Let’s Hope This Bird Isn’t Cooked

In the late 1970s KGB-FM radio in San Diego created a cartoon character as an advertising mascot, an acrobatic chicken. The radio station also hired a local college student to portray the mascot in person, that young man was Ted Giannoulas and he has subsequently went on to portray that chicken character for 35 years. For a time he was the famous San Diego Chicken, appearing at one time at 520 straight Padres games and was a mainstay at all San Diego sporting events.

Unfortunately, the Chicken became a victim of his own success. Because of the popularity of the character Major League teams started hiring their own mascots, diminishing opportunities for the Chicken to perform.

Today Ted is still performing as the Chicken but it’s possible that this might be the end of the road for the much-beloved mascot. In his heyday, the Chicken would perform 250 times a year, these days the number is closer to 50. “It’s the one magic elixir that keeps me young,” Giannoulas said. However, the toll his act takes on his body is becoming harder and harder for the 55 year old to bear which is why he is considering making this the final year of the Chicken.

“At the end of this season, I’ll make a determination if I think I can go another season. I can’t say for certain. I’ll just see how my body feels, what my energy level might be going forward,” Giannoulas said. “The fun and energy is still at the ballpark. I still get a charge out of it.”

Performing 3-4 times a week from June through early September, the Chicken’s routine, which includes over 100 trademarked bits will be out in full force this summer so if you get a chance see him soon, it may be the last chance you get.


2 Responses to “Let’s Hope This Bird Isn’t Cooked”

  1. June 17, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    35 years. What a run. When I created the Chicken for KGB Radio in 1974 I was just fooling around. It was none of my business. I overheard the need for a pitch at the animation studio where I was working and suggested I animate a chicken. (As in fast. As in overnight on 16mm black and white film, developed in the mens room down the hall) Once KGB hired Ted and put him in the suit, Lordy, Lordy, get out of the way. Hats off to you Ted. You deserve a rest whenever you decide. Thanks for the ride.

    • June 17, 2009 at 11:25 pm

      Wow, Brian this world is better off because of you and your actions. Thank you. The Chicken has made the world a better place and you have helped make it so. Thanks!

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