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If you think the modern-day Ronald McDonald is creepy, feast your eyes on the circa-1963 Ronald, portrayed by Willard Scott, who later became the weatherman for The Today Show. The image, which re-surfaced on Reddit (inspiring some hilarious commentary) was quickly re-blogged by The Huffington Post. Rightfully so, HuffPo said the photo "will give you nightmares."

Apparently, McD's wasn't too pleased with that summation. A day after the piece was published, McDonald's responded with the following statement:

To label a 50 year old picture as a "nightmare" is a clear overstatement. Ronald McDonald has been and is a much loved figure to families for more than 50 years. That picture represents the simple era of the times. A provocatively labeled headline won't change that, nor impact all of the good Ronald McDonald will continue to do for years to come.

Provocative headline or not, clowns don't exactly have widespread appeal, judging by sites like ihateclowns.com (run by Rodney Blackwell, friend of AHT and creator of the Sacramento Burger Battle), the I'm scared of Ronald McDonald Facebook page, and a University of Sheffield study that revealed clowns are "universally disliked" by children.

Seriously, WTF is up with the double eyebrows and that freaky crocheted doll behind his left shoulder? *shudder*

AHT Editor Robyn thinks the modern-day Ronald is just as creepy as the original version, but these commercials might give Retro Ronald the edge. Kids: don't talk to strangers, even if they're clowns you recognize from TV.

[Video: 1963 Ronald McDonald commercial on YouTube]

[Video: 1963 Early Ronald McDonald's Commercial on YouTube]

About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax

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