The Popcorn Stand: It is a turkey of a promotion

While we’re approaching the HallowThanksMas season, it’s not Thanksgiving yet but I couldn’t wait to write about one of the all-time classic television episodes – WKRP In Cincinnati’s Thanksgiving episode from the 1970s.

In the episode station manager Arthur Carlson has the brilliant idea of dropping turkeys as a Thanksgiving promotion. Only one problem — they were live turkeys. WKRP’s newsman Les Nessman described the horror “oh the humanity” and at the end of the episode Carlson states “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

Actually there is a tradition of dropping live turkeys — from a low flying aircraft — but now it seems there could be trouble with this practice as well. In Yellville, Ark., they have the annual Turkey Festival and as part of the festival they drop live turkeys.

Several turkeys were dropped on Saturday and then chased by festival-goers. The festival has included the turkey drop for more than five decades, but sponsors of the festival haven’t exactly embraced the practice in the last several years.

And now animal rights activist Rose Hilliard has filed a complaint saying the pilot “terrorized’ the turkeys. So now the Federal Aviation Administration is checking into it. This is a story Les Nessman would have loved.

Reading about this reminded me of that fateful WKRP In Cincinnati episode. The only difference is those who are responsible for the turkey drop in Yellville, Ark., apparently realize turkeys really can’t fly.

Again if you want to watch the best part of that classic WKRP episode it’s available here:

— Charles Whisnand


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