The first McDonald’s Happy Meal made its way into kids’ hands in 1979. Over the years they would release a variety of memorable toys and boxes, including a set that contained Playmobil toys in 1982.
It was a great idea. Each meal would come with a toy and the box that they came in would be a little structure that could be used as a playset.
It total, 5 toys were created. They toys were:
- The Sheriff
- The Sheriff’s Horse
- The Indian
- The Umbrella Girl
- The Farmer
I was happy to get the Sheriff and I have great memories of playing with him and his shotgun and rocking chair at our kitchen table for weeks afterward. Well after the box, which I think looked like a cabin, had fallen to pieces.
My hope was that we would go back every week and get all 5 of these wonderful toys, but it didn’t happen. Yes, we did go back to McDonald’s eventually, but they were no longer offering the toys.
Had they sold out? No. Instead, McDonald’s voluntarily recalled them at the urging of The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) who determined they failed to comply with CPSC’s regulation designed to prevent choking hazards to children under three years old.
According to the CPSC:
Five toys were to be distributed nationwide through approximately 5,800 McDonald’s restaurants. The five toys included a Sheriff, Indian, Sheriff’s Horse, Umbrella Girl and Farmer. Approximately 10 million of the Sheriff and Indian Playmobil toys in this promotion were actually distributed from October 22nd through November 1st. The plastic toy figures have movable parts and are accompanied by various plastic accessories.
Anyone who had already received the toy could bring them back in and get a box of McDonald’s cookies, a cone or a refund. While those cookies are awfully enticing, no way I would part with a toy for a baked good, so I am happy to say that my Sheriff was with me for many years.
Nowadays, you can find the full set of these toys online for reasonable prices. Usually under $5 each if you are okay with them being out of their original plastic packaging. I have yet to pull the trigger that would reunite me with my plastic lawman, but it is nice to know that option is available.
In the meantime, I can recapture the excitement by watching some of the commercials they ran for this promotion. They were the type of commercial where they would run the Ronald skit at the start and then cut-over to the advertisement for the toys.
So the first half of each of these commercials is different, but it ends the same.