Chicken Minute (partially lost Canadian puppet TV series; 1990-1993)
Chicken Minute (Cocotte Minute in the alternative French) was a puppet TV series made in Canada that originally ran from 1990 to 1993, created by Henri Desclez. It was set in the Canadian bayou, with anthropomorphic animal characters.
The number of episodes is uncertain, but it seems at least 36 of them exist.
The puppet characters are anthropomorphic animals (almost always shown waist up, of course). The main one is a simple-minded alligator Anatole, who likes fishing and hanging with his friends: the others are a fox called Minute who plays guitar and who is in a relationship with a hen, Mama Chicken (Cocotte in French), who cooks delicious popcorn (Minute became vegetarian for her). The narrator is Ulysses, a chick still living in his egg and who is extremely smart despite his age.
The main villain is Mudbelly, a swamp monster who lives among the mud and likes to play nasty tricks on the other characters but can be in friendly terms with them too at times. Almost every episode contains one or more musical numbers performed by one or more characters.
Loss of Episodes
Only a few episodes are known to have been released in the English dub on VHS and at least one LaserDisc. Of these, only three have been uploaded on YouTube ("Coop de Ville," "The Singing Contest," and "The Bayou Treasure").
Henri Desclez also created two other puppet show series, Little Star and Iris The Happy Professor (aka Professor Iris) that have most of their episodes lost as well. They had only a few VHS releases, and other episodes survive mostly through individual recordings/reuploads.
Contributions by Show's Creator
In the early 2010s, one of the original staff that worked on the show, Jean Gagnon (art director, background and puppet designer), uploaded several episodes on YouTube in the French dub (however, some of these have their audio off-sync, so be warned). Many more episodes are still missing, though.According to Gagnon in the comments of these reuploads, there were legal disputes between the authors of the show, part of the reason why this series has never gotten a full proper release. He also adds:
"Henri Desclez sold his productions to other producers, and returned to live in France. Someone produced the last season for Chicken Minute, and nothing more came out of it. During those times, people didn't bother to release shows on VHS. There have been a few VHS for Professor Iris and Little Star, and that's about it. It was due to the puppeteers becoming too greedy; they destroyed these series by asking a 'double salary' because they claimed they were doing two jobs: comedian and puppet operator. The wages got too high, and this put an end to a beautiful adventure that, until then, looked promising. We were starting to reach a serious level of expertise."
Gagnon also contributed to Little Star and Professor Iris, other puppet TV series. He has added some episodes or fragments of these shows on his channel as well.
List of Found Episodes
Each episode's number is taken from the opening narration. This should take priority over MSN Entertainment or Planète Jeunesse's own numberings. The number of episodes is uncertain, and some episodes are not described in the MSN list.
|#||English Title||French Title||Status (English)||Status (French)||Notes|
|1||The Mystery of Bayou(?)||Le Mystère du Bayou||Lost||Found||Direct English translation of the French title.|
|3||Ulysses' Revenge||La Revanche d'Ulysse||Found||Found|
|6||Cousin Alexandre(?)||Coop de Ville||Found||Lost||English title unconfirmed.|
|7||The Fortune Teller||La Gitane||Lost||Found|
|8||The Film||Le Film||Lost||Found|
|13||The Reluctant Hero||La Coquille Sauvage||Lost||Found|
|15||The Watch Thief||Le Voleur de Montres||Lost||Found|
|19||The Singing Contest||Mega Star(?)||Found||Lost|
|21||The Report(?)||Le Reportage||Lost||Found||Direct English translation of the French title.|
|23||Mudbelly's Wedding||Le Mariage de Draduli||Lost||Found|
|24||Once Upon A Time in the Bayou||Il Etait Une Fois Dans le Bayou||Lost||Found|
|25||The Bayou Treasure||Le trésor du Bayou(?)||Found||Lost||Direct French translation of the English title.|
|?||The Magician's Apprentice||L'Apprenti Magicien||Lost||Found|
- MSN Entertainment list of episodes with plot descriptions. Retrieved 08 Apr '15
- Entry on the Planète Jeunesse website (incomplete). Retrieved 08 Apr '15
- YouTube link to another episode of "Le Mystère du Bayou." Retrieved 08 Apr '15