Many of the Wal-Mart stores around these parts have a miniature McDonald's restaurant inside the building somewhere. It is used by the sheep-like consumers when they grow hungry during their perusal of low cost, low utility products.

In front of each of these stores is a park bench, and invariably perched upon this park bench is a big plastic Ronald McDonald. Old Ronald does pretty well as a plastic statue, he's quite shiny and brightly colored, and life-like enough to make me think he was a real dude dressed in a suit the first couple of times I saw him. The pose is always the same (because he's injection molded, I presume), a cheerful, ingratiating smile, and his arm stretched around the other side of the bench, so when you sit down his arm is around you. He's quite visually effective, and a few of my friends and myself have gotten our picture taken with Ronald's arm around us at eight am after a night filled with youthful excess.

At any rate, my idea has always been to wire a speaker up under or inside of Ronald, and then talk through him from a walkie-talkie at a safe distance. Not a speaker loud enough to bother the McDonald's employees or the Wal-Mart Police Force, but with just enough volume to be heard by somebody who was sitting next to him on the bench. When somebody actually did sit down, say a five year old or a mother of three, I would say something, uh, appropriate.

Perhaps something along the lines of:
You know, all of my skin is the same color as my face.
Care to see my McHardon?
(whispered) Kill your parents kill your parents kill your parents kill your parents...
You have no idea how hard it is to wash blood out of this suit.
Hey, kid, why don't you scoot about four inches closer to my lap!
Do you ever think about somebody you love getting cancer?
etc.

This could possibly lead to my arrest, but it'd be pretty funny, eh?

Ronald McDonald is a clown used in advertising for the chain of McDonalds restaurants. He was not originally part of the program at the hamburger restaurant but in 1963 Willard Scott was hired to be a clown in advertising. Being a naturally clownish fellow, Willard Scott was successful in making a big splash with this new line of advertising that made McDonalds into a major player in the up and coming world of fast food dining.

McDonalds opened its first store in Des Plaines in 1955 but Ronald was not there for the opening because he would not be born for 8 years even though he wasn't a baby when he started because he is a character not a real person. Later in the 1960s and into the 1970s other McDonalds characters would be created like Grimace, Mayor McCheese and the Hamburgler. This made McDonalds more than a hamburger stand it was a place kids loved to go because of the lovable characters. The appeal to children was a stroke of marketing genius for Ray Kroc and McDonalds. To this day kids want McDonalds almost as much as they want ice cream.

Ronald McDonald branched out into charity work in 1974 when the first Ronald McDonald House opened. This was where the families of terminally ill children could stay to be close by their kids while they were receiving treatment. Ronald cares about kids and that was also a big part of his appeal.

I remember in the 1970s I went to a lot of Ronald McDonald shows. He used to tour with his friends and do magic and puppet shows in the parking lots of McDonalds restaurants. It was a lot of fun but he doesn't seem to come around much anymore. His show had good clean wholesome fun and the jokes were pretty good.

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