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    Famous chicken job that no one wanted

    It is March, 1974, the Friday before the Easter break at San Diego State University.  A local radio station can’t find any of its staff members willing to don a chicken costume and give away candy Easter eggs in an advertising campaign. They decide to look for a college student.

    It is 1:30 in the afternoon, the campus is nearly deserted. Ted Giannoulas, a five-foot,three-inch student from London, Ontario, is just “sitting around” in a room with four other students. “Guy walks in and says they want to hire somebody to do some work at the station,” Giannoulas recalls, in a January, 2003 interview with Esquire magazine. “Said they were paying two dollars an hour. He looks around the room, points at me, and says, ‘You, you’re the shortest. You’ll fit the costume. You start tomorrow.’”

    Thirty-eight years later, Giannoulas was still playing The Chicken, on television, at football games, and other entertainment venues, dressed in his costume of “genuine synthetic fur.”

    “Chicken comedy sports shows are high risk improvisations during actual games among a supporting cast of non-actors, with no script, no rehearsal and no second takes,” notes Giannoulas’ web site, famouschicken.com.

    Giannoulas has been named one of The Top Most Powerful People in Sports by Sporting News. His 1974 costume and performance is the prototype of hundreds of costumed mascots who now perform at sporting events around the world.

    “Trust,” says Giannoulas, “is the secret to making people laugh. Everything else comes out of that.”

     

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