"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!"
First aired October 30, 1978
WKRP's station manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump), aka "The Big Guy", is feeling like a fifth wheel at the radio station. He asks program director Andy Travis (Gary Sandy) "what do I do?" Travis tells him "you're the boss and you do...boss stuff." Carlson says that's not good enough, he wants to be in charge of everything at the station.
|Carlson reminds Andy Travis that he's "the Big Guy."|
|WKRP's staff complains to Travis about Carlson's meddling.|
Carlson barges in and tells the staff he's "just concluded a deal that's gonna make radio history...the greatest promotion idea of all time. All it's gonna take is your complete cooperation, absolute secrecy and 20 live turkeys." WKRP will sponsor the greatest Thanksgiving promotion in history...!
Carlson puts Herb in charge of obtaining the 20 turkeys from a local farmer. When it's time for the promotion, Les is sent to do a live radio feed outside a local mall, with Johnny working at the studio. Suddenly, a helicopter appears overhead, carrying a banner that reads "Happy Thanksgiving From WKRP". A door opens in the back of the helicopter, dropping (in Les' words) "a dark object. Perhaps a skydiver." But it's not a skydiver.
|"Oh, my goodness! Oh,the humanity!"|
J.A. Morris says:
WKRP was one of the best "workplace sitcoms" of my lifetime with one of the best ensemble casts. "Turkeys Away" is the finest episode of the series, and one of the most memorable episodes of any series.
|Venus, Jennifer (Loni Anderson), Andy and Bailey work on damage control|
The amazing thing about this episode (especially the finale, which I'm reluctant to spoil) is that it's almost done entirely through dialogue. I could almost see this story being dramatized on the radio.
"Turkeys Away" can be found on dvd, as part of WKRP in Cincinnati - The Complete First Season
and it also streams for free on Hulu. But beware, this cut of the episode will have all the original music removed. There's a great scene where Carlson visits Johnny Fever in the DJ booth that's heavily edited due to music rights issues. It's worth seeking out the original version of "Turkeys Away" if you can find it.
|"I thought it would work!"|
J.A. Morris' Rating:
4 Pumpkin Pies!
This is a classic sitcom and a classic Thanksgiving holiday episode. I've seen it many times and it never fails to make me laugh.
Much credit should be given to Bill Dial who wrote the episode as well as to the actors (especially Richard Sanders' portrayal of Les Nessman) for their great comic delivery.
As J.A. Morris says, it is a shame that current releases of this episode do not contain the original music cues due to rights issues. There are some great scenes throughout the WKRP series that simply don't work as well with "generic" replacement tunes. Also, you miss out on a rather brilliant in-joke as Creedence Clearwater Revival's "It Came Out Of The Sky" plays during the climactic scene in the original broadcast version. Even with the music related edits, though, this episode is one of the greats.
4 pumpkin pies