Mob-Linked Bird Baron Knocks Up Chickens South of the Border


Frank Perdue, the pope of poultry, has died. Some will remember him for his folksy commercials and avian face; others for his dealings with mobster Paul Castellano, who helped distribute the company's product in New York but said no when Perdue asked him to suppress a union drive down south. I will remember him for the chicken, which isn't all that good, and for this story, which may or may not be true:

Chicken-man Frank Perdue's slogan, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," got terribly mangled in another Spanish translation. A photo of Perdue with one of his birds appeared on billboards all over Mexico with a caption that explained "It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused." Elsewhere, the slogan was translated into, "It takes a virile man to make a chicken pregnant."

Rest in peace, Frank. Seventy-two laying hens await you.

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  1. He definitely looked like a chicken – I always wondered if that was a cause, or an effect of his career.

  2. I never knew about the mob ties. But it puts a rather ominous spin on an old joke I heard when I was a kid.

    Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
    A: He was running away from Frank Perdue.

  3. ” I will remember him for the chicken, which isn’t all that good…”

    Jesse…you’re kidding, right? His Oven-Stuffers ROCK!!!

  4. I don’t think I’ve sampled the oven-stuffers. But I’ve grilled his chicken breasts and I’ve stir-fried his chicken breasts; they tended to be stringy and not very juicy. These days I just don’t buy the brand.

  5. I’m from Salisbury, so I may be biased, but I really like Perdue Chicken. I usually just use the boneless breasts, though.

    As far as Frank, the man, I didnt know him but I know too many of his grandsons.

    IIRC he is also known for killing at least 1 person, maybe 2 with his senior driving. I know of at least one fatal accident for sure.

  6. Anyone notice the similarities between the pope and Frank Perdue?

    Twins separated at birth?

  7. RIP… Rest in Poultry

  8. Tony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential, writes about his experiences working with a former wiseguy-turned-chicken-restaraunteur. All sorts of shady guys come in to help around the place, and “Frank Fuckin’ Purdue” is mentioned as a supplier.

  9. Remember the commercial where Frank F. Purdue made like he was stripping to promote his skinless chicken breasts (well, not actually his breasts, but you know what I mean)?

    I’m still in therapy as a result.

    Good night, funny man. Let’s hope God isn’t a vegetarian.

  10. The Oven-Stuffer Roaster? is just like your standard bulky-but-tasteless Perdue chicken, only twice the size! It’s dynamistic!

  11. Anyone notice the similarities between the pope and Frank Perdue? – “Rich Hall”

    He’s a chicken, I tell ya, a giant chicken !

    I always preferred Empire Kosher, myself.


  12. I suspect the Perdue chicken people get on the eastern shore is fresher and much better than the same Perdue chicken people get elsewhere–at least, that’s the way I remember it. I don’t know if any of you have eaten a chicken just after it’s been butchered–it makes a big difference.

    …the cigarettes you get at the local gas station in North Carolina are unbelievably smooth compared to the same brand in Chicago, LA or New York too–for the same reason, I believe.

  13. Rhinobird, et al, Was it Josh Billings, 1840’s U.S. humourist, who came up with that joke? I would like an answer if anyone is still on this thread.

  14. Q: why did the pervert cross the road?
    A: because his dick was stuck in a chicken.

  15. Ken,
    This is probably true. Just like it’s near impossible to get good guac outside of SoCal. When I lived in the Northeast, my love of fruit went down considerably as well.

  16. When I lived in the Northeast, my love of fruit went down considerably as well.

    Apples?? Pears?? Cherries?? Where I grew up, in the hometown of Johnny Appleseed they didn’t come any fresher.

  17. The Perdue Chicken Cookbook (by Frank’s wife) is pretty good. Free etext available on Project Gutenberg.

  18. I have relatives who used to work for Perdue. Visiting them in Delaware once I was shown a cartoon someone had drawn, a chicken with Frank Perdue’s head and a very large penis. The caption: “Try my Oven-Stuffer Roaster (R).”

    I wish I had made a copy.

  19. Frank, the Colonel, and Orville should get together on the other side. Corn and chicken.

  20. Revealed at last! The secret conspiracy between the Vatican and chicken !


  21. Dick Orkin is Chicken Man, not this Johnny-come-lately Perdue dude.

    Dick has morphed into the Tooth Fairy, currently on preferred radio stations, for those of us who care.

    If you weren’t in ‘Nam, Dick made time go a little faster, which was a good thing.

    “Rest in peace, Frank. Seventy-two laying hens await you.”

    This quote reminds me of the philosophical query from my grandfather many moons ago: “When you hear the cackling of a hen, does it indicate laying or lying?”

    My grandfather was the William Safire of Middle Tennessee.

  22. Any time that you’re in danger
    When you’re threatened by a stranger
    When it looks like you will take a lickin’
    There is someone waiting
    Who will hurry up and rescue you
    Just CAWWWWWWWWll for Super Chicken!

    Now if you’re afraid you’ll have to overlook it
    Besides, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it
    Then he will drink his Super Sauce
    And throw the bad guys for a loss
    And he will bring them in alive and kickin’
    There’s a lesson you should learn
    When there is no one else to turn
    CAWWWWWWWWll for Super Chicken!
    CAWWWWWWWWll for Super Chicken!

  23. Hey Ken, I remember buying those cigarettes for you on the way back from Massachusettes. I hope you quit that nasty habit already.

  24. It takes a tough man to torture a defenseless bird.

    Buy free range.

  25. Frank and his son used to come into a restaurant where I waited tables in the early eighties. Seemed like a decent enough guy – lousy tipper, though…

  26. Rich people are almost always lousy tippers.

    Never understood that.

  27. Never did a poultry-related fact surprise me more than at Blue Ribbon in NYC. I had tasty fried chicken there. Really good stuff. I assumed it was some kind of free-range bird.

    When I asked the staff what it was, they went away to the kitchen, then returned five minutes later with the news that it was a fryer from good old Frank Perdue.

  28. Bad chicken, man! Mess you UP!

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