Daily Dirt: McHotDog? McSpaghetti?


Daily Dirt for Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022

The McHotDog? Yeah, it was a real thing … welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 204 of The Daily Dirt.

1. Not every menu item launched by McDonald’s has been a success.

First, I’ll look at what I consider the Golden Arches’ three biggest failures, followed by three offerings I felt could have succeeded with some tweaking or better promotion.

Colossal mistakes

Gold medal: McHotDog, which was a disaster from the outset in the 1980s. This McDisaster was (thankfully)  pulled from the menu board not long after it first appeared, although it has resurfaced as a mildly successful item in the Japanese market.

Silver medal: McSpaghetti, a truly unmitigated failure from the word go, even when served with mashed potatoes and other bizarre side dishes. At times, the 1980s were not kind to McDonald’s would-be customers.

Bronze medal: Hula burger, which was short-lived in the 1960s when McDonald’s tried to woo more Catholic diners on Fridays. At the time, Catholics shunned meat on Fridays and McDonald’s tried to lure them to its counters with a slice of pineapple, topped with cheese and served on a bun. Yikes.

These Deserve a Second Chance

Gold medal: McPizza, which I ordered — and enjoyed — numerous times at select McDonald’s in the 1980s (which was, obviously, a decade of experimentation for the fast-food giant). The biggest drawback was the waiting time for the miniature pizzas, normally about 10 minutes. I think if that problem could ever be rectified the McPizza would have a bright future.

Silver medal: The Arch Deluxe, which was launched with great fanfare in 1996, only to completely bomb, largely because of price. The Arch Deluxe featured a quarter pound of beef, plus bacon, lettuce, onions, cheese and a secret sauce, all served on a high-end bakery bun. McDonald’s reportedly invested $300 million in promoting the new sandwich, expecting to sell a $1 billion of the sandwiches in the first year. That estimate, however, was off and the Arch Deluxe died an unceremonious death. Again, with better marketing in today’s more acceptable world of larger menu choices, I think the Arch Deluxe would stand a chance.

Bronze medal: Mighty Wings, a product that I am uber confident would be a success today, if only given a second chance. Back when  McDonald’s unveiled these wings in 2013, it was simply the right item at the wrong time and apparently the wrong price. McDonald’s was attempting to go after the Buffalo Wild Wings and Wing Street audience, but failed miserably because of over-pricing (didn’t the Golden Arches learn from the Arch Deluxe mistake?) and a way-too-spicy flavoring. Drop the spice, adjust the spicing and voila! I think ole Mickey D. could hit a home run.

2. File this information under the strange-but-true heading, for all you baseball lovers out there.

Rusty Staub — we all remember Le Grand Orange, don’t we? — played in 2,951 MLB games. The teams he was on lost 1,633 of those games. That’s the most losses any player in MLB history has experienced. Staub played on some absolutely horrible clubs, most noticeably the fledgling Astros of the early and mid-1960s, not to mention some awful teams in Detroit and New York (Mets).– Conversely, Pete Rose played in 3,562 games and his teams won 1,972 of them, the most of any MLB player since the dawn of time.

3. The next Batman film — “The Batman” — is due in theaters March 4, following more than a year’s worth of delays connected with the pandemic.

This will be Robert Pattinson’s debut as The Dark Knight. Pattinson rose to prominence on the “Twilight” movies, playing the vampire named Edward Cullen.So where will Pattinson rank in the cinematic history of Batmen? Here’s my ranking of the most prominent men in black:

1. Christian Bale: He provided the perfect amount of darkness and brooding. His three movies as Bruce Wayne are what all others should be graded — or downgraded. Bale’s Batman films included “Dark Knight” (2005), “The Cark Knight” (2008) and “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012). The last two films each grossed more than $1 billion at the the worldwide box office.

2. George Clooney: Clooney was in the 1997 disaster “Batman and Robin,” and much like No. 3 Val Kilmer, was acceptable at Batman, but the film itself was … well, horrible.

3. Val Kilmer: Kilmer’s portrayal as Batman was not that bad, but the overall framework of “Batman Forever” was as bad as it was boring. Or vice versa.

3. Ben Affleck: Affleck would have easily been the all-time worst of not for Nos. 4 and 5. 

4. Adam West: West was abominable in the old ABC TV series as Batman, but that whole show was done with the wink of an eye and some purposeful, exaggerated campiness, so West gets a pass from being labeled the worst ever.

5. Michael Keaton: He was just so-o-o-o weak as The Caped Crusader. Michael Keaton performance as Batman was so wretched he (almost) made Elizabeth Berkley look like an Academy Award winner as Nomi Malone in “Showgirls”.

Bottom line? When it comes to Batman, three is Christian Bale, and then there are the rest.

Steve Fact O’ The Day Much like Christian Bale, Steve can rock a pair of tights.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He can rock a girdle, not tights.

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