McDonald's Filter: Do any of you recall happy meal packaging from the mid-80s that looked like a boat?
August 8, 2008 12:48 PM   Subscribe

McDonald's Filter: Do any of you recall Happy Meal packaging from the mid-80s that looked like a boat, and was made of flimsy plastic?

A co-worker today was talking about how they recalled McDonalds Happy Meals from the mid 80s where the package was a large boat split into two pieces, a top and bottom half. When you took the top half off, the meal was inside. When you took your meal out of the boat, you could re-assemble the two halves and it would float in water.

Other co-workers were scoffing at this memory of my other co-worker, but I could recall these Happy Meals (vaguely). Can any of you shed more light on this memory? Such as the year, details, etc? Or am I just having a false memory conjured up by the story of my co-worker?

Bonus points for a photo of any kind. My google fu was not powerful enough to yield any results.

To clarify, this is not a question regarding a Happy Meal toy, but the actual packaging that the food came in.

posted by xotis to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't remember boats.

But this may help: I DO remember Dukes of Hazard Happy meals that came in cheap plastic car containers. You had a cop car, the General Lee...and maybe Boss Hogg's vehicle. I remember putting Star Wars figures in them and playing "Dukes of Hazard".

They sound very much like those boats so they were probably around the same time period. Which I would place as 82-83 IIRC.

Maybe this was no help, but the person IS NOT nuts since Happy meals DID come like that sometimes
posted by arniec at 12:55 PM on August 8, 2008 it the first image here?
posted by arniec at 12:57 PM on August 8, 2008

This guy remembers 'em.
posted by box at 12:59 PM on August 8, 2008

i don't remember them, but this person does.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:01 PM on August 8, 2008

Hell yeah, those rocked! Had them in CT in the mid-80s when I was growing up. I think there's still one or two of them at my parent's place.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 1:01 PM on August 8, 2008

arniec's link above is exactly what I remember. They were an ideal size for GI Joes to fight over, as I recall.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 1:08 PM on August 8, 2008

Yes! I am almost positive I had a red one. I would guess they were around sometime between 84 and 86, but I was little and my memory is fuzzy.

Incidentally, I remember early Happy Meals coming in a "Happy Pail," and I remember being shocked when I had my first Happy Meal that didn't come in a pail.

Here's a timeline of Happy Meal toys, maybe the boat's in there.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:17 PM on August 8, 2008

I was just talking about this with my wife the other day. IIRC, one was a raft with the fry guys on it, and it was green.
posted by drezdn at 1:22 PM on August 8, 2008

From the timeline
posted by drezdn at 1:23 PM on August 8, 2008

I remember these. I also remember Happy Meals shaped like UFOs, also made of the same cheap plastic.

If you go to your local mega-bookstore, you can browse through books on collectible happy meal toys. They have photos of all the toys in question. I would direct you to amazon links, but none of the books have photos online, apparently.
posted by nushustu at 1:25 PM on August 8, 2008

Here is a commercial that features what you're looking for.
posted by nushustu at 1:27 PM on August 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ah, yes. The Ship-Shape Happymeal. Recently rated one of the lamest 10 happy meal toys of all time by some guy with a blog, which I suppose makes it official.

It's odd because I had completely forgotten about the damn thing for 20 years until I saw this video not two weeks ago. I remember getting mine because it was probably the coolest happy meal I ever got (I never got that many).

Although, looking at the previous pics/videos, it seems they may have had these more than once? The ones in the video I posted look a bit different than some of the others. (My vid has a bunch of odd happy meals, the ship-shape one is a little over half-way through the video.)
posted by MarkLark at 1:41 PM on August 8, 2008

From the above timeline, it looks like Ship Shape was a promotion in both 83 and 85, with Boats 'n Floats in 87. So... any of those years.

(Oh man, MarkLark, I remember those bastardized hotcakes and McNuggets Transformers! I thought they were kind of cool.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:49 PM on August 8, 2008

Oh thank God. As a former military brat, I have all kinds of regional recollections that none of my current Hawaii-bred counterparts believe ever existed. The Happy Meal boats are one that I almost gave up on, and I'm stoked that nushustu remembers the UFOs too. The boats were definitely superior, since they could actually float and carry a payload. You could wing the UFOs around the house but then they'd just bust open and every storyline ended up as a tragedy. "All aboard were lost..."

If the timelines are correct ('83-85) I would have been playing with these in Oklahoma.
posted by krippledkonscious at 3:04 PM on August 8, 2008

I remember having a kid's meal served in exactly what you describe, only I remember it being from Roy Rogers. I was 5, so my memory may be faulty. However, my parents were staunchly against McDonalds (not fast food in genera, just McDonals because "it's crap"), so I'm pretty confident that the kids' meal of my memory didn't come from there.
posted by blackunicorn at 4:42 PM on August 8, 2008

I got a few as a kid. They were great for floating G.I. Joes in water puddles and bath tubs.
posted by krisak at 7:16 PM on August 8, 2008

Yes, I remember these!

We gave my poor pet parakeet a burial of honor in one of them. The place we buried him has since been developed into more housing, and I've often wondered what whoever discovered the weird little coffin must have thought.
posted by dryad at 8:06 PM on August 8, 2008

Most definitely these existed, and a few others - The UFO's I clearly remember (my first was green, my cousin had a blue one, and for variety we mixed the tops and bottoms - yeah, kinda lame toys). I also remember cars, and a 'construction' truck, that was some sort of bastard dumptruck/semi mashup (so that they could fit the food in).

Somewhere at my grandmother's house there's probably still one of the UFO's with lesser Start Wars figures inside it...
posted by pupdog at 12:14 AM on August 9, 2008

I *think*I had the green one, and I'm pretty damned sure I had a pink or orange paddleboat. They were essentially hollow plastic shells. Still, ours sat in the bathtub for years. Must have been around 1983-85. North California.
posted by fishfucker at 11:55 AM on August 9, 2008

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