Bozo the Clown was the First Ronald McDonald

November 10, 2010 at 2:00 am 2 comments

By Kaye Nemec

Weather Man Willard Scott is well known as Bozo the Clown, but what most people may not know is that he is also the man who created Ronald McDonald.

Scott started his show business career on the Joy Boys radio show in 1955 and remained a co-host until 1974. In the 1960’s, Scott began his television career by appearing in children’s programs as Commander Retro and Bozo the Clown. In 1970 his weatherman career officially kicked off when he became the weekday weatherman on WRC-TV. He is also well known for his Smucker’s birthday segment on NBC’s The Today Show.

Original Ronald McDonald Costume

In 1963 a local McDonald’s franchise in Washington D.C., where Scott was living, asked him to create a children’s character for their restaurant chain. He came up with “Ronald McDonald” and appeared in three different television spots in the Washington D.C. area using the phrase, “Ronald McDonald, the Hamburger-Happy Clown.”

In the movie Super Size Me, Eric Schlosser says that McDonald’s decided to replace Scott with someone who wasn’t as overweight because they were concerned about the image they were sending if their mascot did not appear healthy and fit.

Although there are hundreds of actors who play Ronald all around the country, the company likes to keep the illusion that there is only one Ronald. In an effort to create this illusion, all actors are trained on specific mannerisms before performing as Ronald.

Ronald McDonald is still very popular and a widely recognized character today. According to McDonald’s statement about Ronald McDonald, 96% of all school aged kids in America recognize him.

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Sources: Wikipedia

Photo: partly cloudy (cc)

Entry filed under: History and Origins. Tags: , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anita  |  November 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I worked for McDonald’s for years and have another ‘secret’ about old Ronald. Whenever we had events that brought Ronald to our store, we knew we had to bring it because he was a corporate spy, so to speak. He was there to entertain the little ones, but he was also there to check up on how we were running the store! Just a little hint for those of you still in the McDonald’s world!

  • 2. Leah  |  November 28, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Love your site! Just wanted to let you know that Morgan Spurlock was the guy who made Super Size Me. Eric Schlosser wrote Fast Food Nation. Cheers!


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