I’m pretty sure that the chicken was there when we arrived.
I’m not sure if I was the prop, or the chicken was there to make me look good.
Either way it didn’t work; for either of us.
Obviously someone thought it was funny.
I didn’t; I was fed up and I don’t think the chicken was any too pleased either.
I’d been in what was laughingly called ‘show business’ for a bit over eighteen months.
It was my mum’s idea.
She entered me into one of those baby contests that were all the rage back then and I aced it.
You probably think that the cigarette was a prop; part of the gag, but it wasn’t.
I was a two pack a day kid by then.
Everyone thought it was so cute.
They didn’t have to put up with the cough.
Frankly, I preferred cigars, but my mum said I looked ridiculous.
This shot is an ‘out-take’ of sorts, and also the only shot that survives from the session that seemed to take forever.
I still don’t know how they got the chicken to stay in frame for so long. Personally, I think it was pissed.
I remember that Hitchcock had a lot of the birds drugged with grain soaked in alcohol.
I’ll bet that this chicken was on single malt whisky.
Her fee was more than I was getting for making silent movies and I was a star.
A very small star, mind you, but a star none-the-less.
I guess cute little kids were easier to find than a chicken who would stand still for hours and take direction.
She didn’t even need a dressing room and there was a bloke employed just to clean up after her.
What a life.
Permanently off her face on expensive whisky; she must have enjoyed being a chicken.
I, on the other hand, was fed up with show business.
I’d made twenty-eight movies that year alone and it was only August. My dead-beat-dad would run off with a script girl in a few months and take with him, all the money I had earned.
A few years later they found him naked and passed out next to a dead starlet in an expensive house in the Hollywood hills. The starlet was wearing only a smile and the studio paid a fortune to hush it all up.
My dead-beat-dad took the rap and died in prison when a very large convict fell on him during a particularly rowdy bout of Yoga.
I made a couple of hundred movies the next year but my career went down hill when sound came in.
Apparently my voice sounded strange, and mix that together with my growth spurt and I was out of a job.
I limped along for a couple of years doing cigarette commercials but it wasn’t the same.
I missed the big-time.
Within ten years I’d been forgotten and most of my movies went up in flames when the studio used them for special effects in ‘The Burning Of Rome’.
The photo you see here is pretty much all that is left of my early career. There are still a few old posters floating around but none of my films survived.
I heard that the chicken’s owner invested wisely and ended up running the largest chicken ranch in the south-east.