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Classic TV turkey episode offers much-needed 2020 laughter

Turkey showing off in San Angelo Texas

For those of us of a certain age, and with a skewed sense of humor, one of the best Thanksgiving-themed programs ever was the 1978 "Turkeys Away" episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.

The sitcom that brought us memorable characters like radio DJs Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap, good-intentioned but inept newsman Les Nessman and 1970s fashion plate sales manager Herb Tarlek, also gave us, in the episode's words, the greatest turkey event in Thanksgiving history.

No turkeys were harmed in the making of the show. In fact, we never see what happened outside the Ohio shopping center.

Instead, in the clip below (yes, it's blurry; it was 42 years ago!) we watch Les as he describes for us and his fictional radio audience the station's holiday promotion gone horrifically wrong.


THANKSGIVING TURKEY GIVEAWAY! (WKRP in Cincinnati) from Tony DeSanto on Vimeo.


Yes, Les does utter (around the 2 minute mark in the clip) the obligatory, "Oh, the humanity."

But the show didn't need to borrow anything from a legendary tragedy. Its own fictional catastrophe ends (at the clip's 6:30 mark) with the iconic line, "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

TV turkey time: If you didn't see the episode or want to watch it again, it's online. If you're old-school like the show, it's also broadcast every Thanksgiving on some cable television channels. It's not quite the equivalent of the airing of "Miracle on 34th Street" every Christmas, but it is a Turkey Day classic.

Also check out the true story behind WKRP's "Turkeys Away" episode.

Although it's been more than four decades, the episode's laugh so you don't cry approach to deal with a terrible situation seems to fit 2020 perfectly.

Whatever you watch today when you take a break from family togetherness in person or via COVID-19 necessitated Zoom gathering, enjoy. Here's to a safe Thanksgiving for us all.

No tax turkeys: And if you clicked over here for tax tidbits to go along with your feast, here's are some Thanksgiving blog post blasts from the past.

Side dish of tumblr: If you're already thinking of gift giving on this day that marks the start of the annual holiday season, my Tumbling Taxes tumblr post today has some thoughts on how charitable gifts also can produce a tax present for you at filing time.

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