Yes, Flannery O’Connor DID Teach Her Chicken To Walk Backwards!

Today I learned that Flannery O’Connor had her first brush with fame at the age of 6 because she had taught one of her chickens to walk backwards. The Pathé newsreel people somehow heard about this, and they rushed to Georgia to film her. That short was screened all over the world. She joked that “When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathé News. I was in it, too, with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken, but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been anticlimax.”

It took a while, but after a lot of dead-ends, I finally found the film online. (Glory hallelujah, there is now a Pathé archive online!) Click here to watch “Do You Reverse?” (1932).

Sadly, O’Connor died at 39 from lupus. I don’t believe she ever saw the film.

Oh! And tomorrow would have been Flannery O’Connor’s 85th birthday. Happy Birthday, Chicken Whisperer!

 




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8 responses to “Yes, Flannery O’Connor DID Teach Her Chicken To Walk Backwards!

  1. thank you so much, I had been searching for this with no luck.
    Flann did it, I believe it, and that settles it – as they say in Georgia.
    ciao
    diana
    Italy

    • It took me quite a while to find it. I’m glad you liked it. Since I posted this, I’ve gotten a huge number of hits, so I guess a lot of other people have been searching for it, too!

  2. good work on tracking this down. many thanks.

  3. Pingback: Of Temples and Chickens | Esse Diem

  4. This is so great! I linked to you in my post today.

  5. I’m so delighted to find this. I’m reading the Brad Gooch Biography of Flannery O’Connor and was enthralled with the ‘chicken story’.
    So delightful to see her as a little girl in this film.
    Well done for finding it!
    Denise Curtin

    • Thank you! Since I found this and posted it, I’ve gotten a huge number of hits on it. I’ll take a little of the credit in the fact that this newsreel is now easy to find on the internet. Since I posted this, the Pathe description now identifies “Mary O’Connor” as “Flannery O’Connor.” Too bad she never had a chance to see herself in this. Thanks, again,

      –Paula

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