It's really fun finding things, thinking they might be "something" and trying to identify them and perhaps recapture some lost memories.
This yellow plastic motorcycle toy had been around the house since childhood. It has a gyro wheel and should have a zip cord to make it go. The character seemed vaguely familiar, enough so to make me think it was not just a generic toy. I had been wondering for several years who it was.
There's a crown on the side of the bike and a bearded man at the wheel with a long nose and double pointed hat. His long beard runs down the side of his arm to his back, like it's blowing in the wind as he rides.
I have another similar cycle of Simon the kangaroo from Quangaroos Cereal, made in the early 1970s. Possibly related, I thought mine might be King Vitaman, another Quaker cereal character back then. Here's the Quangaroo.
Well the design, size and material are similar, so I assumed at least that these were made by the same company and that mine was likely from the early 1970s, too. At the time, that was the best I could do.
The proverbial fog started to lift on September 1, when I saw this amazing vintage fast food prize on Neato Coolville's blog. Todd turned up one of the coolest items I had never seen. This is the old cartoon King from Burger King, and he's riding his Royal Motorcycle! Needless to say, I need to get myself one of those!
[The cartoon King represented Burger King from about 1972-1976. More about him on a future blog post. ]
I started to see the similarities with mine -- same crown on the side, same wheel spokes and same headlight. So I was thrilled to assume that mine was also from Burger King, but a different character. A character who I did not remember. Mine was clearly not the King.
From that point, the quest continued. Sadly, very little information was available about the cartoon King, and certainly nothing about any secondary characters in that BK ad campaign.
Finally, I found this vintage Burger King commercial with the cartoon King, circa 1973, on YouTube! (Click to play the commercial within this page.)
In the commercial, we see a man with a long beard, long nose and double pointed fast food employee hat. He's working the counter at Burger King. The King himself identifies the man as "my former Magician"!
I feel pretty certain now that my motorcycle is indeed the Magician from Burger King, an obscure secondary character, who may be a little less obscure now.
Thanks to Todd at Neato Coolville and whoever found and posted that glorious commercial to YouTube, finally I think the mystery is solved!
Please post comments to let me know if you think I've got this right, and if you know any more information about this Magician or perhaps other motorcycles given away in this Burger King promotion.
Hopefully more vintage Burger King commercials and toys will surface to reveal more.