Chickens have always beeen a significant part in the history of vaudeville, carnivals, and ramshackle roadside attractions. They play tic-tac-toe, (known as Chick-tac-toe), dance (with the aid of an electrified floor), and have their head bitten off by geeks. But none ever achieved the skill of Clucko, the Mezmorizing Chicken.
Every chicken farmer and aficionado knows that chickens can easily be hypnotized by simply drawing a line on the ground. Which is what Hiram Gohmert attempted one day while amusing his idiot son, Louie. Clucko, however, failed to fall under a spell, and Hiram dropped the chick and went back into the house. When he emerged an hour or so later, he found Clucko scratching the ground, and Louie stunned and goggled eyed. He watched as the chicken made the hypnotized Louie dance, sing silly songs, impersonate an Irishman and, as this picture shows, smoke a cigarette.
Hiram, who always had aspirations to showbiz, auditioned Clucko and Louie for Alexander Pantages who immediately put him on his vaudeville circuit. The act was a hit. Hiram would walk strut out from the wings with his prized chicken and slack jawed son and place them on the stage. While Louie would stare at the lights and audience with a dull and confused expression as if suddenly found himself in a strange, foreign land, Clucko would spring into action, scratching the floor in front of Louie, hypnotizing him, and while in his trance put him through a series of demonstrations such as convincing him his chair was blazing hot, causing him to leap up and slap his behind, and then that Louie was being attacked by a swarm of bees, when, to peals of laughter bellowing from the audience, he would run terrified around the stage swatting frantically at the air until Clucko awakened him.
Alas, at the height of his fame, Clucko’s career was cut short in Seattle when the booker had him share a dressing room with Swain’s Rats and Cats. Feathers and fur flew as Clucko went after a rat and a cat went after Clucko. Such is showbiz.