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Politically Incorrect Sci-Fi: Klingons Hawk Happy Meals

In 1979, anthropological study of Klingon culture was still at its nascent stages, which resulted in racially biased advertisements like this Star Trek themed McDonald’s Happy Meal spot from 1979. Make no mistake: This is the sci-fi equivalent of the early 20th century’s ooga-booga black face minstrel acts.

Nowadays, we understand that underneath the ridged forehead, the protruding lower jaw, and the breath stinking of blood wine, the average Klingon is a noble poet-warrior. Klingon racial leaders like Worf have shown us all that far from the inhuman extra-terrestrial savages they first appeared to be, the Klingon is as sensitive and proud as any Earthling.

But if this commercial is to be believed, things were different back in 1979. Klingon actors were still having difficulty breaking into Hollywood, and commercials like this were the result. If you wanted a Klingon for your ad, you didn’t hire a real Klingon. You just stapled a raccoon’s spinal column to a guy’s forehead, slathered him in mocha paint, got him so drunk he started screaming gibberish–and then you started rolling the camera. Thank god we’re more progressive now.

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