It seems like Ronald McDonald's been around forever. In actuality, he really hasn't been around as long as you think--and it's questionable whether you'll be seeing much of him in ads to come (which is unfortunate, considering the oversaturation of Mickey D's current "I'm lovin' it," campaign, which really only serves to make viewers long for a Ronald McDonald renaissance right about now).
Hearken back to a simpler, Timberlakeless-time when McDonald's mascot wasn't a pop singer whose song has been remixed more than anyone thought possible. Here are a few facts about Ronald's early history:
1. Meteorologist Willard Scott (long before he was a veteran of NBC's Today Show
) is credited as the first man ever to don the yellow, red and white jump suit and hock burgers for the fast food conglomerate. He even did TV commercials that aired locally in the greater Washington, DC metro area circa 1963.
2. The now-famed rhyming name of our favorite McDonaldland inhabitant almost didn't make the advertising cut. Promotion agency Kal-Elrlich and Merrick initially decided to name the new McDonald's mascot "Archie McDonald," as a shout-out to the classic golden arches. But when they found that there was already a personality named Arch McDonald in the DC area, they grumbled back to the drawing board. Willard Scott eventually came up with the catchy new name.
3. Further proving that Ronald's creation was a joint endeavor, his first costume was designed by costumer Janet Vaughn. Interestingly, his hat was a tray with a styrofoam burger, bag of fries and a milkshake, while his shoes were shaped like hamburger buns and his nose was an actual McDonald's cup. He also possessed the ability to pull whole hamburgers from his belt. (We wonder why they didn't keep this design.)
4. Early McDonald's spots featuring Willard Scott can be seen here: http://www.thejoyboys.com/ronald1.htm