Big as life mascot for kids and adults alike!

Here in the United States, McDonald’s restaurants stand out from coast to coast. The huge golden arches tower over the landscape along the freeways and uptown where real estate sells by the square inch.

How did a small hamburger stand in San Bernardino, California develop into a world-famous restaurant chain? It sounds like a dream come true…and it is, but there is no single answer to the question. We realize advertising is certainly one important factor in the success story. However the trademark dolls and toys are only a small part of the promotional picture through the years.  Obviously the promotional items are rewarding because the McDonald’s Corporation.

According to McDonald Land descriptions, “McDonald Land is a wonderful, magical place that’s anywhere fun resides.  It is where Ronald McDonald and all his friends live and have fun. Ronald McDonald is not a salesman. His sole role is to represent the fun of McDonalds.”

Ronald McDonald is the McDonald’s Land clown spokesman. “The Friendliest Fellow in Town.”  The real life Ronald McDonald trademark, a personification of the best friend a kid could have, is the unofficial leader of McDonald Land and he made his debut in Washington D.C., in 1966.

The first dolls sold in 1971 ae 16-17 inches tall, one-piece cloth dolls with lithographed details. The head features are outlined in black. Vertical streaks cross the eyes. Black lines outline the neck and red hair. The jumper is yellow with white collar and red zipper. Pants are wide at the hips. Red and white striped socks are visible and end with big red shoes. The toes point in opposite directs.

Ronald McDonald always seems to be on the premises in one form or another. Children go into McDonald’s restaurant and the first thing they do is run over to the life-size clown in the children’s play room.  Ronald does not move a muscle and he does not say a word as parents take pictures of Sonny and Susy sitting on his lap.

There are two life –size Ronald McDonald clowns that I know of. One is sitting on the floor with knees bent the other is sitting on a bench with one arm on the back of the seat and his left foot over the right knee. Both have yellow jump suits with whit collars and pockets. The leggings and sleeves are red and white stripe. Anyone will recognize him as the smiling, happy –go-lucky clown.

 Some Ad World collectors would give a lot to have a life-size figure of the Ronald McDonald clown but most settle for the dolls or puppets and other toys. “McDonald’s Collectibles” by Gary Henrique & Audre DuVall is an excellent book about what to look for up to 1992.