Thursday, November 25, 2004

Turkey Day

This should be the day when everyone is watching the WKRP in Cincinnati episode, "Turkey's Away." Unfortunately, because of music issues, that show isn't on in syndication and isn't on DVD. So I'll just have to offer some quotes from the episode (taken from a page, "Television's Other 10 Percent," that seems to be down at the moment):

Les: No parachutes yet. Can't be skydivers... I can't tell just yet what they are, but - Oh my God, they're turkeys!! Johnny, can you get this? Oh, they're crashing to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! Oh, my goodness! Oh, the humanity! The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! Not since the Hindenberg tragedy has there been anything like this!

Johnny: Les? Are you there? Les isn't there. (composing himself) Thanks for that on-the-spot report, Les, and for those of you who just tuned in, the Pinedale Shopping Mall has just been bombed with live turkeys. Film at eleven.

Hugh Wilson, the creator of WKRP, came up with the basic story -- based on a sort of urban legend from the radio business; everybody had heard the story of a station doing a promotion by dropping live turkeys on Thanksgiving, but no one could agree on exactly who did it. The script of the episode was written by Bill Dial. An odd thing is that even though it's probably the most famous episode of WKRP, it's not really one of the best episodes. As an early episode, it's based on the original concept of the show, which was to pit the young, hip characters (led by tight-panted Andy Travis) against the out-of-touch remnants of the radio station WKRP used to be before it changed its format (led by Mr. Carlson). This was soon abandoned in favor of a pure ensemble show with more unusual and varied relationships among the characters.

As a sort of followup to the turkey incident, a later episode included a reference to a real publicity stunt done by WQXI, an Atlanta station where Wilson used to do advertising work:

SPCA Worker: Mr Tarlek had placed some ducks in the window of Hunter's Department Store as an advertising gimmick with his radio station. At noon, one, two and three PM, the ducks would do a little dance, sort of a jitterbug.
TV Hostess: Mr Tarlek had trained the ducks?
SPCA Worker: No, the ducks danced on a little stage made of aluminum foil. We discovered that under that, Mr Tarlek had placed a hot plate. He would turn it up, and the ducks would dance, and he would turn it off and the ducks would go on about their business. You know the interesting thing about this case was that this man Tarlek and another man named Carlson were cited for throwing live turkeys out of a helicopter to their deaths.

(sigh) -- music be damned, I want this show on DVD.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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