Go You Chicken Fat Go Away

I am obsessed with Chicken Fat.

Ever since I saw an iPhone commercial featuring that physical fitness golden oldie, it’s been running through my head. I even woke up one morning muttering it.

Musical theater guru Morrie Enders tells me that Meredith Willson, composer of “The Music Man,” also composed this physical fitness ditty and then he enlisted Robert Preston, star of “The Music Man,” to perform it.

Once I knew that, it made sense because it sounded as if it could have been included in the score for that musical. But what really tickles my chicken fat is that President John F. Kennedy commissioned the song, and once he heard it, apparently thought it was great, too.

I’m trying to imagine JFK, sitting in the oval office, listening to Preston singing, “Once more on the rise, Nuts to the flabby guys.”

No wonder I liked JFK.

I now understand why my dad marshaled his own forces and led us in exercises. If JFK wanted us to be physically fit, My Irish Catholic dad was going to make doubly sure we would be. Heck, we didn’t actually need the extra pushups and jumping jacks. For fun all day long we played war, ran obstacle courses and ran for the sheer joy of running.

But I can still picture Dad leading us in jumping jacks. What a sight. And the longer we jumped, the greater Dad’s army grew as neighbor kids joined in the action. I don’t think there was a flabby guy in the entire neighborhood, which is why we could keep up with my determined Dad.

The song is catchy, but I think the reason I run into the room when I hear the commercial is because it brings back such sweet memories. So give that chicken fat back to the chicken and don’t be chicken again.

Go you chicken fat, go away! Go, you chicken fat, go!


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