I was watching a documentary on the fascinating history and success of the McDonald's empire last night. I thought it was interesting that Willard Scott was the original Ronald McDonald clown.
From August 1959 to August 1962 Willard Scott portrayed Bozo the Clown on a local Washington DC area television station. When the TV station dropped the licensing rights contract with Larry Harmon and discontinued the Bozo character, Willard Scott wanted to keep the Bozo thing going. So, he created a spin-off version of the Bozo character, which became Ronald McDonald.
Willard Scott created the Ronald McDonald character for the two local businessmen who owned the DC area McDonald's drive-in restaurant franchise.
The McDonald's corporation liked the concept and eventually hired a different actor to portray the Ronald McDonald character in national commercials. Obviously, the character and costume evolved over time and continues to be a cornerstone of the McDonald's corporation marketing campaigns to this day.
I'll be the first person to confess that Willard Scott always seemed like "that annoying weather guy on the Today show!"
However, after learning about his history in radio and television which dates back to his teen years...I have a new respect for the man's long career and accomplishments.