The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald is a children's direct-to-video series of six 40-minute animated features produced by Klasky Csupo in association with the McDonald's Corporation from October 9, 1998 to January 30, 2003, centering on McDonald's corporate mascot Ronald McDonald and his friends in McDonaldland.
Although the series is "free-standing", ongoing artistic influences can be inferred from the way certain characters were drawn for animation similar to the animation from fellow Klasky Csupo series Rugrats, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Wild Thornberrys and Rocket Power. For example, the character Birdie shares certain aspects of grooming and costume with Eliza Thornberry and Lil DeVille while her pigtails are reminiscent of Angelica Pickles (albeit dark brown rather than blonde) and the rendition and bearing of the Hamburglar, reminiscent of Darwin and of Chuckie Finster, may have been an influence on the design of Otto Rocket. Grimace, however has no change, but his personality is similar to Chuckie Finster. Elements of early K-C "house style" are also very evident on other supporting characters like Sundae the dog and the Chicken McNuggets. Iam Hungry appeared in one part of the episode "Visitors from Outer Space". Also, Mayor McCheese made an appearance in the final two episodes.
A new character named Franklin was also introduced in the first episode "Scared Silly" as the son of Dr. Quizzical (a scientist who was the inventor of Hamburglar's "Quizzical Bear Call" that was seen earlier in that one episode). Tika was also included as a human sidekick to Ronald McDonald in the first and fourth episodes. In "Scared Silly" and "The Monster O' McDonaldland Loch" Ronald is seen driving a sarcastic anthropomorphic car called the McSplorer.
Mark and Bob Mothersbaugh, best known for composing the music of Rugrats (another Klasky Csupo series), composed the music of the series. John Holmquist, who has directed some Rugrats episodes, directed all six episodes of the series. The artistic style of the series has a similar look to Rugrats and Rocket Power. Interestingly, the background music was recycled from later episodes of Rugrats.
All episodes begin and end with a live-action sequence (similar to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!).
By various accounts, the titles turned out to be rather popular, and individual McDonald's locations frequently ran out of tapes which were sold individually for $3.49 and could be bought with a small vanilla ice cream cone or a small Diet Coke. Klasky Csupo therefore agreed to carry them for direct sale at their online gift shop which closed in the fall of 2005.
Preceding the series was a 30-minute animated special from Hi-Tops Video titled The Adventures of Ronald McDonald: McTreasure Island, released on February 7, 1990 on VHS. The animation was not in the Klasky Csupo style but rather in the style of the costumed live action characters and other company artwork. DiC Entertainment animated the special that year, which featured an appearance by older McDonald's character Captain Crook.
In 1999 a Happy Meal was released at the restaurant chain featuring Lego vehicles for children to build. The front of each vehicle had an image of one of the McDonaldland characters in the Klasky Csupo style as depicted in the series.
The first episode Scared Silly was released on October 9, 1998. In this episode, Ronald and his friends go on a camping trip in the Far-Flung Forest where Ronald discovers an old house which he assumes is haunted by a ghost called the Far-Flung Phantom. The campers are forced to stay in the old house due to the stormy weather where a holographic head named Franklin leads them through a challenging game which will eventually help them to escape. Tika, Hamburglar, and Birdie fail each riddle leaving only Ronald, Grimace, and Sundae to solve the final one, which they do. The holographic head turns out to be a child named Franklin programming the game with help from Tika (who wanted to give Ronald a challenge) and the McNuggets in a lab room. After Ronald gets a "You Win" out of Franklin, the scientist Dr. Quizzical returns to catch his son Franklin in the act and releases the others from their traps. Upon the group officially meeting Dr. Quizzical, he stated that he had to leave the lecture when he saw lightning on the mountain and that Franklin has done something like this before. Franklin apologizes to Ronald for his actions and is allowed to join their camping trip.
Ronald and Sundae go down the inner tube slide. This is the only episode to feature the Fry Kids.
The second episode The Legend of Grimace Island was released on January 22, 1999. In this episode, Ronald and the gang go out on a journey to Grimace Island where Grimace's species are discovered. Grimace previously received a letter which was actually written by the pirate captain One-Eyed Sally and her first mate Blather. The two pirates follow them to capture the treasure on the island.
Ronald and Sundae go down the ball pit slide. Tika was absent in this episode. The Fry Kids are no longer included in the video series.
The third episode The Visitors From Outer Space was released in April 1999. Originally advertised under the title "Ronald McDonald and the Visitors from Outer Space" when the trailer was shown on its predecessor's VHS release the title was then abbreviated to "The Visitors from Outer Space" when the volume was released. In this episode, Hamburglar tricks the gang to believe that aliens have come to Earth so he can steal the McDonaldland hamburgers. The gang loses their trust in him which was followed by the Hamburglar being captured by actual aliens. Ronald and his friends go on a mission to rescue him even though they were angry at his pranks.
Tika and Franklin were absent in this episode. Ronald and Sundae go down the ball pit slide for the last time, as this is the last episode to have the original introduction and closing. It is also the last episode where Sundae appears in the live-action segments. Prior to this episode, there was a Rugrats episode with the same title.
