Saturday, February 20, 2010

Just When You Thought You'd Seen Everything . . .

In the early 80's I worked at an advertising firm in San Francisco that placed regional advertising for McDonald's.  Part of my job was to be the secretary for the entire account team but the OTHER part of the job was Ronald McDonald Coordinator.  I "wrangled" three Ronalds for the three regions we handled.  Two of the Ronalds were ok to work with, but oh brother, that third one!  Let me assure you that the smile on Ronald's face was most assuredly painted on, and there were many days after I'd slammed down the phone after talking to him that I was VERY happy I was old enough to drink.  Here's my autographed Ronald picture.  Whoop-dee-doo.

Back when the advertising dollars were flowing, the McDonalds operators contracted with the Barnum and Bailey circus to have Ronald appear at several performances at the Cow Palace south of San Francisco.  I had to go hold Ronald's hand since he'd done this before and he said the professional circus clowns nearly tore him apart with their sarcasm and decided lack of clown camaraderie (I silently thanked those clowns).  So that I wouldn't have to be stuck with this whining a**hole alone, I brought along a small child, my friend Roe's little girl Erica.  Isn't it cute how her mother dressed her up as a Ronald McDonald accessory?

Now, if there are small impressionable children in the room, children who might hold Ronald in the same sense of awe and wonder as they do Santa and the Easter Bunny, you might want to avert their eyes for this next photo.  Every other year, the Ronalds and their coordinator (me) would travel to the main Western Region office in LA for a Ronald Seminar.   Then the following year would be the huge Ronald McDonald National Convenion held at Hamburger University in Illinois.  (We went to that, too, along with the girl--an 18 year old little person--who suited up as the Hamburglar at the Ronald Meet & Greets.  She was supposed to room with me but chose instead to, shall we say, "do the boogaloo" with a different Ronald every night we were there).   But back at the LA seminar, one of the meetings was for the national Ronald (not the TV Ronald--the guy who played him was an actual actor and didn't associate with the field Ronalds)
to critique each Ronald's makeup application.  You were supposed to follow strict guidelines set down by the Corporation and could get into a lot of trouble if your wig and makeup didn't conform.

But hey, Burger King has that giganto-headed mute King and Wendy's has a squeaky-voiced spikey-pigtail cartoon and Domino's used to have that awful devil-looking mascot.  The only ad agency that ever got it right was the one that brought us the smartass Chihuahua announcing that he "Yo quiero'd Taco Bell". 

Have a great weekend!


  1. Wow...What great insight! And.. I'll never look at Ronald and the Hamburgler the same way ever again. LOL!

  2. How funny.

    I remember some scandal years ago about Ronald being, well, "preferring" the company of men. But of course there was more than one Ronald, so I'm not sure what that rumor was all about.

    I'm diggin' the Ronald in the dark blue pants heehee...

    Interesting insight as always about your life!

  3. My eyes! OMG, my eyes! That last picture! I am scarred forever!

  4. Ronald without a shirt is just weird....I agree with Carol, my eyes are scarred!

  5. The last photo of the clowns inspired an "ooh, creepy" from my youngest. I agree. Nothing worse than shirt-naked men in clown face!

  6. That is creepy beyond words....but a great story as usual. I love the little hamburger Patty whore story. Do you think she liked the movie "A Thousand Clowns"? Perhaps that is what she was going for. Thanks VC for another very funny post.

  7. Clowns creep me out anyway, but the bare chested Ronald's took that creep to a whole new level!! AAAAA!!

    Thanks for sharing this odd part of your employment with us. I shant sleep tonight!! :)

  8. This is HOT.
    I think it would make a great themed Chippendale night. A few Tequilas in me and the dollar bills might just start flying.
    Maybe The Hamburgler could make a naughty appearence too.

  9. I was so not ready for that last picture!!! Wow.


  10. At second glance, the one in the back is kinda cute (-:

  11. I worked for Domino's (at the Headquarters in Ann Arbor) during the reign of the "Noid" -- stupidest mascot ever.

  12. p.s. Seems like you could blackmail some people with that last photo!