Mike the Headless Chicken
Kong Studio continues their original content ‘A Long Story Short’ series with the tale of Mike the Headless Chicken.
The Long Story Short concept is to tell an interesting and amusing true story in under 60 seconds using the medium of animation. And in this case a song!
Mike, the Headless Chicken’s story begins in Colorado in 1945. Mike, a male Wyandotte chicken, defied death and continued to live for a further 18 months after having his head chopped off by hungry farmer Lloyd Olsen. He may have lost his head but, Mike gained fame and fortune traveling sideshows until his death in 1947. His legacy has hen-dured ever since.
Kong Studio Co-Founder Tom had been aware of the true story of a chicken who lived without a head for some time. Kong’s first ‘Long Story Short’ installment, ‘Two Ton Tony’, was written by Bill Elliott. Egg-spectations were high for Tom to come up with his own one-minute animation. But he didn’t want to put all his eggs in just an animation basket. He chose to write and sing a song to tell the story too.
Tom worked around the cluck to nail down the words, melody, and animatic in one evening. Scared the musical recipe might not be to everyone’s taste. Tom needn’t be concerned about his chicken coming home to roost. He had created an ear-splitting eggstravaganza!
The idea of a circular motion was plucked from an earlier concept by designer Matt Oxborrow and reminiscent of an old record being played. Tom asked Matt to join the flock and add his flourishes to the overall style. Matt’s im-peck-able designs really lift the story, and the result is poultry in motion. The next test was fine-tuning the animation to include all the visual details of Mike’s gory story.
Mike the Headless Chicken – it’s a tale that is weird, shocking, silly, and funny all at once.
Kong Co-founder Tom Baker said of the creative process –
“I’ve always dreamed of writing a silly song about chickens and when we started doing these Long Story Shorts it felt like time. Cartoon chickens are funny. Walking chickens are even funnier and if you take the head off, put it to music then that’s a long way to having something worth making. I’m glad Matt was involved as he’s really good with circles meaning I could focus on chickens, farmers, and sweet, sweet music. I’m egg-static with the results! It’s clucking great!”
Based on a True Story
Written & Composed by Tom Baker
Design by Matt Oxborrow & Tom Baker
Animation by Tom Baker & Bill Elliott
Produced By Emma Burch