Throwback Thursday: A drive-thru in Anaheim and other places where McDonald’s Mac Tonight is still creepily crooning
He’s part of any decent 1980s nostalgia session: The creepy McDonald’s singing crescent moon who plays a mean piano and goes by the name Mac Tonight, a play on Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife,” the song which Mac also riffed on in the service of selling Big Macs to adults.
The campaign, which began on the West Coast in 1986 and went national the next year, featured memorable commercials featuring that ear worm of a jingle. Mac was brought on as a way to draw an older crowd to the restaurants for dinner, an antidote to Ronald McDonald, the Fry Guys, Grimace and the rest of the McDonaldland characters who hawked for Ray Kroc’s chain earlier in the day.
Mac is retired these days, but if you keep your eyes peeled at older McDonald’s restaurants, you’ll find him still singing away. The photo above was taken at a McDonald’s in Anaheim, California in January 2011, and I will presume this Mac Tonight drive-thru signage is still in place. The oldest operating McDonald’s, in Downey, California, features a range of McDonald’s collectibles at a small on-site museum, including this Mac Tonight plate, below. And of course, you can always troll eBay for Mac memorabilia.
Well, let’s get to the truly fun part: the vintage commercials. Below is a compilation.
Text and photos: Rolando Pujol