The original Ronald McDonald creator and personality was fired before his character got national recognition. Here’s why
Oscar Goldstein, a former Washington, D.C. McDonald's franchise owner, was in some trouble when NBC cancelled his sponsored show Bozo's Circus in 1963. Bozo would regularly make appearance at his McDonald's, drawing in huge crowds. Since the show was now cancelled, Goldstein had to come up with a new mascot to entice his customers to return.
Goldstein met with the star of Bozo's Circus, Willard Scott, and hired him to recreate a new clown for the franchise. Willard Scott got a costume made by a marketing company, created the name Ronald McDonald, and began making appearances at Goldstein's restaurant in Washington D.C.
As McDonald's prepared for their national campaign to introduce Ronald McDonald to America, they fired Willard Scott, deeming his weight as the reason for termination. McDonald's felt that in order to sell hamburgers, shakes, and fries (generally, unhealthy food) to the American people, they needed a thinner mascot who appeared in shape. A thinner clown personality was hired, the campaign began, and business sky-rocketed. Scott moved on from the incident and continued to find success through books and television. He also later became the weatherman for NBC's Today Show.