Although my all time favorite comedy is probably Young Frankenstein or Jumping Jack Flash, which was on TV recently, one of the most memorable comedic scenes is to be found in the particularly silly Love at First Bite. Driven from his castle by an angry mob- government types according to Arte Johnson/Mr. Renfield- Dracula relocates to 1970's New York City, where only the tough survive. By the way, how does Renfield know they're from the government? Well, as he explains to George Hamilton/Count Dracula, "they have shoes."
So here is Count Dracula, morphed into a bat, on the prowl for a victim in the Big Apple. Seen through the window of a tenement or project is a dejected, desperately poor family, discussing their plight. At that moment, the unsuspecting bat flies in the window. They look up, stunned, but what do they yell? Are there cries of fear or wonder? No, after a moment's hesitation come cries of "Black chicken! Black chicken!" as they scurry trying to capture the thoroughly humiliated Count who is reduced to feeding on a Skid Row denizen.
The providential fowl is a motif I've had exposure to in life. I once met a Colombian minister, quite a learned fellow, who had graduated from Princeton. His childhood, though, was one of grinding poverty. His widowed mother had raised a large family in those days and in that country. This woman had great faith and would always tell her children, "God will provide."
One day they were walking down the street. Things were at their bleakest: they had nothing to eat. Beset by hunger, the children were complaining. "God will provide" was their mother's reply. Then, as if on cue, a bit fat juicy pigeon landed at their feet. It was a turning point. They remained poor, but circumstances were never again that desperate.
I know, I know, it sounds apocryphal. But this man of the cloth swore it was true. We've seized upon the thought at my house. Think about it. How many times has an unexpected check, or professional opportunity popped up at a particularly opportune moment. Around here, we look at each other and say, "The pigeon has landed." And so it goes.