Publicity stunt dreamt up by American Walt Cooper in 1936. Cooper was an unemployed farm labourer in Tiny, Arkansas who had found sporadic work in promotions since the beginning of the great depression, usually involving the distribution of flyers dressed as large pieces of meat. One day, while patrolling the sidewalk as a southern fried drumstick, it occurred to him that no had yet settled the question of which came first: the chicken or the egg. Cooper hatched a scheme to stage a public race between the two which he billed as “The Great Decider”.
Dressed alternately as a chicken and an egg, Cooper aggressively marketed the event on the streets, promising a great spectacle for the small admission fee of 50 cents and enlisting several local businesses to provide side stalls. Word of mouth grew quickly as it became known that Walt was offering odds of 20-1 on the chicken coming first. Confident of a safe bet, hundreds of locals placed their savings on the chicken, and the community turned out in force for the day of the big race.
The attendees were to get a nasty surprise, as Walt had neglected to mention that the race was in fact downhill. Thus not only was the debate finally settled that day in favour of the egg, but a cliché was also born. As hundreds of dismayed punters gathered at the finish line to watch the outside bet racing down the hill towards them, the chicken a mere speck in the distance, they saw it roll over the line, crash into a rock and split spectacularly over their faces.