My full name is Abigail Philomena Mercy Cornscratcher, a distinguished
family name and that it came to pass that I would play a widder in film,
“Miss Prissy”, would probably have shamed my entire family to death.
Of course, that would have been the least of their concerns —
and causes of death. I have done far too much to return to innocent days.

So, back to how I broke into film. First, that’s a misnomer,
film broke me in. My first films were in Tijuana. I bet you’d love
to hear the story. First and foremost, I was a widow all right.
At a tender young age, I crossed the plains as one of many child
brides of Joseph Smith—it was because of me he pronounced
a special dispensation for cross species breeding — his feelings
were that strong. Things would have turned out differently
if we had only had a chick. I promised him a mighty
rooster just like him but fate was not so kind.

When he died I was shunned, cast from the flock.
I had to survive on my own. Soon, well known, well
to do, forthright gentlemen of the congregation came to visit,
tell me how they would love to help me, fallen as I was on hard times.
Soon, I realized every gift comes with strings attached
and many a rooster no longer rules the roost; many a man
lusts after that which he does not possess, and money is such an easy
way to get what you want. I had no ambition to be a wanton woman,
but fate had other plans for me. I did not have the luxury of pride.
I did what they asked, learnt to play the parts they wished in return
for a fiction of freedom from want and misery. I planned my escape.

Foolishly, I thought people would want to help a poor fowl down on her luck.
It didn’t take long to realize the Kingdom of God is long gone from this land
and the Devil rules and if you play by his rules — you succeed.
I moved to Vegas, I was a plaything for mobsters and their friends.
I heard about movies they were making in Mexico. They offered
big money and a chance to be free. A number of not to be named
second tier stars were doing it as well — I thought I might meet someone
and get lucky. So, I went to Tijuana. What can I say? The industry
loves chicken.

When I was there, I didn’t meet a star, I met a star-maker — Charles Feldman.
He didn’t ask what I was doing there; I didn’t ask him either. Before you jump
to conclusions it wasn’t like that — we met in a bar, shared some laughs.
I knew quite a few “off-colour” jokes by that point and the high point of the
night was when Mr. Feldman said “Sugar, you crack me up!”
I don’t think he understood what that phrase means to a hen, but he gave me his card,
told me to look him up if I ever made it to Hollywood — the studios
always wanted new animal characters. I packed my bags that night,
was waiting on his doorstep the next morning before he arrived to work.
He was such a kind man. Once he got over the surprise of seeing me there,
he said, “OK, let’s see if we can get you some work.” It was his idea for me
to play the widder, he told me, “You look innocent with those big baby blues.
The part’s yours, if you want it. Just don’t tell any jokes.”

Everything would have been fine except for that big buffoon of a rooster.
Now, maybe if he was a real rooster, things might have turned out differently
but he was a low, unfit, creature whose mind apparently had been born
in the gutter along with him. Of course, he had a disgusting taste for dirty
pictures, along with dirty laundry and of course he found out about my past.
Mr. Feldman had never asked me much about what I was doing in Mexico
and I never felt he needed to know. So once again another depraved man sought
to “comfort me” and “no one ever need know.” So now, you, and I imagine
the entire world, will know. So be it. As long as you let the world know
what a disgrace of a wretched wreck of a bird that wicked rooster is.
I should never have given in, I should have told him, “Go ahead, make my day,”
and blown his head off. But I didn’t. At least he didn’t take long.

The desire for revenge became a constant in my life. George P. Dog
was my suggestion. I’d met George at a casting call. He was a nice guy.
Not very aggressive. I coached him. I told him, “Bring out the bad side, George.
Frighten them! No more Mr. Nice Guy!” He was working on it. The opportunity
arose whereby I could add misery to that insidious creature’s life. The studio
wanted another character for the louse to play off. I meekly suggested,
“Why not a dog — I know one.” Well, Cornpone squawked, “No dogs on set!”
Everyone by that point was completely tired of Kernel Blowhard Lowborn,
I’ll never forget Mr. McKimson saying, “I think a dog will work out fine.”
Oh how my heart beat when I heard that. Justice arrived. I got in touch
with George, told him about the part, and that I put in the good word.
Everyone loved the role he’d been working on. George was in, and so was
my revenge. The look on that inflated buffoon’s face when he met George;
when he met every baseball bat, slat of wood, every time he flew out
of frame when George barked his sorry ass to Hell. After that, every day
George P. Dog was on set was a gift that kept on giving.

My only regret is I had no choice in how I led my life.
Men were always telling me what to do or wanting to tell me what to do
and the only constant was they all thought they could own me. But that’s done.
I saved a nice nest egg, and I’m on my own. No men, no humiliation.
Just me and this fine ranch, with rich soil you can sink your claws into
and peck to your heart’s delight. Funny, I left a farm just like this
to see the world, to discover life, to experience love. Then I went
to the very bottom where I performed in a caricature of life
for my daily corn, and finally, I have come full circle back to where
I began. If only I had known, I might never have left. Maybe you should
call me Candide.
(From the beginning in 1950, Miss Prissy played a part she needed so she could escape. Again, the stories the women of cartoons tell speak of an industry tilted against them. I hope this glimpse into Miss Prissy’s life serves to inspire future hens. GG)