Chickenman (radio series)

Chickenman (radio series)

Chickenman is an American radio series that spoofs comic book heroes. It was created in the mid 1960s by Dick Orkin, who at the time was a production director at WCFL in Chicago, Illinois.[1] Its famous catch-phrase is, "He's everywhere! He's everywhere!"

The series was loosely patterned after the Batman television show. It made its appearance in the spring of 1966 as a segment on radio station WCFL's Jim Runyon Show. Runyon served as its narrator. Orkin voiced the hero throughout the 195 episodes.

In the series, the super hero known as Chickenman is Benton Harbor, a shoe salesman at a large Midland City department store. Because of his Monday to Friday working hours, Chickenman can only fight crime on weekends. The main characters include Police Commissioner Benjamin Norton, Norton's secretary Miss Honor Helfinger (Jane Roberts), Chickenman's mother Mildred Harbor (also Jane Roberts), and his girlfriend Sayde Leckner (Jane Roberts once again). Chickenman's mother sometimes helps out as the "Maternal Marauder" (also known as the "Masked Mother"). Chickenman roams Midland City seeking criminals in his yellow crime-fighting car, appropriately known as the Chicken Coupe. The program's music is borrowed; the introductory theme is taken from the James Bond classic "Thunderball", since the four-note trumpet sound fits perfectly with Benton Harbor's "Buck-buck-buck-buuuuuck" chicken call that precedes the title.

Chickenman's greatest foes include the Chicken-Plucker, the Dog Lady, Big Clyde Crushman, the Bear Lady, the Very Diabolical, Rodney Farber (a childhood playmate who never forgave Benton Harbor for breaking his red wagon one Christmas Day), and the Couple From SHTICK (Secret Henchmen To Injure Crime Killers). Benton Harbor is prone to spoonerisms, such as "I shall not rest while rime runs crampant in the streets of Midland City."[2][3]

The program was revived in 1973 as Chickenman vs. the Earth-Polluters, an ecology series in which the "Fearless Feathered Fighter" battles pollution in Midland City, organizing the BEAK (Beautiful Earth & Air Keepers) Patrol. A total of 52 episodes were recorded.

In 1977, it was revived as Chickenman Returns for the Last Time Again. The "Wonderful White-Winged Warrior" feels that time had passed him by and he decides to open a crime-fighting school to carry on his crusade. However, there is only one student: Leon Cabblemouth (played by Orkin's then-partner, Burt Berdis). Orkin and Rich Koz co-authored several of the episodes, which numbered 65.



The 312 episodes of Chickenman are regularly played on the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS), especially on stations broadcasting to service personnel outside the continental United States. It first appeared on AFRTS during the Vietnam War.

The show can be heard daily on XM Radio's Channel 151, Laugh USA, and was formerly played on XM Radio Channel 6 before it merged with Sirius Satellite Radio. It is also broadcast on WFJV 103.3 in Crystal River Florida on weekday mornings at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 AM. Also, WION-AM, I-1430(kHz) in Ionia, Michigan and their low-power FM translator station on 92.7(mHz) broadcast episodes weekdays a few minutes after 8:00am and 12:00 noon (generally around 12 minutes after the hour). Several episodes have been used by This American Life.

In Canada, Chickenman can be heard on CJBQ in Belleville, Ontario. The AM station's afternoon drive host Freddy Vette airs episodes during his weekday programs.

Chickenman is well known in Australia, and all of the episodes were broadcast in the 1990s on 5AD (now Mix 102.3 FM. It is currently heard on weekdays on Curtin FM 100.1[4] in Perth, Western Australia, and on 5MU[5] in South Australia.

Chickenman is played in New Zealand on Mangawhai's Heads FM 106.4 FM, to the bafflement of the listening public.


All 312 episodes, along with station promos and two CDs of exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews, are available to collectors on a 14-CD package.[6]


  1. ^ 1985 Interview with Dick Orkin-Chickenman & WCFL
  2. ^ Hoffman. "Chickenman". the Official 60's Site. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Hoffman. "Winner of WCFL "What Does Chickenman Look Like?" Contest". the Official 60's Site. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Curtin FM-Australia
  5. ^ 5MU
  6. ^ CDs

External links

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