Friday, November 2, 2012

Big Mac Supper Club & More McDonald's Trivia

Who remembers this?

When I went looking for info, I learned that McDonald's Big Mac Supper Club was unique to the Los Angeles area. Guess they figured there were so many out-of-work performers that it might be a draw.

So in August, 1976, at 5 pm, McDonald's put checkered tablecloths on the table--and they were cloth, not plastic--and set flowers on the tables (OK, those were plastic). They dimmed the lights to create a different ambiance. A story in the LA Times claims that gowned hostesses actually seated patrons . . . and then the entertainment began.

This was a 3-week program at select McDonald's all over the county, and the only caveat was that the performers had to be amateurs--McD's wanted no trouble with the unions, according to the Times.

Who performed? Locals. "Jugglers, jazz combos, belly dancers, Barbershop quartets, gospel singers," according to the Times. And in Pasadena, a 12-year-old who taken up the Jew's harp two weeks previously.

A follow-up letter-to-the-editor indicates that performers had to sign a contract allowing McD's to use their pictures or recordings made at the event.

BTW, the picture above left is there because 1976 was also the year that McDonald's first tried to aim ads at the African American community, which resulted in some controversy--mostly over the "Dinnertimin'" phrase above.

Back to the Big Mac Supper Club. Did it really last only 3 weeks?

I checked the Corporate Timeline, and the Big Mac Supper Club is not even mentioned. I did learn that the Egg McMuffin made its national debut in 1975, however, so this wasn't a complete waste of time. (The Egg MuMuffin was developed in 1971 by Herb Peterson, who had left an advertising agency that handled McDonalds' account to open his own Santa Barbara franchise a few years before.)

The Mac Tonight video below is from 1987 and Bob Baker created and manipulated the puppet.

Are my memories confused, or is this a redo of the Big Mac Supper Club promotion? Back to Proquest, where I learn that the 1987 Mac Tonight campaign did originate in LA, then went national--but only in 1987.

I vaguely remember a commercial for the Big Mac Supper Club in which a woman in a slinky gown sang that phrase over and over, but have been unable to find the ad on YouTube.

In LA, at least, and to the boomer generation, "The Big Mac Supper Club" entered the lexicon of hip phrases--along with "Tar-ZHAY" and "J.C. Pen-NAY"--used be those who believed they saw right through pretension and could mock those who did not. Hah!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was 15 and McDonald's started a short-lived promotion called the Big Mac Supper Club... They hired entertainment to come perform in the restaurants at night. It was one of my first paying gigs. I played at the one on Magnolia across from the Tyler Mall in Riverside CA.