What’s The Deal With That ‘Go, You Chicken Fat, Go’ iPhone Commercial Anyway?

Perhaps you, like me, have noticed the latest commercial for the iPhone 5s, which features a song containing the lyrics “Go, you chicken fat, go.” And perhaps you, again like me, began to wonder just what in the hell any of that meant or had to do with modern telecommunications, especially considering the last big commercial for the iPhone 5s featured a rock group made up of teenagers singing an uplifting and peppy song that is technically about a giant penis. What wonderful secrets did this song selection contain?

So, we go to Google. Tell me about this “Chicken Fat” song, Internet.

“Chicken Fat,” also known as “The Youth Fitness Song.” Composed for President Kennedy’s Physical Fitness Program. Recordings of this song were sent to school districts throughout the United States to accompany the official U.S. Physical Fitness program of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. [JFK Library]

Wait, what?

In 1961, [Robert] 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 part of many baby-boomers’ childhood memories. [Wikipedia]

Okay, so there are two things going on here:

The first thing is that Apple is promoting the fitness-assisting capabilities of its fancy new product by using a quirky, notable fitness-related song from over 50 years ago, which is quite the change of pace from the days when they would make stars out of lesser-known indie bands by dropping a snippet of one of their songs over a neon orange screen filled with hip, dancing silhouettes, but whatever, I guess. I’m no marketing guru. And here I am talking about it free of charge, so some part of it must be working, right?

But the second and much more important thing is that apparently John F. Kennedy commissioned the creator of The Music Man to write a song that would inspire pudgy children to do push-ups, and that guy went back to Kennedy at some point after that with a song riddled with lyrics like “Nuts to the flabby guys! Go, you chicken fat, go away!,” to which Kennedy replied, presumably, “Perfect. Ship it to every school in America.” This is incredible. And can you even imagine the left-right poo-flinging that would take place on cable news if this happened today? It would be chaos. Someone’s head might literally explode on-camera. I vote we try it.