Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Blinky, the Friendly Hen

I've known the story of Blinky the Friendly Hen for decades. In 1978 artist, Jeffrey Vallance bought a frozen fryer chicken at the Ralph's Supermarket in Canoga Park. He later buried the chicken at the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery after a brief memorial service. He also installed a grave marker for the frozen bird, naming it Blinky. Vallance wrote that he thought of Blinky's grave as being like the grave of the Unknown Chicken, representing all the millions of chickens who are slaughtered and sold as food.
According to KCET, "Ten years later, Vallance would have the body exhumed so an autopsy could be performed by UCLA's head of pathology.  The tenth anniversary exhibit on the life of Blinky, at the Rosamund Felsen Gallery in Los Angeles, featured a 'shroud of Blinky,' and a recreation of the cemetery's viewing room, with a rubber chicken lying in state. Blinky was later reburied at the cemetery."
Vallance wrote a book about this conceptual art piece 10 years ago on the 30th anniversary of Blinky's memorial.
The Memorial Park is lovely

On our day off, Monday, we decided to drive out to Calabasas to visit Blinky's grave. It was a lovely day. I'd never been to a pet cemetery before. It was very interesting. This cemetery was founded in 1928 by veterinarian Dr. Eugene C. Jones. There are over 40,000 animals interred with in it, ranging from cats, dogs, horses, parrots, a lion and of course, Blinky the Friendly Hen. I really liked looking at all the names of the various dogs and cats near Blinky's grave.

The Mausoleum was built in 1929, adorned with stained glass windows
I have never owned animals, but many of my friends do and I know how much a beloved animal can mean to a person and their family. This park is the embodiment of animal love. It's definitely worth a visit.




L.A. Pet Cemetery, 1939, WPA Photo by Burton O. Burt, L.A. Public Library Archives

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