Move over, Uncle Sam. There’s a new face fighting the war on terror.
And his name is Ronald McDonald.
Advertised as a waving 78-inch statue in the Peoria Journal Star classified ads, owner Ron Hensley is trying to get rid of it.
“It’s one of the most interesting things in the paper, that’s for sure,” Hensley said of the statue facing Chillicothe’s movie theatre across the street.
Perhaps the United States government should pick it up. After all, Hensley has converted the friendly figure into a lean, mean, fighting machine.
Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, Hensley owned an average fiberglass statue of the golden arches’ beloved clown mascot.
After the terrorist attacks, he decked Ronald out with a broken drill rifle his nephew had given him from the Air Force and a World War II era civil defense helmet he bought at a sale years ago, just in case terrorists decided to attack the theatre.
“McDonald’s might not be too happy to see him like that,” he said.
Hensley, the owner of Hensley’s Hardwood Floors, doesn’t believe that Ronald McDonald’s sole use is to stand guard over Chillicothe.
“It would look good in a dorm room,” he said, flexing his advertising savvy for the college student demographic. “You can drink with it and everything.”
Ronald McDonald will also be getting a makeover for Halloween. Last year, Hensley dressed him up as the Tazmanian Devil. This time around, he’ll don either an Incredible Hulk mask or a dinosaur mask.
Hensley picked up the statue at an antique market about nine years ago.
“I bought it because it’s super-duper cool,” the antique hunter said. “I go to sales all the time.”
He hits three or four bigger sales a month, while also stopping by as many as two-dozen garage sales in the same time. Even when he’s on vacation, he’ll make a pit stop for a sale.
As if Hensley’s rendition of Ronald McDonald wasn’t patriotic enough, he has positioned the statue in front of a giant 46-star American flag that used to fly at a garrison.
Ronald isn’t alone in the room. He protects all the other rare trinkets Hensley has acquired over the years.
Hensley has a set of Hitler stamps, an autographed presidential photograph of Dwight D. Eisenhower and a chipped old bust of Abraham Lincoln from a museum. He also possesses a wooden Houdini sign that he doesn’t believe is actually authentic since it’s not rotting.
At his house, Hensley said he has four-ton boat anchors, cannons and killer whale bones.
His collection is so impressive it piqued the interest of Frank Fritz, the host of History Channel’s “American Pickers,” who showed up in August without television cameras to see what Chillicothe’s antique collectors had in their arsenals and to see if he could buy anything.
Fritz did buy some items, according to the Chillicothe Times-Bulletin. None of them were Hensley’s curiosities.
Hensley was hopeful Fritz would return with cameras in tow.
Until then, Hensley continues to list the $800 statue of Ronald McDonald in the classified ads.
The price is down from what Hensley originally wanted for it. It has been for sale for several years, and he reduced its price because the economy was down.
Hensley has one explanation of why he hasn’t sold the statue yet: “I like it too much.”
Hensley notices many passersby puzzled at his statue, and has only one thing to say to them.
“He’s for sale.”