The Adventures of Chickenman

I'm now the proud owner of a 14-CD set containing the complete Adventures of Chickenman. All 273 episodes, including the weekend specials that were sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, and the promotions, contests and "local avails" (where the local carrying station could insert some listener into the show, typically by splicing the intro and outro provided by Chickenman's producers around a contestant). Chickenman was a spoof on Batman, with completely repetitive, goofy audio gags replacing the unlikely physical jams into which Batman and Robin were typically placed (and even less believably extracted).

The boxed set makes me smile on a number of levels. What you get is essentially a CD version of the vinyl tracks that a radio station received in the 1970s, each day's episodes put onto a tape cartridge (cart) to be sequenced between commercials, station promotions and public service announcements. A great reminder of my days producing similarly sized taped gems at WPRB-FM.

Bigger smiles come from reliving summer days down the shore, where my sister and I would listen to WJRZ-FM, soaking up episodes of Chickenman between the Paul Harvey news and ads for the Ship Bottom Motor Lodge. It's not Law & Order but that's precisely the point -- Chickenman locked himself out of rooms, accidentally set his wings on fire, and frequently had to answer to the most unbending authority of all, his mother.

Chickenman was also well ahead of his time. Some of the later episodes than ran on the weekends weren't serialized as part of the "main" storyline, and instead featured Chickenman taking on polluters and other eco-unfriendly types. The Fantastic Fowl knew about eco-responsibility thirty years before it was fashionable. Chickenman's radio outro was clearly one of the first true network memes, as you can walk into clusters of 40-somethings and ask about "the most fantastic crime-fighter the world has ever known," only to find out that "he's everywhere! he's everywhere!". And now he's riding shotgun in my car's CD player, too.

Comments:

He's everywhere! He's everywhere!

Posted by Scott Dickson on January 19, 2007 at 04:45 AM EST #

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