Happy 63rd anniversary to Mike the Headless Chicken, who on this date in 1945 lost his noggin, but found oh so much more.
Just an unassuming yardbird gamboling about the homestead of Fruita, Colorado, farmer Lloyd Olsen, Mike was, on that fateful day, a 5½-month old Wyandotte rooster slated for the Olsen's evening repast. Fortunately for Mike, Lloyd's axe-wielding skills were lousy and the farmer's attempted execution went awry. Sure, Mike's clucker was lopped clear off, but certain key anatomical features (brain stem, esophageal passage, an ear, don't ask) remained intact, and, bizarrely, our feathered friend survived the encounter. In fact, the lucky duck went to bed that night with his own head tucked under a wing!
Well, in true can-do American spirit, Mike kept on strutting his stuff for the next 18 months, becoming a nationwide celebrity pulling in an absurd $4,500 a month while touring the country and posing for spreads in Life and Time. He even had a personal manager. Sure, the highlife caught up with Mike and he came to a sad end choking to death in an Arizona motel room, but even in death, our headless hero continues to capture the imagination of a nation, what, with a Guinness world record, a website, a MySpace page and even a song (MP3 by Frank Meyer).