A recent discussion on Facebook reminded me of a local kid’s show in Cleveland, Ohio. The show was “Franz the Toymaker.” Franzz would open a door and the song, “Go, You chicken Fat, Go!” would begin to play. Franz would then go through the various exercises and calisthenics described in the song.

Back in the early sixties, the song was an outgrowth of president Kennedy’s newly formed Council on Physical Fitness. Well, it was orignally formed by president Eisenhower, but it went through some changes under the Kennedy administration. You can read a brief history of it here.

And Wikipedia notes gives a little more history of the song and it’s  vocalist, Robert Preston:

“In 1961, Preston was asked to make a recording as part of a program by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness to get schoolchildren to do more daily exercise. The song, “Chicken Fat,” which was written and composed by Meredith Willson and performed by Preston with full orchestral accompaniment, was distributed to schools across the nation and played for students in calisthenics every morning. The song later became a surprise novelty hit and a part of many baby-boomers’ childhood memories.”

Growing up as a baby-boomer in Cleveland, Ohio, I can recall how, because of the President’s Council on Physical fitness, gym class became a big priority in elementary school.  And fitness programs followed me right through my entire academic career.  But for me, as a little toddler, it all started with this song and president Kennedy.

I’m sharing the song with you in hopes it’ll inspire you to keep that New Year’s resolution for health and fitness in 2012!

The kids in the video below have the right idea!  It’s a fun song and really helps you to get in the groove with your exercise program.


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