Sunday, August 14, 2011

And now for something completely different...

First I must set the stage. It is a long time ago and I am a junior-high student in my physical education class. It is raining outside and so we are all in the gym waiting for our PE teachers to start whatever they have planned for a rainy day.

Indoor dodge-ball? Modern dance? Maybe some gymnastics? Hey, we could have fun today!

And then it begins... From the overhead speakers a brass band erupts, the sound of trumpets, trombones, and drums in an all-too-familiar refrain. My heart sinks and I close my eyes as from all around a massive groan erupts. “Oh, no. Not CHICKEN FAT!

But alas, it was, and for the next almost seven minutes we would exercise and listen to Robert Preston doing his best to encourage us to do push-ups, march in place, and sing along with the refrain “Go you chicken fat, go away. Go you, chicken fat, go!”

The Chicken Fat Song

For those unfamiliar with this epic song, this was part of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under President Kennedy. Meredith Wilson wrote the song and Robert Preston sang it, both of The Music Man fame and it sure sounds like they got the same marching band they used in the movie. According to one source I found, a copy was sent to every school in the USA in 1961. Maybe some schools didn’t use it (my husband doesn’t remember it) but mine sure did.

It was bouncy, energetic, and altogether too enthusiastic for a morning gym class. But listening to it just now made me smile, and giggle, remembering how I secretly enjoyed marching in place with Preston counting cadence for us.

So why has this come up now? Well, first of all, I saw a local production of The Music Man a couple weeks ago and remembered how much I enjoyed it. In researching what else Meredith Wilson had done I found that he'd also been responsible for the Chicken Fat song.

Also I’ve been on a health-kick recently and have lost almost 20 pounds through diet and exercise in the past five months. I know it was mostly “chicken fat”, meaning fat that had accumulated through inactivity and over-eating. The picture is me last summer at one of my weight highs (the Tigger shirt hides a multitude of extra pounds.)

So go you Chicken Fat, go away. Go you, Chicken Fat, go!


Mona Risk said...

Okay so I should start singing "Go you chicken fat, go away. Go you, chicken fat, go!” I have too many extra pounds of fat. I managed to remove thirty pounds over the last two years but put back again 15. It's a losing battle and I am fed up of that yoyo dieting. All diets are great but how long can we live without the food we like?

J L said...

Oh, I remember the CF song! And to think, Meredith Wilson was responsible for it as well as for Shipoopi (heh heh).

Now that I'm back in Iowa, I can be doubly proud since MW is an Iowa boy. Must dig out that DVD of the Music Man ...

Josie said...

I don't remember this "chicken fat" song. The only "chicken" song that comes to mind is the song played at weddings--I think it's the "chicken" song?