Everyone remembers characters who scared them when they were kids. They come in two categories. We have the outright terrifying: Clowns. Flying "Wizard of Oz" Monkeys. The mall Easter Bunny with his evil grin. Then there's the vaguely disturbing ones. The crude puppets. The local kiddie show hosts. Frankenberry. They didn't give you nightmares, but as an adult you looked back and wondered- Who thought that would appeal to kids!?
Here's my personal list:
Someone McDonald's ad man had to be freebasing special sauce to come up this one. A rat nosed runt with a bad tie who says "robble robble". Robble Robble!? What's wrong with him? His shtick is his burger fetish- he steals them. Then Ronald McDonald makes him give them back. Like anyone wants a hamburger after this freak handled it...
2. Lady Elaine Fairchilde
Remember her? She was the hag that from Mister Roger's Neighborhood who lived in the Land of Make Believe. Not to be snotty, but since this is the Land of Make Believe, couldn't someone have make believed something less hideous? What's the black stuff on her nose and cheeks? Frostbite? Leprosy? Oh well, her nose is too big anyway...
Click here for another blogger's detailed take on this disturbing character.
3 Anthropomorphic Trees
The Wizard of Oz had them. McDonaldland commercials had them. Bark encrusted giants with gnarled features and twiggy arms. When I was three I didn't care how many McDonald's Hot Apple Pies were on them. They scared the sap out of me. My dad tried to calm me by claiming that the trees were really bunny rabbits dressed up as trees. This too was disturbing. What kind of twisted bunny rabbit dresses up like a tree and scares little kids? I wondered.
4. Roy "Mooskateer" Williams
I couldn't figure him out. The original Mickey Mouse Club had singing and dancing kids... and this old guy, Roy. He looked mean. Like a cranky neighbor who'd bark at you when you chased a ball onto his lawn. He claimed Walt Disney put him on the show because he was "fat and funny looking". Fat and scary looking is more like it. I sincerely believe the Mousekateer role call bit was, in fact, a head count to make sure he hadn't bitten off any heads.
5. The School House Rock Adjective Slayer
This crude Peppermint Patty knock off had a backpack of adjectives... and murderous streak. "Girls who are tall get taller! Boys who are small, get smaller", she sings, growing tall while a nearby boy shrinks to mouse proportions, "Till one is the tallest, and one is the smallest off all," she adds. Then she steps on him. With forethought and malice, she crushes the kid with her 1970's sandled foot. The animator thoughtfully has the word "STOMP!" pop up in sync with the evil deed in to clarify the boy's fate.