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Monday, August 31, 2015

A Ronald McDonald Crime Scene

I was going to call this “A Public Service Announcement from Wig & Pen” and leave it at that. But there was something evocative about Ronald’s body messaging. He was aping Rodin’s “Thinker”—not from its customary side view, but head on. So I resisted my immediate response to the flyer as laughable (it calls the image a “sculpture”) and phoned its author, Mary Ryan of Northampton, Massachusetts. Here is her backstory:

The four-foot tall fiberglass likeness went AWOL three weeks ago during her 17-year-old daughter’s out-of-control party at Mary’s summer house in near-by Leverett. Mary and her sculptor husband, of course, were away; but social media never rests, fanning the flames of partydom.

When Mary and her husband caught word of the festivities, they phoned the police, who deep-sixed the party. But Ronald disappeared in the shuffle. With help from their daughter—now grounded indefinitely—the couple fingered two culprits, who had first failed to lodge Ronald in a tree and then left him beside a dumpster at the Northampton Athletic Club. Ronald disappeared again but was spotted in Northampton several days later in the back seat of a car. The police traced the license and questioned its owner without success. Their investigation continues. 

Mary explained that the statue, which her husband had purchased from a dealer, was one of four of its kind dating from 1962. (She was unable to identify the artist.) That would place it among the earliest Ronald representations, back during the days when perennial NBC weatherman and former clown Willard Scott was Ronald incarnate in TV commercials and in other McDonald's promotions. Mary emphasized that the statue was technically accomplished, a tour de force in fiberglass.

But was the artist (like the statue) bending over to earn a living? With his Rodin meme, the artist may have given his own sly answer to that question.

If Ronald turns up in a tree, landfill, or auction house near you, contact Mary. You can be a part of a happy ending--perhaps even a happy meal.