The Happy Meal is 40 and I Still Remember My First One in 1979
This year the McDonald's Happy Meal celebrates it's 40th anniversary by bringing back some of their best toys over the years. From November 7 to 11, McDonald's will be offering a "Surprise" Happy Meal that has fondly remembered toys like Power Rangers, Beanie Babies, and the Chicken McNugget toys.
I remember my very first Happy Meal. It was 1979, and I was 8. The McDonald's in South Paris, Maine was still pretty new. I don't even think it had a drive-thru yet, but we did get takeout and both my younger brother and I got these new things called Happy Meals.
They came in a box with a hamburger, (Chicken McNuggets were't a thing until 1983) a small fry, a small drink and a prize. They weren't really doing toys yet, but you would get something inside but didn't know what it was until you opened the box.
My first Happy Meal with the Star Trek The Motion Picture Happy Meal. It was also the very first Happy Meal to have a movie tie-in. There were puzzles and riddles on the box as well as artwork from the movie which totally made me want to go see it. I never did see it in theaters, but watched it for the first time when it was shown on TV as the ABC Sunday Night Movie a few years later.
There were five different Star Trek Happy Meals and of course I wanted all four, so we had a lot of McDonald's that month!
Being 8 when the Happy Meal came out in 1979, by around 1981, I felt like I was too old for a Happy Meal and graduated to a Quarter Pounder with cheese, but my Star Trek The Motion Picture Happy Meal is one I'll always remember and it made me a Trekker for the rest of my life.