Ronald McDonald, Frustrated Astronaut

Ronald McDonald.jpg

We love a good edifying obituary, and the Wall Street Journal weekend edition rarely disappoints. Over the past weekend, we learned that Herb Peterson, the enterprising McDonald’s franchisee that in 1972 devised the Egg McMuffin, recently passed away at the age of 89. The story of Peterson’s eggs Benedict-inspired menu addition (the secret? cooking the egg using a stainless steel, Teflon-coated ring that made it precisely fit the muffin) was impressive, but we were more interested in writer Stephen Miller‘s inclusion of one of Peterson’s earlier achievements. While working as an advertising executive in Chicago in the 1960s, Peterson helped to design Ronald McDonald’s clown costume.

He said he based it in part on NASA spacesuits. “It should be a flying-clown costume, with plenty of pockets so he could carry McDonald’s food with him,” Mr. Peterson recalled thinking. [McDonald’s founder Ray] Kroc offered him the Santa Barbara franchise in 1968.

This only fuels are theory that the bumbling purple blob known as Grimace was a Sputnik-inspired stand-in for the Soviet Union created at the height of the Cold War.