I realized the other day that as advertising mascots go, Ronald McDonald is a little unusual.
Not because he has his snappy clown ensemble that gets updated every decade or two, but because he likes to share. Ad icons I grew up with seemed to revolve around greed. The Trix Rabbit wanted Trix but couldn't get it, Lucky the Leprechaun had Lucky Charms but wouldn't share it and Sonny the Cuckoo Bird had a mental episode if he managed to get one spoonful of Cocoa Puffs.
While Ronald was pretty free with the food (like the old adage, "The first one's free..."), there were a few in McDonaldland who didn't share Ronald's food, folks and fun philosophy.
There was Captain Crook, who mainly just wanted Filet O' Fish sandwiches, which, honestly, is like someone who wants to steal nothing but Michael Bolton CDs. Really, how much of a criminal mastermind can you be if they pick you to be the catcher at an exhibition game with the San Diego Chicken?
There was also The Evil Grimace, whose ethically challenged rehabilitation I speculated upon previously.
But mainly, when you think of McDonaldland criminal genius, you're talking about the Hamburglar. If you go to the official McDonald's site, you can check out what they're passing off as Hamburglar these days. Just to prove how much thought went into it, the main Hamburglar page has him welcoming you to his page: "Who's there? Who are you? I'm glad you found my secret hideout! Come on in!"
Awfully wordy for a guy whose entire vocabulary consists mainly of "Robble robble" and sometimes "cheeseburgers." Why he wasn't called the Cheeseburglar is a question for another day I can't think of a proper subject to write about.
Because I care (somebody has to, darn it...), here is a retrospective of how Hamburglar has changed over the years.
Here's the old-school Hamburglar. Far from the cute and cuddly version around these days, the early Hamburglar looked quite creepy. I like this one. But then, everything in McDonaldland back then looked bizarre.
And then there's this version, which I think of as "my Hamburglar." He's still a little creepy looking, but he looks a little younger than before. Maybe old Ham opted for some plastic surgery, or better yet, conned The Professor into creating some kind of youth potion.
Then something went wrong. The youth potion appears to be working a little too well. From this point on, Hamburglar looks like a little kid. He also seems a little more chatty, which just isn't Hamburglary.
By the time my son starts writing pointless essays about half-forgotten pop culture, Hamburglar may be an infant in a black-and-white stiped onesie.
Hopefully he'll still have the floppy pimp hat.