November 28, 2003

Poultry Slam 2003

During the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's - the highest turkey consumption period of the year - we bring you an annual This American Life tradition: stories of turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks, fowl of all kinds, real and imagined, and their mysterious hold over us. 



Ira and his friend Danielle, whose family says they're eating fish when in fact it's turkey or chicken, for an unusual reason. (3 minutes)

Act One


The story of a typical American family, and how their family dynamic has reorganized itself around an imaginary duck, invented in childhood, who somehow stayed alive well into adulthood.  (14 minutes)


“Saturday Night Fish Fry” by Louis Jordan
Act Two

Winged Warrior

In the 1960s, the adventures of "The Greatest Crimefighter the World Has Ever Known"—Chickenman—were heard on hundreds of radio stations. On today's show, the winged warrior flies again. (5 minutes) 


“Bird is the Word” by The Trashmen
Act Three

Chicken Diva

Yet another testimony to the power chickens have over our hearts and minds.  Jack Hitt reports on an opera about Chicken Little.  It's performed with dressed-up styrofoam balls, it's sung in Italian and, no kidding, able to make grown men cry.  The official website for the opera "Love's Fowl" by Susan Vitucci and Henry Krieger is http://www.pulcina.org. (14 minutes)