SUMMARY: An elderly couple’s dog must defend them against a malevolent space chicken.
WHY IT’S HERE: John Dilworth’s ‘The Chicken from Outer Space’ is a short which ultimately spawned the Cartoon Network TV series ‘Courage, the Cowardly Dog’. It has a very 90s TV feel to it, with the grotesque and the surreal (staples of 90s kid’s cartoons) playing a large part but it is also very funny. The short’s relative obscurity, despite an Oscar nomination, is due to the fact that it has come to be seen more as a pilot episode than a stand alone short, a tell-tale sign of how low on the totem pole TV animation is often seen as being, despite it producing some of the masterpieces of the medium. Since ‘The Chicken from Outer Space’ was meant to be a stand-alone piece, Dilworth kills off the character of Eustace who would later return when a series was commissioned. In this respect, ‘The Chicken from Outer Space’ could be considered as non-canonical in the ‘Courage, the Cowardly Dog’ universe. Nevertheless, the series contained a sequel episode, ‘The Revenge of the Chicken from Outer Space’, in which the title character returned for the last time.