SPEEDEE, Coney Island

by Kevin Walsh

A relatively rare midday post, or posts, today as I injured my back during the usual morning routine and decided to take a day off from working at home for a well-known publisher. I can type through the pain, at least for a little while! I recently imported my photos from 2017 into Photos, Apple Computer’s photo software, and while going through it I’m surprised at how many highlights taken just a few years ago have now vanished.

For years, when I was in Coney Island, I would check on a McDonald’s at Neptune Avenue and West 6th Street. The fare was no different from any other McDonald’s, but this one had a logo that separated it from any other McDonald’s in the city in that it still employed McDonald’s original mascot, Speedee, a little guy with a hamburger bun for a head and a chef’s hat. When the McDonald Brothers founded the chain in the 1950s, they instituted a system and a limited menu that would provide their customers with hot, fresh food in a very short time, and early company promotion was all about that speed. I recommend “The Founder” movie from a few years ago, a dramatized version of how Ray Kroc pretty much swindled the McDonald Brothers out of huge profits.

In 1967, McDonald’s brought in a new mascot, the carrot-topped Ronald McDonald, originally played by TV weatherman Willard Scott, and Speedee was removed from the iconography. He still survived, though, in legacy McDonald’s locations. This McDonald’s, though, is a relatively new location, perhaps 20 years? I’m not sure, and Speedee found employment there for a long time. On a recent pass in 2022, though, I noticed that Speedee was gone and his stanchion now had a standard McDonald’s golden arches M. My thinking is that the company noticed that here, there was no M, with the golden arches breaking through the outer walls, and decided to place a proper M there.

Interestingly, around the same time Speedee made his debut in the 1950s, Alka-Seltzer used a mascot named Speedy, as that company also emphasized speed not only in how long the tablet dissolved in the glass but how fast it worked in the stomach. After a few McDonald’s burgers with Speedee, you may have needed an Alka-Seltzer with Speedy!

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.

(I am aware that the featured image my not be showing up on Safari and Firefox, as well as on phones, and am inquiring about the issue)



Gregg Goldberg February 7, 2023 - 1:42 pm

Speedee is no longer there, was replaced by standard modern arches

Kevin Walsh February 7, 2023 - 11:25 pm

As it says… in the piece…. if you elect to read it.

chris February 7, 2023 - 4:50 pm

My brother said Speedy Alka Seltzer reminded him of a speed freak.”Just look at his eyes!” he said

Renée February 7, 2023 - 6:41 pm

Kevin, here’s hoping you feel better soon!

Anon. February 7, 2023 - 7:11 pm

It might not show up on older computers

Peter February 7, 2023 - 7:48 pm

McDonald’s has lately been pressuring its franchise holders to have a more uniform store design.

Eric Costello February 8, 2023 - 11:49 am

In a semi-tangent, I had been talking with a few friends recently about McDonald’s Corporation’s IPO in 1965. My brother asked me what 100 shares, bought at the IPO, would be worth today, with reinvested dividends and stock splits. The answer is: 100 shares would be worth a little over $38 million. That’s a lot of burgers.

Tal Barzilai February 10, 2023 - 11:08 pm

What’s interesting about this McDonalds is that it’s one of the few standalone that still uses part of the old design for the restaurant and even the old mascot where this isn’t the case for any other McDonalds that are by themselves these days.

Hart Liss February 12, 2023 - 9:04 am

Sign and graphics both look much older than the building. Maybe they got a good price on an old, outdated sign and didn’t care that the branding was wrong?

Alec February 13, 2023 - 12:38 pm

This location is more than 40 years old I believe. I grew up across the street in Warbasse Houses (I moved out in 1993 and it had been there a number of years already) and I remember it was a big deal when the
McDonalds came to the neighborhood, as us kids finally had fast food nearby. Our parents were less than thrilled, however. I would say it dates to the late 70’s. I can’t vouch if the Speedie character was there then or
added during a remodel along the way (there have been a few), and now, as noted, gone again. Coincidentally, not having seen this post until now, an old friend of mine and I was discussing this location only yesterday.

Anthony S. Picco February 14, 2023 - 12:12 am

FYI: At 12:01 Feb 14, firefox displayed the photo


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.