The Hall of Very Good inducted its Class of 2014 this week, including its first celebrity – The San Diego Chicken. Lou Olsen interviewed the man behind the Chicken, Ted Giannoulas, who shared some fascinating stories of the mascot’s early days.
Originally hired to promote a San Diego radio station, Giannoulas said he was fired over a dispute about who owned the character.
But you know there were a lot of teams that reached out to me after I was fired. The Mets, Cardinals and Mariners come to mind. Quite a few made me offers to come out and join them but I…I just couldn’t leave. I had to stay and be with Padres fans. I just had to. That’s why I did the “Grand Hatching” in 1979, to come out in a brand new Chicken suit, based on my old design and without the KGB call sign, and start over on my own. Lou, you have no idea…the outpouring of emotion was crazy in San Diego for the Chicken, against the radio station. It really was amazing. Over the top. It was front page news!
Just imagine if the Chicken had decided to come to New York in 1979… would he have been embraced here as he was in San Diego? Would Mr. Met still be in mothballs? Who knows…