RVOD141 Unto the Least of These

(1970s-ish, Educational/Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

The most effective method, according to our consultant Wile E. Coyote.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell

Texas conservationists go to way too much effort to rescue wild chickens.


Booming all over the place.Wild prairie chickens boom their way through the booming outskirts of Houston. Planes boom to and from their destinations at the local airport, located right in the middle of the chickens’ traditional booming grounds. (Yes, the narrator really talks like that.) Lacking even the most basic of survival instincts, this ultrarare breed of poultry refuses to flee—more than just an annoyance, as chickens and jet engines in close proximity tend to destroy one another. There is only one possible solution: attach a huge net to the front of a helicopter and scoop up the errant birds one by one. The chickens get packed into lasagna boxes and airlifted to a storm-devastated bit of countryside that no one else seems to want. Because of St. Matthew, I guess.


The lasagna boxes show that at least someone was thinking frugally, but I bet I could have saved the state at least five million more dollars by swapping the helicopter and private plane for a dart gun and pickup truck, respectively. The fuel costs for this operation alone must have been staggering.

Except for the odd bit of “booming” nonsense, the short starts off pretty boring. I got kind of antsy after the first few minutes content-free narration, but then they bolted an enormous butterfly net to the front of a helicopter, and I couldn’t stop laughing. Seriously? A state agency spent taxpayer money to do this? Guys, I work for a state agency, and uh, wow... I’ve never been in a position to do something like this, but let’s say I did. Let’s say I had access to state funds, a reasonable amount of authority, a lack of immediate supervision and a directive to save some wild chickens. Now let’s say I went on to spend even more state money to make a film obliquely extolling my Rube Goldberg-esque plan as the will of the Almighty. I would get called into someone’s office. I would have some splainin’ to do.

A few favorite comments: While the net/helicopter combo zooms just a few feet off the ground, Kevin says, “I’m pretty sure a cartoon dog catcher could do this in less time.” The narrator reveals that the relocation area has been devastated by several consecutive natural disasters, and Bill adds, “It’s not a plan we’ve thought through. At all. At any phase.” When the narrator warns that these chickens might become extinct by the year 2000, Mike adds, “Don’t get your hopes up; they’re not.” It’s a dull, dry, staid little short, depicting serious men doing things that must have seemed like a good idea to their five-year-old children at the time. With the commentary, it thankfully ends up with more hilarity than boredom.