Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

What Really Happened to Mayor McCheese?

Here's a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of an early commercial shoot featuring Ronald McDonald and a large cast of anthropomorphized food characters. What a production! Ronald looks like he just got out of the shower, and younger Retro Thing readers may not remember such a large cast of kooky cooked characters. The "McDonaldland" concept was gradually phased out in the late 70's and early 80's (though it lives on in some McDonald's equipped with a Playland), which is also when several characters disappeared. Why?

Originally the Needham Harper & Steers ad agency hoped to license characters from Sid & Marty Krofft's TV hit H.R. Pufnstuff. Instead they created a similar concept leaving the Krofft brothers uncredited. In 1973 the Kroffts sued McDonald's (finally settling in '77 for over a million dollars) arguing that McDonaldland was a copy of their "Living Island", and that Mayor McCheese ripped off H.R. Pufnstuff who was also a mayor with a massive melon.

The disputed characters were phased out, as was the whole "magical place" aspect of McDonaldland. Today Ronald and newer characters invented since seem to mostly inhabit the real world, wondering where their next Happy Meal will come from.


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