Super Chicken

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For the bluesman, see Super Chikan

Super Chicken is a segment that ran on the animated television series George of the Jungle. It was produced by Jay Ward and Bill Scott, who earlier had created the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. It debuted September 9, 1967 on ABC.

Series overview[edit]

Super Chicken (voiced by Bill Scott in a Boston Brahmin accent) and his lion sidekick Fred (voiced by Paul Frees impersonating Ed Wynn), who wore a sweatshirt with a backwards "F" on the front, would usually begin their adventures with the battlecry that went something like: "Quick, Fred, to the 'Super Coop,'" which was an egg-shaped air vehicle in which Super Chicken and Fred would fly to the rescue of innocent victims of crime.

Super Chicken's secret identity was well-to-do Henry Cabot Henhouse III (whose name was a play on Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.); Fred acted as his butler/servant, etc. When danger reared its ugly head, he would take his "Super Sauce" (often from a martini glass) and don his "Super Suit," which consisted of a plumed cavalier's hat, cape, Wellington boots, mask and a sword.

The first pilot featured an all-star comedy cast, including Bill Dana with Don Knotts as the voice of Super Chicken. The project was shelved and eventually recast.

Recurring gags[edit]

The cartoon had several running gags, including:

  • To turn into Super Chicken, Henry would take a drink of "Super Sauce." However, the effect of the sauce was never the same each time. One time Fred added too much corn starch, and the sauce had to be eaten with a spoon. Another time, it was 'instant super sauce,' which just needed added water. While never explicitly punchlined as a running gag, it is apparent that the "Super Sauce" does not give Super Chicken any actual superpowers, and this is demonstrated many times.
  • Henry would have a violent reaction moments after drinking the "Super Sauce," nearly always stopping in mid-sentence to cluck loudly as the reaction hit him.
  • To dash out to the scene of the action, Super Chicken would exclaim, "To the Super Coop, Fred!", whereupon Fred would reply, "Roger Wilcox" (a malapropism of Roger Wilco).
  • Fred would often ask Super Chicken why he didn't use his "super-vision", to which Super Chicken would respond with something to the effect of "If I had any supervision, do you think I'd be running around dressed like this?"
  • In the course of a plan to defeat the bad guys, Super Chicken would suggest something dangerous for Fred's part, which Fred would be reluctant to carry out. When Fred voiced his reluctance, Super Chicken always reminded him, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred!"
  • In attempting hazardous or risky stunts as part of the plan, Super Chicken would accidentally injure Fred (such as dropping an anvil on him). Fred would complain, to which Super Chicken responded "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred!" This saying was used by one of the characters in Niven and Pournelle's novel "Footfall", but not explained for those who did not know about Super Chicken.
  • Quite often Super Chicken and Fred would get blown up. Fred, standing at the exact center of the explosion would not be hurt while Super Chicken always was.

Original Pilot[edit]

The original concept for Super Chicken differed from the later 17 episodes.

Super Chicken's mild-mannered identity was named Hunt Strongbird, Jr, and his voice was more 'smarmy' in nature. The Super Coupe did not resemble an egg, but appeared to be a wooden chicken coop with a glass canopy, airplane wings and a jet engine. Also absent was the need for Super Sauce to institute the change into Super Chicken.

Super Chicken's sidekick Fred was relatively untouched, except that instead of sneakers, he wore black boots.

Episode list[edit]

Super Chicken Episode Names and dates[edit]

  1. One Of Our States Are Missing 9/5/67
  2. Super Chicken VS.The Zipper 9/12/67
  3. Robin hood 9/19/67
  4. The Oyster 9/26/67
  5. The Elephant Spreader 10/3/67
  6. Merlin Brando 10/10/67
  7. Wild Ralph Hiccup 10/17/67
  8. The Geezer 10/24/67
  9. Salvador Rag Dolly 10/31/67
  10. The Easter Bunny 11/7/67
  11. The Noodle 11/14/67
  12. Fat Man 11/21/67
  13. Briggs Bad Wolf 11/28/67
  14. The Laundry Man 12/5/67
  15. The Muscle 12/12?/67
  16. Dr. Gizmo 12/19?/67
  17. The Wild Hair 12/26?/67 [1]

Appearances in other media[edit]

In 1969, Gold Key Comics published two issues of a George of the Jungle comic book. Each issue contained a story featuring Super Chicken. The artist and writer of the stories, Paul Fung, Jr. [2] was not credited in the comic.

In an episode of Darkwing Duck, Darkwing references a line from the Super Chicken series. When approaching a dangerous target, Darkwing tells his sidekick, "It's like the chicken said, Launchpad--I knew the job was dangerous when I took it."

During the January 27, 2003 episode of Loveline, host Drew Pinsky revealed that as a child he had participated in the test marketing of the show. This followed a rendition of the theme song by guest Emma Caulfield and cohost Adam Carolla. He said "it looked retarded to me", and "I was like eight years old and they marketed that and [...] George of the Jungle and another – it seemed to me more bizarre – "It's About Time" kind of thing: a guy gets frozen and comes back to life".

Jerry Seinfeld referenced Super Chicken in a "Bee Movie TV Junior", in which he recites the Super Chicken theme song.

The late historian Kenneth Cmiel (Ph.D, University of Chicago, 1986; professor of history and American studies at the University of Iowa and director of the U.I. Center for Human Rights until his death in 2006) opens his Democratic Eloquence: The Fight over Popular Speech in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1990) with the famous quote, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it," which is found on the dedication page.

In the Jerry Pournelle and Roland Green science fiction novel "Clan and Crown",[3] part of the Janissaries series, the mercenary Ben Murphy is in a tight situation and says to himself, "But what the hell, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred...", a clear reference to the Super Chicken theme song. No character named Fred occurs elsewhere in the novel.

In Hip-Hop artist Ice Cube's Ghetto Bird (from the Lethal Injection album), he makes a derisive reference to police helicopters "up there lookin' like Super Chicken".

References[edit]

  1. ^ TV.com Super Chicken
  2. ^ Bailsprojects.com
  3. ^ Jerry Pournelle and Roland Green (1982). Clan and Crown. New York, NY: Berkeley Publishing Group. p. 213. ISBN 0-441-38295-9. 

External links[edit]