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Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 72
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Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 72

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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70 Wednesday August 23. 1978 Philadelphia Daily News ttlhe Vefi By MART PLANNER I hate to say it, because Dave Raymond is a really enthusiastic guy, who puts heart and soul and tons of sweat into Phillie Phanatic, and the kids love him 'cause he's so roly-poly cute and cuddly, and like I said, he really tries hard. But last night KGB Chicken won the tition, as it was, at the Vet. the battle of the cartoon characters. It was hardly an equal battle, though. Chicken is 4 years old, PJ. four months. "He's great He's quick, just like a chicken," admired Raymond, the University of Delaware senior who is Phillie Phanatic. "You can tell he's been doing this for five years. He and I talked out what we were both going to do to entertain the fans. And we took turns. He didn't want to get in the way of my act and I wanted the people to see him." Each has his own style. Chicken, the ban-tom rooster from San Diego in his vivid red costume and canary-colored headress, had been invited to the Vet bv the Phillies and even pro- aucea cneenng in the bases in a Pete Rose Mr. Hustle imitation. 1 KGB Chicken, wholl be appearing today at the Busi nesspersons' afternoon game, is roosting on a golden egg. Last year, Ted Giannou-las, 24, earned upwards of $50,000. and royalties of Chicken's memoirs, "From sold only in the San Diego area, are just beginning to pile up. But when it comes April 15 every year, Gian-noulas fills in "entertainer" on the occupation line of the IRS tax return form. "I don't want to be audited," he said. "Cant you just see it "What's this guy? A BUT GIANNOULAS eventually would like to clip his wings permanently and strike out as a stand-up comedien, a la Steve Martin. And because comedy is his future occupation, he sees his job as Chicken in philosophical terms. "When I first got the job and it was because I was the only guy who could fit the suit it was only supposed to be for two weeks. I passed out Easter eggs at the zoo," Chicken recalled. "But they got a favorable reaction. KGB (radio) asked me to stay on and I decided I wanted to give Chicken a personality. "Chicken would be a sports fan. So, opening night at the Padres (in 1974), I went to the stadium in my costume, bought a hot dog and a beer. I just kept taking this gig one step further. "I gear KGB Chicken for adult audiences. I know children are enchanted by the color of the costume and the fur. But I decided if I was going to put a character to it, I'd make him a latter-day Groucho Marx, because the KGB (listening) audience is 18 and older." THAT'S ONE BIG difference between Chicken and PJ "He does some material," Raymond says, "which is I don't know risque. He lifts his leg like he's wetting on the opposing players. And he drinks beer at the game, so he goes insane kissing girls and stuff like that. "I cant drink beer because of the nature of Phillie Phanatic's costume. And I'm sure if I were able to, I wouldn't be allowed to. Since I'm trying to promote the Phillies, I cant do risque things. And I dont know if the Phillies' fans would really get into it" They did laugh. When Bake McBride hit an RBI single in the second inning, Chicken threw himself on the roof of the Phillies' dugout prostrate in despair. Luzinski doubled McBride home, and Chicken paced the Phils' rooftop. The crowd chuckled at his antics. But when Schmidt hit his ground-rule double, scoring three runs, and Phillie Phanatic was smacking his green paws togther in glee and the fans were roaring where was KGB Chicken? Nobody missed him. A But if big, friendly Pha-natic is a Sesame Street spinoff. KGB Chicken has part of his roots in X-rated FritztheCat While PJ. was hugging me kios in tne stands. Chicken hopped over the railing in the third innin? Phanatic and grabbed a folding chair from the Padres' dugout. He ran down the third- base line and plunked himself down next to Mary Sue Styles, the glamorous ballgirL But getting close to Mary Sue wasnt enough. Chicken grabbed her, toppled to the ground and rolled around on the AstroTurf. Mary Sue finally extricated herself and picked up her chair, lion-tamer style, to fend off Chicken. "WHERE WERE YOU when I needed you?" wailed Mary Sue when Phanatic waddled over a couple of innings later. The differences in their deliveries mirror not only their respective employers but their own outlook about the job. For Raymond, being PP. is a tiring but amusing way to spend a summer. For his work, hell earn maybe twice his salary last summer when he was solely a publicity aide. The added income allowed Raymond to buy a car to make the long commute from his Newark, home. Phillie Phanatic frolicks with the Veterans Stadium grounds crew and mingles with the kids in the stands. But KGB Chicken has a different brand of humor altogether. He grabs a chair and sits next to Mary Sue Styles (top), goes, after the Phils' ballgirl in a mock attack (middle), then tumbles to the turf with her. "lographed by Prentice Cole

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