The fourth episode Birthday World was released on March 30, 2001. In this episode, It is Ronald's birthday and Hamburglar is upset that he didn't get Ronald a birthday present until an evil scientist named Professor Thaddeus J. Pinchworm gives him tickets to a fake amusement park called Birthday World. They no longer fall for the rides' poor designs and construction until they ride a rollercoaster which turns them into babies.
Tika returns in this episode. This episode marks the final appearance of Tika. A new opening sequence was made for this episode and the next two. As a result, Sundae no longer appears in the live-action segments and isn't be seen going down the ball pit slide.
The fifth episode Have Time, Will Travel was released on September 7, 2001. In this episode, Ronald and his pals stumble across a time machine while helping Franklin clean up his father's lab. Hamburglar dreams up a crazy scheme to use the time machine to get out of cleaning and they end up getting lost in time. Their time travel adventures take them to prehistoric times where the time machine is nearly digested by a Tyrannosaurus and they meet their cavemen ancestors, medieval times where they impress the crabby Monarch/King Murray with a musical number to save captured Birdie, the wild wild west where they discover Hamburglar's ancestor Henry H. Burglar II who the residents mistake Hamburglar for him and the disco era of the '70s where they briefly encounter Mayor McCheese. All three of the McNuggets are absent in this episode. This episode marks the final appearance of Franklin. This is the only episode to feature Mayor McCheese and time travel. This is also the only episode where all three of the McNuggets are absent in a episode.
The sixth and final episode The Monster O' McDonaldland Loch was released exclusively on the Klasky Csupo site on January 30, 2003, making it the rarest of all six episodes. In this episode, the gang travels to a Scottish expedition known as Ol’ McDonaldland Loch where Sundae's cousin Scotty lives. They also come across a plot by a mad scientist named Stiles and his assistant Pip attempt to build a replica of the Loch Ness Monster in order to make money from the discovery. Birdie befriends the Loch Ness Monster named Simon who wants his existence to be kept a secret.
It is also Christine Cavanaugh's final acting role as it was released approximately two years after her retirement and eleven years before her death in 2014.
CastVoice talent on the series includes K-C veterans Christine Cavanaugh, Kath Soucie and Charlie Adler. The role of Ronald McDonald is credited as "Himself."Voice talent on the episodes includes K-C veterans Christine Cavanaugh, Kath Soucie, and Charlie Adler. The role of Ronald McDonald is credited as "Himself."
- Jack Doepke as Ronald McDonald (ep. 1-3)
- David Hussey - Ronald McDonald (ep. 4-6)
- Charlie Adler - Hamburglar, McNugget #3 and McSplorer
- Pamela Adlon - McNugget #2
- Dee Bradley Baker - Voice of Sundae, TV Monitor
- Christine Cavanaugh - Birdie the Early Bird
- Jazmine A. Corona - Tika
- Jim Cummings - Announcer
- Nika Futterman - Fry Kid #3
- Paul Greenberg - Fry Kid #2
- Alex D. Linz - Franklin
- Lisa Raggio - McNugget #2
- Kevin Michael Richardson - Grimace, King Gunga (ep. 2)
- Kath Soucie - Fry Kid #1
- Verne Troyer - Sundae
- Jeff Bennett - TV Man (ep. 1), Knight #1 (ep. 5)
- Gregg Berger - Barber, Fat Man, Foodfight Walla (ep. 3)
- Corey Burton - Bug, Mob Man #1 (ep. 5)
- David Eccles - Bear (ep. 1)
- Bill Farmer - Knight #2, Mob Leader (ep. 5)
- Henry Gibson - Blue Planet (ep. 3)
- Billie Hayes - One-Eyed Sally (ep. 2)
- Bob Joles - Mayor McCheese, Mob Man #2, Knight (ep. 5)
- Carol Kane - Org's Mom (ep. 3)
- Maurice LaMarche - Dr. Quizzical (ep. 1, ep. 5), Burger Chef, Knight (ep. 4)
- Jeff Lupetin - Iam Hungry (ep. 3)
- Julie Merrill - TV Woman (ep. 1)
- Tom Kenny as Elderly Man
- Richard Moll - Org's Dad (ep. 3)
- Patrick Pinney - Phantom Head (ep. 1)
- Phil Snyder - Professor Thaddeus J. Pinchworm (ep. 4)
- Warren Sroka - King Murray (ep. 5)
- Andre Stojka - Royal Chef (ep. 5)
- Meshach Taylor - Pink Planet (ep. 3)
- Gedde Watanabe - Karate Master (ep. 3)
- Bruce Weitz - Blather (ep. 2)
- Carl W. Wolfe - Org (ep. 3)
- Charlie Adler - Voice Director
- Barbara Wright - Casting Director
- Terry Thoren - Executive In Charge of Production
- Tracy Kramer - Executive In Charge of Production
- Glenwood Editorial, Inc. - Track Reading
- Grimsaem Animation - Overseas Production Facility
- Sunwoo Entertainment - Overseas Production Facility