Willard Scott-The Original "Ronald McDonald"

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Van West Realty - Greenville, SC Realtor -Short Sale Expert! BIC #69041

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.




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Veronica DeCarolis
Weidel Realtors - Flemington, NJ

Talk about reinventing yourself.  Willard found a way to change with the times and seems to have enjoyed himself along the way.  Veronica

Jul 08, 2008 12:33 PM #1
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Even more scary is that I am a native of the DC area and I saw Bozo the Clown LIVE on a couple of occassions.  Willard Scott still lives in the countryside outside of town and is definetely an institution in our area.

Jul 08, 2008 01:06 PM #2
Kathy Johnson

I sat on his lap on a live Bozo the Clown show in DC back in Aug 1959!  My brother and sister and I thought we were so bright by figuring out that he actually had a horn in his shirt ... wish I could find a clip!

May 02, 2011 12:21 PM #3
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Kirk Westervelt

Kirk Westervelt, Broker In Charge, Van West Realty - CDPE - Short Sale Agent - Home for Sale - Greenville, Simpsonville, SC
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