Ronald McDonald is a clown character used as the primary mascot of the McDonald's fast-food restaurant chain. In television commercials, the clown inhabits a fantasy world called McDonaland, and has adventures with his friends Mayor McCheese, the Hamburglar, Grimace, Birdie the Early Bird, and The Fry Kids. The McDonald's Corporation has also characterized Ronald McDonald as being able to speak 31 different languages including Mandarin, Dutch, Tagalog, and Hindi. In recent years, McDonaldland has been largely phased out, and Ronald is instead shown interacting with normal kids in their everyday lives.
Many people work full-time making appearances in the Ronald McDonald costume, visiting children in hospitals. There are also Ronald McDonald Houses, where parents can stay overnight when visiting sick children in nearby chronic care facilities. Since August 2003, McDonald has been officially recognized as the "Chief Happiness Officer" of the McDonald's Corporation.
An author of a chapter on excessive eating once called Ronald McDonald the second most recognized figure in the world (after Santa Claus).
McDonald's does not mention Voorhees or claim that Willard Scott "created Ronald" in their statement:
“ The smile known around the world," Ronald McDonald is second only to Santa Claus in terms of recognition. (According to one survey, 96% of all school kids in the United States of America recognize Ronald (stunning-stuff.com)). In his first TV appearance in 1963, the happy clown was portrayed by none other than Willard Scott. ”
Additionally, on March 28, 2000, Henry Gonzalez, McDonald's Northeast Division President, thanked Scott for creating Ronald McDonald, during a taped tribute to Scott on the Today Show.
In 1965, Roy Burgold assigned Aye Jaye as Boss Clown worldwide in charge of hiring, writing, creating shows, media handling, training, and major events such as The White House appearances, Macy Days, etc., and finally opening Ronald worldwide for 35 years. Aye Jaye was responsible for the hiring of hundreds of past field Ronalds.
The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald
The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald was a series of retail animated direct-to-video features produced by the ka-chew! division of Klasky-Csupo for the McDonald's fast-food restaurant chain. A total of six forty-minute tapes were produced, released at various times between 1998 and 2003.
- Scared Silly a haunted house tale
- The Legend of Grimace Island
- Visitors From Outer Space
- Birthday World
- Have Time, Will Travel
- The Legend of McDonald-Land Loch
Although the series is "free-standing," ongoing artistic influences can be inferred from the ways certain characters were drawn for animation. For example, the character Birdie shares certain aspects of grooming and costume with Eliza Thornberry, and the rendition and bearing of the Hamburglar, reminiscent of Darwin and of Chuckie Finster, may have been an influence on the design of Otto Rocket. Elements of early K-C "house style" are also very evident on other supporting characters like Sundae the dog and the Chicken McNuggets. Co-protagonist Tika, however, is a very normal looking human girl of color. Iam Hungry appeared to be in one part of the episode Visitors From Outer Space.