Poultry in Motion: 45 Year Later

45 years later, we look at the birth of The Famous Chicken.

45 years ago this week saw the re-hatching of the Famous Chicken.  Once a radio station mascot, the Chicken became a Padres in-game sensation.  When the team tried to replace performer Ted Giannoulas the fans rejected the new bird, which led to (in addition to a court victory) Ted returning as reborn The Famous Chicken later that summer.

Conflict emerged between KGB Radio and Giannoulas, and he was fired on May 3, 1979. Another unnamed employee was hired to don a chicken outfit at a Padres game. Fans, many of whom were aware that Giannoulas was not in the outfit, booed the chicken loudly, forcing him off the field. After a lawsuit was decided in Giannoulas’s favor in June 1979 by Judge Raul Rosado, Giannoulas was allowed to continue to perform in a chicken costume, although not the same one as the original. His new persona, the self-styled “Famous Chicken”, emerged from an egg at a “Grand Hatching” seen by 47,000 people at a Padres game at Jack Murphy Stadium on Friday, June 29, as the sound system played the introduction to “Also sprach Zarathustra”, the theme notably used in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Giannoulas was an inspiration for an explosion of mascot characters across sports, as his success showed the value of adding in-game furry entertainment.  See below for our interview with Ted.

The Famous Chicken

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