Ok, WKRP in Cincinnati isn’t British but it might as well be given the fact the famous ‘Turkey Drop’ episode is still a classic almost four decades after its premiere in 1978. You’re going to have to indulge me this one time as I stray from Tellyspotting‘s strict mission of bringing you the best in British television for the past 9+ years. Every since Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump), WKRP’s station manager uttered the phrase “As God is my witness, I thought Turkeys could fly“, this episode went down in history as a Thanksgiving classic much like both It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story are a must watch at Christmastime.
It was almost too much for Les Nessman (Richard Sanders), WKRP’s award winning news man. As the five-time winner of the coveted Buckeye Newshawk Award, given annually to the best news story specifically about, or related to, tap root vegetable production in ‘the tri-state area’, Nessman offered up live coverage for WKRP’s morning show hosted by Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman). Nessman, upon witnessing the station promotion, calmly reported back to the Cincinnati audience listening in that the turkeys were ‘…hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement‘.
It seems as though Mr. Carlson was feeling a bit threatened after Andy Travis (Gary Sandy), WKRP’s new program director, began making program format changes. The ‘Big Guy’ tried to prove his worth with a special WKRP Thanksgiving promotion of throwing turkeys out of a helicopter to the crowd below. “Turkey’s Away” first aired on October 30, 1978 and should be required viewing every Thanksgiving.
I remember working at the NBC station in Austin, TX the year that WKRP in Cincinnati premiered. The station brought the cast in for their annual Fall advertiser’s party. Unfortunately, as “Turkey’s Away” was the 7th episode of the first season, I didn’t get a chance that evening to talk to anyone about the now famous episode. Oh, well, it’s probably for the best.
Happy Thanksgiving to all from Tellyspotting. I promise that tomorrow we’ll be back reporting from the East side of the Atlantic.