Skip to main content

The History of a Clown


No other fast food mascot comes to mind quicker or is more recognizable than Ronald McDonald. Other than Santa Claus, no other character is more recognized around the world than the hamburger loving spokesman for the McDonalds Corporation.

Ronald McDonald was actually an altered version of Bozo the Clown created by an ad executive and a clown from the Ringling Brothers Circus. One of the early actors to portray Ronald was a part time Bozo performer and NBC Today Show weatherman, Willard Scott. Not only did he give the clown a name, Ronald, he also took a stab at creating the look of Ronald by creating a costume out of a paper cup for a nose and a cardboard tray as a hat. Pathetic? Yes..... yes it was.



Bozo the Clown (R.I.P)

Willard and his recycled Costume



However, although crude, he was responsible for giving the character a personality and help promote the local franchises. Willard was dumped in 1966 when the corporation took Ronald national citing the reason for dumping Willard as he was "too fat"for the roll and didn't give the proper corporate image. Ironic isn't it? McDonalds wasn't really synonymous with health food at the time (or now) so I'm sure Willard had a chuckle over that one.



Renaissance Ronald

The company went back to Ringling Brothers where one of their clowns worked to give Ronald his new look including the now famous white-face, put him in a canary-yellow jumpsuit which he found on a mannequin in a women's clothing store, plus a fire-engine red wig. The new Ronald was introduced to the world on November
25 1966, at the Chicago Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Ronald circa 1971

Ronald circa 1985
By 1971, Ronald had his own kingdom, McDonaldland, and was joined by more odd-ball, burger-headed characters such as Mayor McCheese, the Hamburglar, Sheriff Big Mac and Grimace, a purple milkshake that could talk.

Ronald McDonald has always followed a strict set of secret guidelines that govern how the fast-food icon looks, talks, moves and where and what he can do. To date there have been about nine actors to officially play Ronald on television with many more trained by the company to ensure consistency in mannerisms during local promotions.

Rejected Ronald Update

In 1998, McDonald’s ad agency, Leo Burnett, hired LA stylists to refashion Ronald’s hair again and spent months studying whether to increase the width of the red stripes on his socks. If only they spent that time working on their pizza and McLean Supreme sandwiches, I think we’d have been better off!


Comments

Oliver Jones said…

Greetings from Los angeles! I'm bored at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you provide here and can't wait to take a look when I get home. I'm shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, awesome blog! capitalone.com login

I seriously love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back as I'm wanting to create my very own site and would like to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thanks! yahoo login

Popular posts from this blog

Candies You Grew Up With That May Gross You Out Now (Part 2)

In part 1 of this series, we looked at some examples of candies that you may have grew up with in the 70s and 80s that hold a sweet memory in your mind of carefree and happier times when getting a sugar high after school was paramount on your things to do list. The reality is some of these treats were actually kind of disgusting but it took years of maturing before coming to that conclusion. Not all of it was that bad though. Here's a look at some more of our favorite sugar fix delivery systems. 
Candy Necklaces - Candy that allowed for sharing was always fun. These candy bracelets and necklaces allowed you to share with your nearest and dearest friends and make you the most popular kid in the schoolyard. Your friends would line up for a chance to chew off a sweet morsel off the string hanging around your neck. The wouldn't even mind or care that the string of candy has been hanging around your neck all day on a hot and humid summer day while you played soccer. Yummy.

Pop Rocks

Evolution of the Coke Bottle

There is no logo in the world that is more recognizable than the Coca Cola company's flagship product. Coke and its classic bottle design are a symbol known all over the world. It's gotten to the point you don't even need to have the word Coke in an advertisement as long as the distinctive bottle shape is there somewhere in the image.
The classic shape has evolved over the last hundred years and has gone from a rather boring square shaped bottle to the curvy silhouette it now maintains. Below is a timeline picture showing the changes over the years.

The shape is also responsible for designers of other products to be inspired by the sexy elements of the bottle, most notably  car designers. there are many examples but one of the best is the 1968 Corvette.

The evolution of the bottle continues with many commemorative issues produced for various promotions but one of the latest trends was the availability of metal bottles as well.  There is no doubt the bottle will continue to evo…

TV Cops Before They Were Sexy

It seems most TV dramas these days are either legal or medical dramas. Regardless of whether it's a gritty, hard hitting drama or a cerebral enigma that unravels itself over an hour, one thing is consistent. Sexy people.

Now I'm not saying that there weren't beautiful people on TV back in the day - after all it was called the boob tube for a reason however it seems that casting directors didn't have to worry about eye appeal when choosing actors for their TV dramas. Here's a few examples: 

Barnaby Jones (1973) - First of all, who the heck names their kid Barnaby? Your just begging for a school yard beating with a label like that. Uncle Jed Clampett, a.k.a Buddy Epsen (who the heck names their kid buddy either !?!?) was the title character in this show about a retired detective and his daughter-in-law solving crimes while searching for his son's murderer. Just look at those bedroom eyes. Damn son...... turn it down a notch, it's gettin' hot in here. 
Columb…

Classic Retro Wendy's Ads

The late, great Dave Thomas created the Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers franchise (who knew old fashioned hamburgers were square!?!) after making a name for himself with Kentucky Fried Chicken. Working with Colonel Sanders himself, Dave was responsible for trimming down the menu offerings, and focusing the restaurant on specializing on chicken and turned the business into one of the most successful fast food franchises in the world.

Taking what he learned with KFC, he poured all his energy into making Wendy's (named after his daughter) more than just a pain in McDonald's and Burger King's side. It was because of him that other fast food restaurants had to change certain processes and begin offering certain things that were never done before, like the larger sized portions (yeah - thanks for that Dave), salads and the super value menu.


The real Wendy (Melinda actually)
Wendy's was also pretty creative in the marketing department as well. Before Dave became the spokesm…

Candies You Grew Up With That May Gross You Out Now (Part 1)

Being a kid in the 70s and 80s allowed you to experience certain candies that may no longer be produced but some of the stuff you grew up with is still around and there are even some specialty stores and websites that cater to making available the treats of your youth. However, just because you can still get them, doesn't mean you should. Your adult palette is vastly different than your youthful taste of what was gross and what was really cool.

While eating some of the stuff on this list today may remind you of your youth, it may also provide startling and sobering realizations that you may not have been firing on all cylinders when making choices while spending your hard earned allowance at the candy counter as a kid.


Bazooka - Not only was this gum cheap, 2 for a penny back in the day although I may be seriously dating myself, but it also came with a small comic featuring Bazooka Joe, who wore an eye patch and a bunch of his freaky friends including Mort who wore his turtleneck pu…