In the city
of New Orleans, a Jazz Funeral is considered to be the highest
honor that can be given to the dead. In January of 1999, the largest
Jazz funeral in the history of New Orleans was given to a man
known as the Chicken Man. The funeral made a television travel
show and caught the attention of Television veteran and Sedonan
and his wife had met the Chicken Man 11 years earlier in his little
Voodoo Shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans. They were actually
on a search for candles as Hurricane Florence was heading directly
for the city. Most of the shops in New Orleans were closed and
the owners were boarding up windows for to prepare for the hurricane.
The Bacons found themselves in a strange looking shop, overhearing
a phone conversation . On the phone was a "character"
covered with chicken feathers sporting a dread lock hair-do. He
was talking to someone from Dallas and explaining that he would
be happy to come as soon as the weather improved and the airlines
were running again. He hung up the phone and introduced himself
as the Chicken Man.
The Chicken Man had been on the phone with the Dallas Police Department
who wanted him to come to Dallas to help them find a missing body.
Bacon asked him how he could fin a missing body and the Chicken
Man replied "Oh that's easy. I talk to My Snake. He tell
me and he never wrong."
He went on to say that he was the King of Voodoo and had the power
of love. "New Orleans is a place where you might expect to
find the unusual," Bacon said. "The city is filled with
ghosts and mysteries." Bacon and his wife returned to Los
Angeles, but he could not put the events of the day out his mind.
He was inspired to write the melody for a song about the Chicken
Man, but he never wrote the words. It sat in his files for 10
years until he heard about the funeral.
Bacon is an Emmy award winning television Director who worked
for 33 years as a Staff Director for ABC Television in Los Angeles.
His resume reads like a who's Who in Hollywood. His resume includes
specials for Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Bob Hope, Debbie Reynolds
and Bing Crosby . His resume includes credits on ground breaking
sitcoms such as All In the Family. He has worked on Award shows
such as the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards, the Emmy Awards,
and the People's Choice Awards. Some of the shows that he has
credits on are considered historically significant such as the
Moon landings and the first Space Shuttle landing. He has contributed
to such institutions as American Bandstand and the 1984 Olympics.
He spent a large amount of his "spare time" composing
and performing music himself.
he was presented with a gold record album for his contribution
to the making of the band Chicago's comeback album, Chicago
16. Bacon decided that the music in The Chicken Man should
be based on the Jazz and blues should that oozes from the cracks
in the building in New Orleans. He sees the fictionalized version
of the Chicken Man's life as an allegory that everyone can relate
to, and hope the audience members will whistle the songs as they
leave the Theatre.
The Chicken Man stars Sammy Davis as the Voodoo King. There is
an eerie resemblance between Davis and the Chicken Man. When you
see photo's of the both of them they almost look like identical
twins (that is when you add chicken feathers and dead-locks to
Sammy). The resemblance doesn't end there. The real Chicken Man
charmed snakes and anyone who has seen Davis perform knows that
he can be quite a snake charmer himself. He can mesmerize an audience
without batting an eye. Bacon has subtitled the play "It's
All About Love", and maybe that's what Davis and the Chicken
Man really have in common-it's all about love.
The Chicken Man opens on September 7th and will run through
the 24th. Tickets are available by calling Sedona Art Center at