About a month ago I was flipping through the channels on a Monday evening and landed on OETA. The show was History Detectives. Each show has 2-4 segments and each one is about a historical object. Can be an antique musket, a painting, book, or even a Ronald McDonald costume.
It happened to be the Ronald McDonald story that caught my attention. I had recently read the book The Man Behind the Nose. The [auto]biography of Larry Harmon, the man who made Bozo and every modern clown what they are today. I knew little to nothing about Bozo or Larry when I started the book...but now I love him! The book was one of the most interesting and well written books I've read in a long time.
Larry started the Bozo television show then franchised Bozo so each television station would have a local Bozo actor. One of the actors, Willard Scott (who went on to be a Today Show weatherman), used Bozo as the inspiration for the character of Ronald McDonald.
Ok, back to History Detectives...a lady had a Ronald McDonald costume and thought it might be the original. The episode followed show researchers as they tracked down clues and information about the costume. It ended up not being the original, but it was the first Ronald McDonald costume created for national production and for someone other then Willard.
If you've never seen History Detectives you need to check your local PBS listings!