This is Mascot Week. All week, I featured some of my favorite fuzzy creatures. Today I finish with one of the all time greats.
Who better to start Mascot Week than the San Diego Chicken, perhaps the most famous of all mascots. Originally featured in an animated television commercial, the San Diego Chicken came to life when Ted Giannoulas was hired to wear the first chicken suit in 1974. the 20 year old journalism major made the most of this opportunity.
A baseball fan, Giannoulas talked the San Diego Padres into allowing him to perform at games. First, he passed out eggs containing prizes to fans in the stands, but eventually worked his way onto the field with his various skits.
In 1979, a dispute between Giannoulas and the Padres led to his firing and replacement. Things went much better for Giannoulas than the replacement Chicken, who was roundly booed at every game.
Renamed the Famous Chicken or simply the Chicken, Giannoulas went on to perform all over the world. After an estimated more than 5,000 performances, the Chicken is still ruling the roost. A few years ago at the National Sports Collectors Convention, the Chicken was one of the most popular attractions. At a show featuring many Hall of Fame athletes and thousands of collectibles, that's qute an accomplishment.
I could not get an interview with the Chicken or Giannoulas, but I made sure I got my picture with the famous bird. As a fan of mascots, this was about as cool as it gets.
Go to FamousChicken.com for more info on this crazy bird. I guarantee, you will not be in a foul mood, because the site does not lay an egg.
The Chicken and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2017.