Five Things – 10.20.14

1.  McDonaldland Fun Times – In the early ’80s, McDonalds had their own take on the kid’s magazine formula that Highlights made so popular.  Called the McDonaldland Fun Times, the magazines contained games and stories and probably kept kids quiet for at least ten minutes.

This cover is the obvious image choice here, it being almost Halloween and all…

McDonaldland Fun Times

…but I really think these covers are more fear-inducing:

McDonaldland Fun TImes McDonaldland Fun Times

Creepiness aside, you’ve got to admit that the effort that went into these covers was a cut above what they probably could have gotten away with.  I can’t remember if these were available for free in McDonalds or if they were a subscription thing. Anyone?

2.  Friday the 13th (NES) – LJN, they of the Karate Kid and T&C NES games, brought their particular brand of licensing magic to the Friday the 13th franchise with this 1989 NES release.

Friday the 13th

The game lets you control one of six camp counselors as you travel through Camp Crystal Lake, attacking zombies (?), wolves and crows.  Some of the baddies drop nifty items like zippo lighters, which makes sense.

Crystal Lake

The objective of the game is to find and kill Jason three times by the end of the third day, or the game is over.  Occasionally the game gives indicators of when Jason is nearby or in a cabin, and if the player doesn’t get to him in time Jason will kill a counselor or a camper.  It actually sounds like a cool premise for a game.


It’s not. The game had maddeningly repetitive music, the “Goonies 2”-like navigation of the cabins made maneuvering much more difficult than it had to be, and the enemies were pretty unfairly difficult.  Layer the ticking countdown on top of that and you end up with a bunch of frustrated gamers.


The game was pretty universally panned by critics and remains fondly remembered as one of the worst NES games.  But in a fun way! And look at those pastels on Jason!

Here’s a playthrough:


3.  Creepy Crawlers – Here are a couple of older commercials for Mattel’s timeless gross-out toy, Creepy Crawlers.I always thought these were positioned to be much grosser than they really were. I can’t imagine anyone getting groded out by these when pranked with them.  Here’s a later ad, in color:

The ’80s predictably amped up the Creepy Crawlers sell, removing any sort of scare or gross-out from it and presenting it as a boy’s Easy Bake Oven. Which, I guess, it was.  Weird Power Rangers infusion, too:

…and then the ’90s brought it back to the gross-out.  With a grinder. Gross.



4.  The Mystery of Dracula’s Castle – Here’s a 1973 gem from the Wonderful World of Disney television series.  Kids thwarting jewel thieves – that feels like a trope of 70s and 80s media, for some reason.  Anyway, as fun as the movie is the real attraction for me is the opening title sequence.  The imagery, typefaces and “special effects” are just perfect.


5.  Kraft Suspense Theatre – Finally, here’s the opening sequence for Kraft’s 1963 anthology series. The animation is fantastic.




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