In this week’s installment, we’re going back to London to check on the exploits of Danger Mouse and his loyal sidekick, Penfold. The episode of Danger Mouse we’re covering is “Chicken Run,” written by Mike Harding and Brian Trueman, directed by Brian Cosgrove.
We begin this episode not at Danger Mouse headquarters, but instead at the International Egg Company, where the director is dictating a letter to his secretary to send to Baron Greenback, in which he is explaining that the giant chicken Greenback is describing could not possibly exist because a chicken that large would need to have come from a giant egg. And the giant egg could not possibly exist, because well, it would need to have come from a giant chicken, which doesn’t exist because of the aforementioned lack of the giant egg. As a kid, I’m certain this chicken and the egg bit would have flown way over my head. Such a philosophical quandary to open the show with. Which would come first, the giant chicken or the giant egg?
Oh yeah, while all of this is going on, there’s a giant chicken walking through the city in the background. Eventually, the giant chicken comes up to their window, giving us one final joke. The director is about to say where their chickens come from, but the secretary interrupts him by saying a hen. He of course corrects her and says that the eggs come from more than one hen. So really, once you get the idea for a giant chicken, the first scene of this show really just writes itself. She finally points out the giant chicken out the window, it busts out the window, and they run off.
Danger Mouse and Penfold are having breakfast, in which Danger’s soft boiled eggs ended up being a bit on the hard side. Here, Penfold has a couple quick one-liners. The first, commenting on Danger’s egg, he responds with “perhaps its mother was a brick-layer.” Secondly, the alarm comes on and you can hear Colonel K going “scramble scramble scramble,” and Penfold says, “I thought they were boiled.” Get it? He’s referring to the egg from seconds before. Ah, fun times.
Colonel K tells them that a super serum was stolen from Dr. Heinrich Squakncluck. He had just happened to be demonstrating that you can use the serum to make chickens grow larger to feed more people. When they slowed down the video, you can see that it was Greenback and Stiletto that stole the serum.
Danger Mouse and Penfold go searching for Greenback when Penfold discovers the giant chicken. It chases after him, but Danger distracts by pretending to be a rooster. Now, I know this is a cartoon, but how in the world does covering yourself in green paint and putting a glove on your head make you a convincing rooster? Seriously. It was green paint. No costume, nothing. Are roosters in England green, so this bit would make perfect sense to someone across the pond? There are a lot of preposterous things in these episodes, but green rooster disguises are where I draw the line.
They then have to do some fancy driving to get around a bunch of giant eggs that are rolling down the street. Unfortunately, a giant egg gets hurled at them, somehow, and lands directly on their car. Though, as Danger puts it, the tragic thing is they don’t have a 5 ft. slab of bacon to go with it. The chicken chases them literally all over England. There’s a map with a dotted line on it and everything. They run off a cliff into some water, but still the chicken persisted. Penfold thought that chickens couldn’t swim, and Danger suggested that he tell the chicken that. Eventually, they come up on more land, and are rescued by Flying Officer Buggles Pigeon, much like the Great Eagles that saved Gandalf and the Hobbits from the trees. Unlike the Great Eagles, Flying Officer Pigeon did take Danger and Penfold to their destination.
Flying Officer Pigeon crash lands, but they’re at the farm where Greenback is operating. Danger and Penfold are trying to sneak in, but Greenback is monitoring them. They go into the barn, and are immediately captured. Greenback goes through his plan, showing the chickens growing, but laying normal sized eggs. This is bringing up several questions in my mind. First, when Danger and Penfold were dodging the eggs earlier, where did those eggs come from? An average chicken egg should be about the size of a mouse. The eggs they were driving around earlier were much bigger than their car. The one that hit them was as big as their car. So, where did these eggs come from if the giant chicken is laying normal looking eggs, even though they produce giant chicks with shifty eyes.
Secondly, when Danger was eating breakfast at the beginning of the episode, what kind of egg was he using? It couldn’t have been a standard chicken egg, as it was much smaller to him. He was holding the egg much like a human would hold a standard chicken egg. So, what was he trying to eat? These are the important questions.
Danger and Penfold are dropped into the giant chicken coup with a couple of the giant chickens. Danger is dodging their pecks, and Penfold accidentally dives into feeder that contains the giant serum. Penfold grows up, saves Danger, and conveniently already has Greenback and Stiletto in his clutches.
Even though I wouldn’t have passed this episode up since it was the next one in the series on Netflix, I was drawn in by the description starting with, “When Baron Greenback unleashes giant super-chickens on London.” How could anyone say no to that? Another fun episode with plenty of one-liners and quick word play.