7 interesting facts about WKRP in Cincinnati's "Turkeys Away," episode
We all love that famous line: "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!"
Image credit: The Everett Collection
We are just days away from Thanksgiving. Can't you just smell turkey being made already?
With Thanksgiving comes some of the best Thanksgiving-themed episodes from classic TV shows. What's better than bonding with the family over a turkey leg and a TV show?
WKRP in Cincinnati's episode "Turkeys Away," leads the list as one of the most iconic Thanksgiving episodes from a TV show, ever.
The episode follows Mr. Carlson's decision to launch a Thanksgiving promotion, where a routine turkey giveaway becomes a comedic catastrophe.
Here are seven of the most interesting facts about WKRP in Cincinnati's episode "Turkeys Away." Tell us your favorite "Turkeys Away," quote or moment below!
1. This episode was ranked by TV Guide as one of the greatest episodes in TV history
"Turkeys Away," is considered to be one of the greatest Thanksgiving-themed episodes of classic TV. The episode was even ranked by TV Guide as one of the greatest episodes in TV history.
The episode premiered in 1978 and was only the show's seventh episode.
No one expected the episode to have one of the most popular and well-known Thanksgiving episodes that TV had ever seen. Even the creator, Hugh Wilson, didn't see it coming.
2. "Turkeys Away" was based on a real incident
The episode may seem too zany to be true, but "Turkeys Away," is actually loosely based on real events.
The real event occured when series creator, Hugh Wilson, worked at the radio station WQXI in Atlanta. In an interview with the Archive of American Television he said "Jerry Blum, who was the general manager of WQXI, told me that he had been fired from a Texas station for throwing turkeys out of a helicopter. I said to Jerry, 'You just won me an Emmy. That's really funny.'"
3. A Pink Floyd song was meant to be in the episode
When aired in syndication, Mr. Carlson comes into the radio booth with an unkown song playing in the background. The unkown song featured the sound of dogs barking.
When WKRP originally aired, the song playing in the background was Pink Floyd's "Dogs."
Due to licensing issues, the Pink Floyd song was removed after the orginal air date. Do you remember hearing "Dogs," by Pink Floyd during the episode?
4. The episode originally aired before Halloween
Even though the episode features turkeys, all things Thanksgiving and more... it actually came out before Halloween! Its original air date was October 30th, 1978.
It's never too early for "Turkeys Away."
5. Many local radio stations started the promotion in real life
After "Turkeys Away" aired, many radio stations across the country started the same Thanksgiving promotion as the one featured in the show.
Many of these radio stations would giveaway coupons and certificates to listeners who then could pick up a turkey from their local supermarkets. (Don't worry, they weren't alive turkeys).
Richard Sanders was often paid to appear as Les Nessman and broadcast the event live.
6. The shopkeeper in the episode was the writing partner of Richard Sanders
You may remember the scene where the shopkeeper rudely tells Les to get away from his storefront.
The only guest star in "Turkeys Away" is Michael Fairman, who played the owner of a shoe store.
Fairman may have had a small part in the episode, but he had a larger role outside. Fairman co-wrote five episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati and went on to appear in shows such as: Cheers, JAG, Taxi and many more.
7. The history behind the line "Oh, the humanity!"
Richard Sanders, who played Les in WKRP, prepared for the "Turkeys Away," episode by studying a recording of Herbert Morrison's live broadcast of the 1937 Hindenburg disaster.
Bonus fun fact: Turkeys can indeed fly
It's true that domestic turkeys can't fly. However, wild turkeys can fly short distances.