The Popcorn Stand: Watch out for flying turkeys

Today is Thanksgiving, a time to reflect, be thankful, count your blessings — and watch out for flying turkeys. Or actually falling turkeys that can’t fly.

That was the case in 1978 during one of the all-time classic scenes on television when “WKRP In Cincinnati” aired. A horrified Les Nessman had to describe the “humanity” when the radio station’s Thanksgiving promotion went terribly wrong. In the promotion, live turkeys were dropped from a helicopter and eventually landed as Nessman put it “like wet bags of cement.”

Of course the live turkeys being dropped isn’t actually seen — only the horrified look on Nessman’s face which just adds to the humor of the scene.

I have to admit it used to bother me a man as smart as Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird. Actually the truth is maybe, sort of, Franklin floated the idea the turkey could be our national bird as opposed to the bald eagle in a letter he wrote to his daughter. Franklin had stated the turkey was actually a bird of courage as opposed to the bald eagle — which just stole from other birds.

So the turkey has gotten a bad rap over all these years. Who knew?

But it’s still one of the all-time classic TV lines when station manager Mr. Carlson sums up his ill-advised promotion perfectly when he says at the end of the episode: “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

If you need a laugh, look it up on YouTube, search “WKRP in Cincinnati — “Turkeys Away” — it’s 25 minutes of pure enjoyment. Or you can just watch the actual scene via this link

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. And watch out for the flying turkeys.

— Charles Whisnand


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