlie Adler - Voice Director
- Scared Silly at Internet Movie Database
- The Legend of Grimace Island at Internet Movie Database
- Visitors From Outer Space at Internet Movie Database
- Birthday World at Internet Movie Database
- Have Time, Will Travel at Internet Movie Database
- The Monster O' McDonaldland Loch at Internet Movie Database
- The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald at cooltoons2.com