Monday, June 9, 2014

"Go You Chicken Fat, Go!"

The year is 1961. My dad, an ad man at the time for Young & Rubicam, a large agency in New York City arrives home, his usual jubilant, animated—“just had a great day”self —opens up his brief case.
There were definite advantages to having a dad who worked in advertising. He often worked at home in the evenings, seated at his typewriter; brainstorming for a campaign just about to hit the media. We were often included in the process, listening to his ideas as he hammered them out on paper faster than anyone I had ever seen, the smoke from his Pall Mall cigarettes swirling to the ceiling above. The smoke of course was not an advantage but we were still ignorant of the real dangers—remember, my dad was in advertising.

We were living in Upper Montclair, NJ at the time, a thirty minute bus ride from NY City. Dad walked to the bus each morning and my younger brothers often rode their bikes to meet him after work and ride home alongside him.

He pulls a record out of his briefcase— but then changes his mind.
“No, I think we’ll just wait until tomorrow morning.”
Before bed that night he announces, “I want everyone down here—in the living room—at 6am—set your alarms!”

“Everyone”—dad and mom, my six brothers and I, as planned, filed down to the living room at 6am the following morning and had our very first exposure to the Chicken Fat song! The song was written by Meredith Willson and sung by Robert Preston of "Music Man" fame with full orchestral accompaniment. It was commissioned by John Kennedy for his new Youth Fitness Program. A copy of this record was sent to every school in the U.S. with the idea that it would be played over the P.A. every morning while students did calisthenics.

Since my dad had something to do with the presentation of this program (thanks dad!) we were just about to experience a preview—right in our living room.
It was brutal—not just listening to the song but the exercises; one after another—6am—this is way to early for this sort of thing!
And surprise! When we arrived at school that morning the record was played again in our classrooms and gym classes. We got to do the entire routine again! (..and every day after that for weeks)

Our family exercise program lasted about three days and to tell you the truth, I think my dad was sick of hearing the song too.
On the fourth day there were no alarms set in our house for 6am.
If you would like to hear the song and read the never ending lyrics you can listen to it here.

(WARNING..You will not be able to get the song out of your head for days!)
Let's agree to take this little 45 and store it in the archives—for a long, LONG, time!

Update...June 2014

OH's back!!  Apple I-Phone 5's new ad!

Go You Chicken Fat Go!