Super Chicken

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

For the bluesman, see Super Chikan
For Social experiment, see Super-chicken Model
Super Chicken
Super chicken 02.jpg
Super Chicken
Voiced byBill Scott
In-universe information
SpeciesChicken

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.[1]

Series overview[edit]

Super Chicken (voiced by Bill Scott in a Boston Brahmin accent) is an anthropomorphic chicken and superhero who is the alter-ego of wealthy Henry Cabot Henhouse III (whose name was a play on Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.).[2] He has a lion sidekick named Fred (voiced by Paul Frees impersonating Ed Wynn) who wears an inside-out sweatshirt with a backwards F on it and acts as Henry's servant when in his civilian lifestyle. 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 sword. Super Chicken usually begins their adventures with the battle cry, "To the Super Coop, Fred!" The Super Coop was an egg-shaped air vehicle flown by Super Chicken and Fred to the rescue of innocent victims of crime. When Fred comments on his latest injury, Super Chicken responds with a variation of the theme, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred!" Following his own mistakes, Super Chicken remarks, "I'm glad no one was here to see that!"

Super Chicken was a parody of the well-off WASP of the 1950s, horn-rimmed glasses wearing, martini drinking, and having a sense of social obligation (fulfilled in this case by suiting up and fighting bizarre menaces to society). A similar, contemporary fictional character was Bruce Wayne, a millionaire who fought crime as Batman. Earlier precursors included Zorro and the Scarlet Pimpernel.

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.

Original concept[edit]

The original concept for Super Chicken in the pilot differed from the subsequent 17 episodes. Super Chicken's mild-mannered identity was Hunt Strongbird, Jr. The Super Coupe was 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 fundamentally the same, except that instead of sneakers, he wore black boots.

Episode list[edit]

Super Chicken episode titles and dates[edit]

Title Air date Synopsis
1 "The Zipper" 1967-09-09 The elusive fiend dubbed the Zipper plans to blow up the world. Super Chicken and Fred try to track him down using his "zip code".
2 "One of Our States Is Missing" 1967-09-16 The villainous Appian Way has stolen Rhode Island.
3 "Wild Ralph Hiccup" 1967-09-23 A wily robber named Wild Ralph Hiccup (with a speech pattern resembling an obvious parody of John Wayne) robs airplane passengers at gunpoint, before diving out into the wild blue yonder. Super Chicken and Fred are soon hot on his trail — even if it means taking 26 flights back and forth from Miami, Florida, to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for four straight days.
4 "The Oyster" 1967-09-30 A criminal disguised as an actual oyster steals the world's largest pearl.
5 "The Easter Bunny" 1967-10-07 It appears the Easter Bunny has turned to crime, robbing banks across the greater Pittsburgh area. But upon further investigation by Super Chicken and Fred, the culprit is actually Louie the Lapin, who was wearing an Easter Bunny disguise. Louie's plan is to dye U.S. currency because he hates the color green.

Note: Characters from Jay Ward's previous projects are seen at the beginning of this episode.

6 "The Elephant Spreader" 1967-10-14 Elephants are popping up all over the world, and their added weight is tilting the Earth sideways on its axis. The brains behind the world-tipping scheme is India's Prince Blackhole of Calcutta, who has concocted this scheme so that it can snow in India.
7 "The Geezer" 1967-10-21 A cantankerous old Geezer has stolen the world-famous geyser "Old Faceful".
8 "Rotten Hood" 1967-10-28 Tired of stealing acorns from the squirrels residing in Sherwood Park, Rotten Hood, assisted by Fried Tucker, decides to steal from the rich and keep the loot.
9 "The Laundry Man" 1967-11-04 Shrimp Chop Phooey the Laundry Man runs a money laundering racket disguised as a Chinese laundry. When he and his Number One Son make off with their customers' ill-gotten cash, Super Chicken and Fred must stop them and return the money to its rightful owners — the crooks that were his customers.
10 "The Noodle" 1967-11-11 Super Chicken and Fred try to capture the Noodle, whose name comes from his many elaborately-thought out plans. However, one of his plans causes Super Chicken to develop amnesia. With nowhere else to turn to, Fred dons the mantle of his friend and tries to catch the Noodle himself.
11 "The Fat Man" 1967-11-18 The priceless Maltese Duck has been stolen by the Fat Man, an obese man in a brown suit.
12 "Merlin Brando" 1967-11-25 A hermit wizard named Merlin Brando lives on the Isle of Lucy with his magic mirror. His mirror flatters Merlin with praise that he is the greatest one of all, until the mirror sees Super Chicken on television. Declaring there is not room in the world for "two greatests," Merlin decides to eliminate Super Chicken.
13 "Salvador Rag Dolly" 1967-12-02 Crooked toymaker Salvador Rag Dolly uses large wind-up toys to infiltrate birthday parties and make off with household valuables. Super Chicken tries to stop the dastardly fiend, but soon comes face-to-face with Rag Dolly's latest creation: a wind-up toy Super Chicken.
14 "Briggs Bad Wolf" 1967-12-09 Stage actor Briggs Bad Wolf becomes so enamored in his role that he believes that he really is a villain. He kidnaps the stage production's female lead Red Ridinghood and plans to have her attend a picnic. Now it's up to Super Chicken to save the actress and defeat Briggs Bad Wolf.
15 "The Muscle" 1967-12-16 A bodybuilding criminal called the Muscle forces Super Chicken to exercise himself to exhaustion. Super Chicken attempts to recover his strength by drinking double-strength Super Sauce, but the volatile concoction proves too powerful for even him.
16 "Dr. Gizmo" 1967-12-23 Super Chicken and Fred have their work cut out for them as they try to recapture escaped gadget-inventing criminal mastermind Dr. Gizmo.
17 "The Wild Hair" 1967-12-30 A mad scientist creates the world's first living toupee; however, it soon grows out of control.

Note: Susan Swivelhips makes a cameo at the middle.

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. Issue #1 presented "The Stolen State", and #2 "The Astounding Dr. Gizmo!", both adaptations of cartoon episodes.[3] The artist and writer of the stories, Paul Fung, Jr. [4] 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 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,[5] 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".

In one of the Tom Clancy's Op-Center series of novels, titled Dark Zone, by Jeff Rovin and George Galdorisi, Op-Center's JSOC detachment commander, Major Mike Volner recollects a quote from a cartoon his grandfather had enjoyed watching and that the young Volner had adopted as a motto to accompany new challenges: "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it!"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Woolery, George W. (1983). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981, Part I: Animated Cartoon Series. Scarecrow Press. pp. 117–119. ISBN 0-8108-1557-5. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  2. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. p. 252. ISBN 0-13-275561-0. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  3. ^ Becattini, Alberto (2019). "Super-Animals". American Funny Animal Comics in the 20th Century: Volume Two. Theme Park Press. ISBN 978-1683902218.
  4. ^ Bailsprojects.com
  5. ^ 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]