Island of Misfit Toys: Batman: The Animated Series (McDonald’s Happy Meal Premium, 1993)

MisfitToys

A rather cool and simple find this week, we’ll be looking at a fast food premium given away by McDonald’s restaurants during 1993 in conjunction with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series. I picked this up at a thrift store for $2 bucks.

One of my favorite quotes about McDonald’s was something Graham Linehan, the writer and producer of (among many things) the British sit-com The IT Crowd, said a few years ago. “Every time you have McDonald’s as a kid, it’s a victory. Every time you have it as an adult, it’s a defeat.” This is absolutely true and captures something I was thinking about when I found this Happy Meal toy. During most of the 1980’s, I loved Mickey D’s and would beg my parents to take us there for lunch or… dare I hope… DINNER. My order was always the same: The Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal.

By 1993, I had pretty much aged out of Happy Meals… but I was a tremendous fan of Batman: The Animated Series. Simply put, it’s the best version of the Caped Crusader ever captured in any medium and I watched B:TAS faithfully every weekday at 4:30 on FOX5 out of New York City.

I was excited to find one of these fast food premiums… and arguably the best from the B:TAS Happy Meal promotion. McDonalds offered eight toys in all during this giveaway.

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Four of them were Hot Wheels style vehicles featuring Robin, Poison Ivy, Two-Face, and The Joker. The other four Happy Meal toys were essentially small action figures, based on Catwoman, The Riddler, Batgirl, and the toy we’ll be looking at today, Batman himself.

PACKAGING

Hopefully you weren’t expecting fancy packaging for these types of toys. While a Happy Meal order in ’93 would have provided you with a colorful, well-designed Happy Meal box, not much design sense went into the clear plastic wrapper for the toy.

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There’s an image of the Batman animated series logo on the bag, as well as some safety instructions.

I was surprised to find the Happy Meal toy further encased in a bit more plastic to preserve the figure… but even more surprised to find how brittle and gross that plastic had become in the twenty years intervening between this toy’s production and now.

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Cheap plastic falls apart, man.

SCULPTING

Keeping in mind this is a fast food premium, this is a fairly well-sculpted figure that approximates the animated style of The Dark Knight well.

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One of the virtues of the streamlined style of the B:TAS characters is how well they translated to toys and that’s readily apparent here.

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Some of the features are a bit soft, especially in the head sculpt extending to the Bat-ears… but I’m comfortable in saying that whoever sculpted this line of Happy Meal toys went above and beyond the call of duty.

PAINT

As you’d expect from a free toy, there are minimal paint applications of yellow (for the belt and background of the bat insignia) and black (gloves, trunks, boots, and the bat on the insignia). There’s also “flesh” and white paints used on the head sculpt. It’s also worth noting the paint on the bat insignia is a little weird, giving the bat part of it a gigantic head.

ARTICULATION

The Batman action figure in the Kenner toy line released in 1993 had five points of articulation. Somewhat surprisingly, the Batman Happy Meal toy can almost compete with that, featuring FOUR points of articulation, including one the Kenner version didn’t have. Happy Meal Bats has twist joints at the neck, both shoulders, and waist. Waist articulation is something the more expensive Kenner Batman went without. All the joints provided are tight, and I’m willing to forgive the lack of leg articulation. The posing on the character, at a half-crouch, is good and gives the toy decent balance.

ACCESSORIES

I’m going to say Batman comes with one accessory: his cape.

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While I’m sure most would prefer to leave it attached to the toy, it is removable and offers some extra play value, I suppose.

OVERALL

While it’s quite cool that McDonald’s offered a Batgirl and Catwoman action figure premium with this giveaway, I feel pretty safe in saying that this Batman was the prized toy from this line. Standards for Happy Meal premiums have shot up pretty high in recent years but this is a nice representation of the Dark Knight and would look good on anyone’s toy shelf, even today.

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