Pigeon Man is an episode of Hey Arnold!.
Arnold brings his sick pigeon to the mysterious Pigeon Man, who miraculously cures the bird. To show his gratitude, Arnold convinces the Pigeon Man to come down off his roof and walk around the old neighborhood.
Arnold's carrier pigeon, Chester, is sick. The only one who can help is the Pigeon Man. But, nobody has seen this mysterious man, so that only rumors circulate about him. Gerald then tells the rest of the Legend of the Pigeon Man. The scary story does not intimidate Arnold and he goes to the Pigeon Man.
He turns out to be a lonely hermit who simply prefers the company of pigeons to that of humans. He asks Arnold to leave Chester at his place for a night, and to come back tomorrow. Back at the boarding house, Arnold tells his friends about his trip. Nobody can believe that Arnold has actually met and spoken to the legendary Pigeon Man. The next day, Arnold comes to the Pigeon Man to see Chester. He looks healthy again. The Pigeon Man, whose real name is Vincent, gives Arnold some special berries Chester must be given every four hours.
Vincent tells Arnold of his childhood in the neighborhood, and how he was in Miss Slovak's class. He also tells him how much he always was interested in birds. However, his friends thought it was weird and they stopped talking to him. In the end, Arnold invites the Pigeon Man to eat a pizza at Antonio's Pizzeria. The two of them chat over their pizza.
Harold, who witnessed the scene with Stinky and Joey, comes up with an idea to go to the Pigeon Man's roof, while he's in the pizzeria sitting and make a little prank. The mischief turns out to be worse than originally planned, and the whole place is accidentally destroyed. As Arnold and the Pigeon Man come back to the roof, Arnold is totally appalled and Vincent is disappointed in humans.
Vincent then decides to leave the city, but reminds Arnold of how much his kindness has helped him regain faith in some people, and hopes wherever he goes there is another kid like him. Vincent's pigeons gather around him and finally take him away, flying toward the setting sun.
Sometime in the mid-to-late 2000s or early 2010s, an online rumor surfaced, claiming that this episode originally had a different ending where Pigeon Man committed suicide by jumping off the building after seeing his home wrecked, and that Nickelodeon executives rejected this ending due to it being too morbid and depressing. Some even theorized that this episode's actual ending was an allegory for suicide, claiming that Arnold's view of Vincent flying off was his mind blocking out the suicide.
Craig Bartlett himself has gone on and debunk this Internet myth. He's clearly stated several times that there's absolutely no truth to this theory and that the Pigeon Man was never meant to kill himself. This is the main reason why he was added in Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie.
The episode is a favorite among fans for it's portrayal of loners and outcasts, along with its emotional tone and is often considered one of the best of the series. In particular, Pigeon Man's speech and him flying off into the sunset is considered one of the most beautiful, saddest and memorable moments of the series.
- In a 2008 chat, Craig Bartlett stated that the ending to this episode was the first thing made, while the rest of the episode was built around it.
- Craig Bartlett provides the voice of Chester the Pigeon.
- Pigeon Man flying away using a huge flock of pigeons is similar to when James used a huge flock of seagulls in the book James and the Giant Peach. Coincidentally, the movie adaptation came out 6 months earlier.
- The speech Pigeon Man makes at the end of the episode is a reference to Tom Joad's speech at the end of the 1940 film The Grapes of Wrath.
- Helga says "What did he say? Koo Koo ka choo?", this was a reference to The Beatles song "I am the Walrus", in which many people thought John Lennon said "Koo Koo ka choo", but in the song he sang "Goo Goo Gjoob".
- This is the first episode Joseph Purdy worked on.
- Helga, Phoebe, and Sheena's baseball gloves all disappear.
- When Harold drops the tonic, the pigeon behind him disappears.
- When Arnold ascends Pigeon Man's building for the first time, two pigeons appear to be standing on thin air.
- When Helga G. Pataki calls the pigeons stupid, Arnold Shortman’s hand is red.
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The original page was "Pigeon Man (episode)".