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|For more than a decade, radio existed without a true super-hero. One
by one, the demigods of yore -Superman, The Green Hornet, Batman and
Robin, Captain Midnight, The Lone Ranger deserted the airwaves in the
late '40s and early 50's forcing their followers to turn to such mundane
sources as the comic books for the latest exploits in crime-fighting. On
into the '60's, radio drifted in a hero-less limbo. And then . . . a
daring new anti-hero hero rose like a phoenix over crime-infested
Midland City (pop. 7,043). The new champion of justice was none other
than "Chickenman - the most fantastic crime fighter the world has
ever known - and he arrived on the scene resplendent in his rented,
feathered, zippered suit to fight crime and/or evil."
Chickenman, like Batman, Robin, and other crime-fighters who are enjoying a pop-art revival, must live a double life. When he is not combating crime, Chicken-man assumes the identity of soft-spoken Benton Harbor, shoe salesman in a large downtown department store. Unfortunately, selling shoes keeps Benton tied up Mondays through Fridays, so he is available only on weekends to combat the forces of evil (pronounced E-ville). The weekends have been eventful, however. For example, Chickenman has (1) leveled the Midland City City hall with a "chicken missile," (2) set his feathers afire with a hot-plate, (3) fallen through the bedroom trap door into his own "chicken cave", where he became trapped, (4) lost his way while winging to Minneapolis to address a poultry and egg association banquet, and (5) flunked the selective service physical. Although Chickenman numbers a good many youngsters among his radio followers, the intrepid feathered fighter also appeals strongly to adults who remember those wonderful days when adventure serials dominated the radio waves each weekday afternoon. The satire and tongue-in-cheek humor inherent in the Chickenman adventures are best appreciated by those of us who can take a cold, detached look back at those preposterously wonderful serials, with the melancholy realization
that our childhood naiveté is gone, never to return.
Courtesy of MRFA member Dewey Pollock