Art Imitating Life

As many of you know, I was raised by a man who frequently wore makeup.  My dad was Ronald McDonald.  Yes, it’s true.  Actually, my dad was an executive with the Kroger Corp. who moonlighted as Ronald on the weekends. I have fond memories of parades, store openings, personal appearances, and driving dad around in costume as he waved to surprised passers-by and delighted children.  Being around Ronald was always adventurous.  In fact, it was at the Cherry Festival in Traverse, Michigan that Ronald and I shook hands with then-president Gerald Ford on the same day that Colonel Sanders greeted dad with a terse, “Hello, clown.”

That was during the heyday of Ronald McDonald.  He was a fast-food marketing icon.  An ad-man’s dream.  And at once point in time he was the third most recognizable character by children in the Happy Meal demographic — right behind Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse.

But today, not so much.  And that’s the gist of the article I just came across called “Ronald McDonald uncool in hipper market.”  You can read it here:

http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/02/ronald-mcdonald-uncool-in-hipper-market/

The funny part is that I “predicted” this back in 2005.  In fact, the metadata on the following image says it was created July 9, 2005. 

It was just a joke.  I was transferring some old slides to digital images when I came across a very odd shot of dad, off the beaten path, walking somewhere in Detroit that you would not normally see Ronald.  I don’t know if he was waiting in the wings to join a parade or if he was heading toward an appearance when the photo was snapped.  Ronald was virtually never alone.  He was always thronged by fans and kids — and handlers and advertising execs.  But there he was, by himself, walking through an industrial neighborhood.  It was such an odd picture that I couldn’t help but add a caption.

So here’s the original “predictive” image and caption from 2005.

RIP Ronald McDonald  1963 – 2011

But he’ll always live on in our hearts.   🙂

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