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The Famous Chicken Talks Mascotting
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What better way to celebrate 4 years on the web than with a huge legend?

The Famous Chicken has been labeled one of the 100 most powerful people in sports in the 20th century by The Sporting News. He is a revolutionary performer who started a feathered and furry phenomenon that has spread across the globe.

The alter-ego of the world's most famous poultry, Ted Giannoulas, joins us for the August 2002 Interview for a look at mascotting, the evolution of professional sports, and McNuggets. I promised myself I would stay away from bird puns, but the Cardinal Rule of Mascots is "No Talking." I have seen you give a few interviews, can you start off this interview with your thoughts on doing interviews in or out of costume.

The Famous Chicken: Well I do it to help promote shows and something to be different. I see the Chicken as a cartoon character. I look around and see Kermit the Frog talking, I see Big Bird talk, I see Barney talk, so I figure the Chicken can talk as well. You have been touring now for over 25 years, what are the biggest changes you have seen?

The Famous Chicken: Oh, a couple of things. The renaissance of the ballparks, especially at the minor league level. Some of these are real small communities really doing some kind of job using the ballpark as a jewel and a centerpiece of the skyline and the towns.

Also, I would say the tremendous awareness of sports marketing at the minor league level. There was a time when a big promotion was "Pass the Hat Night" or giving away tickets at the 7-11. Now it is so sophisticated and so up-scale.

I have been doing this since the 70's, so I have seen dust-bowl ballparks become jewels of the city. And I have also seen real simple promotions flourish into major events for teams. It's been quite a metamorphosis, especially on the minor league level. You have created a cottage industry here as a mascot and inspired a lot of performers along the way. Who do you get inspiration from?

The Famous Chicken: Actually I draw my inspiration from some of the master comedians, like Peter Sellers, Harpo Marx, and Jackie Gleason.

Steve Martin inspired me as a stand-up guy how he thought outside the box. Even though I am not a stand-up guy, I was inspired how he thought outside the box as a comic and introduced something new as a stage act. So I think as a comic, or a comedian. I just happen to wear more elaborate make-up, a costume. But I try to be a comedian for the fans of all ages, and appeal to all age groups when I am performing. The biggest battle most mascots face is always coming up with new material. You may have a different battle, as you have so many classic routines that fans want to see. How do you balance the classic routines with the new?

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