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Timewarp: Toys R Us 1987


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Burger King Kids Club Part 1

As far as I was concerned growing up, Burger King always played second fiddle to McDonald's in the fast food world, but there was a brief moment in the 90's when it looked like the Whopper could rise up from the shadow of the Big Mac thanks to a group of color marketing icons know as the Burger King Kids Club.

The truth is that by 1989, the McDonaldLand gang of joyful clown, Ronald, pleasant pilot, Birdie, hungry criminal The Hamburglar and the mysterious mound of purple known as Grimace were hardly characters that kids could identify with. Yes, commercials featuring the quartet (along with the occasional Fry Guy or Chicken McNugget) played non-stop during Saturday Morning Cartoons, but familiarity is not the same things as excitement.

That's why when Burger Kind introduced a multi-ethnic group of burger loving mascots that looked like 8 of the coolest kids from my elementary school class, the 7 year old me was pretty stoked. In my mind the Kids Club members were like The Getalong Gang mixed with The Mighty Ducks and I'm truly surprised that they never managed to spin-off into their own animated adventures on Saturday Mornings. 

On a recent family road trip I happened to take my kids to a Burger King that still had a Kids Club themed playplace. So without further adieu, let's meet this radical early 90's crew, it will only take a minute or two if you do (aw yeah, back then we all thought we could rap, yo). 

First up is Jaws. In my mind, he was the leader of the team, though I can't find any evidence to back that up. I think the fact that he was 2 inches taller than the rest of his friends instantly made him more authoritative in my eyes. Plus my neighbor buddy, Brandon had the same haircut with a little bit more of a fade, so Jaws gained instant credibility with me. To be honest, I think Jaws might have actually been co-captain with this next guy.

Kid Vid, was definitely front and center in the advertising and why not? He was absolutely the most 90's of any the gang. Backwards Baseball cap and ski goggle shades? Check. Technologically savvy with a magic remote control? You betcha. Laid back surfer/skater attitude? For sure. It almost seemed as though he came from the not too distant future to assemble the team, as if they had to save the world with the power of char-broiled burgers (at least that's how I would have written the pilot episode.)

Snaps was seemingly the historian of the group, constantly taking pictures of the action during their 30 second commercial spots. She's kind of unremarkable without her trademark camera, but looks like she belongs in a late 80's Disney movie next to a talking dog. 

Speaking of which, the club also had a furry friend named J.D. who appeared to be some sort of extreme sports enthusiast with his goggles and bike helmet. Gotta love the bandana for added cuteness. So what did this canine's mysterious initials stand for? The answer was never revealed to me as a kid, but awesome possibilities like Junior Detective or Johnny Danger seem unlikely.

Wheels was the cool kid in a tricked out wheelchair, that let you know the kids club was all inclusive. Though the choice to refer to him as "Wheels" might be a little insensitive in calling attention to his disability. Why couldn't he be nicknamed Denim? He's rocking that jean jacket like a superstar. We'll give Burger King a pass on this one, since political correctness was still in it's infancy back then.

Lingo was the debonair, Latin artist of the group. Identified in one commercial as the "fastest draw in the west" based on his lightning quick illustration skills. That makes it all the more confusing that his code name seems to be focusing on the fact that he is bi-lingual. I suppose he could have been a very skilled calligrapher as well, we just never got to see that vignette.

I.Q. was the "four-eyed", brainy, nerd of the group, which was a pre-requisite for teams of this era. He looks like the son of Baxter Stockman from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon or a slightly younger version of another character named I.Q. from the short-live James Bond Jr. cartoon (which would be awesome). I guess there was a shortage of "smart-guy" related names and "Smarty McSmartypants" was too on the nose.

Oh, Boomer, the red-headed tom-boy who made my heart go pitter-patter. There was always something special about sporty-girls, so decked out in her pony tail and jersey she always got my attention. I wasn't much for animated crushes, but she was totally the kind of girl you could imagine running into on the monkey bars and striking up a schoolyard romance with.

So now you've seen the roster, but did you know that these rad kids also appeared in some very unique toys delivered in between salty french fries and cheeseburgers? Check out part 2 for a look back at the Kids Club crew themed toys that added to the mythos of these spunky fast food mascots.
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