Ronald McDonald - Clown mascot for
the worldwide chain of McDonald's fast-food hamburger restaurants.
Wearing striped shirt and socks encased in a baggy one piece zip up
suit, the red-haired Ronald McDonald lives in the fantasy world of McDonaldland where French fries grew on bushes and hamburgers
Ronald McDonald first appeared in 1963 in local Washington, D.C.
franchise. The first Ronald McDonald didn't talk because he had a
heavy Russian accent. Willard Scott, the plump, balding
meteorologist on NBC's THE TODAY SHOW played Ronald for a time in
his early career from 1963-1966.
According to an exclusive interview in the National Enquirer
(1-14-92) Willard Scott said "I created Ronald McDonald...I gave him
life. I came up with his name and his personality-he was my idea. I
did public appearances as Ronald in the Washington, D.C., area and
even did commercials locally." Scott was absolutely crushed,
however, when McDonald's took his creation nationally and hired a
slimmer clown from Ringling Brothers for the role.
One of the most popular Ronald's was actor King Moody who was hired
by the Needham, Harper, Steers Agency in 1970 to be the mascot for
McDonald's golden arches. Other actors to portray Ronald were Bob
Brandon, Geoffrey Giuliano and Joe Maggard.
Willard Scott as Ronald McDonald
Geoffrey Guliano, one of McDonald's Ronalds in the late 1970s,
admitted on a 1991 installment of the on-air magazine A CURRENT
AFFAIR that he no longer wanted to "participate in the violence and
bloodshed of innocent animals." His association with the religion of
Hinduism (who held cows sacred) and his attempt to atone for his
actions inspired him to open a ten-acre cow protection facility (a
Dama Shala) with the hopes of keeping some cows from the beef-hungry
jaws of America. Instead of billions served...he wanted billions
He concluded "I was the personification of the meat eating for the
planet. I am guilty as charged. If I can save one cow from your
table, my mission will be accomplished." Earlier in his acting
career, Mr. Guilliano was crowned the mascot for
Burger King, "the marvelous magical Burger King who can do most anything."
TRIVIA NOTE: The McDonald's theme '"My Favorite Clown" was composed
by Barry Klein in 1963. The McDonald's standard advertising slogan
"You deserve a break today...at McDonald's" was created in 1970.
The site of the original McDonald's drive-in restaurant (first
franchised on April 15, 1955) and museum is located in Des Plaines,
Illinois at 400 North Lee in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
An offshoot of the Ronald McDonald phenomenon are The Ronald
McDonald Houses, structures built next to hospitals all around the
country so the families of young patients with long convalescence's
can be together.
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