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Ronald McDonald: a brief history

Ronald McDonald has become a part of American pop culture since his debut in 1963.
Ronald McDonald has become a part of American pop culture since his debut in 1963. Andrew Poertner/Roswell Daily Record/Associated press/File 2006

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Though Ronald McDonald has faded to the background in McDonald’s own advertising, Taco Bell’s appropriation of the name is a testament to the spokesclown’s lingering cultural power.

Since his debut in 1963, the smiling clown has helped give McDonald’s a huge advantage among kids. The clown turns up in countless aspects of pop culture. In the FX TV show ‘‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,’’ the character known as Mac is mocked by his friends after they discover his full name is Ronald McDonald at a high school reunion. Last year, The Wall Street Journal even gave the clown one of its familiar black-and-white portraits to accompany a story.

Here are a few facts about Ronald McDonald:

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