WKRP In Cincinnati was a much-underrated TV sitcom that ran from 1978-1982. Its most famous episode, much talked-about around this time of the year, was “Turkeys Away”—in which live turkeys were dropped from a helicopter as a radio promotion.
In “Turkeys Away: An Oral History,” the Classic TV History Blog establishes that the episode was based on a real incident that happened at Atlanta radio station WQXI. Says radio executive Clarke Brown, whom the show’s writers based the character Herb Tarlek on:
The turkey drop was actually a real incident. It was at a shopping center in Atlanta; I think it was Broadview Plaza, which no longer exists. It was a Thankgiving promotion. We thought that we could throw these live turkeys out into the crowd for their Thanksgiving dinners. All of us, naïve and uneducated, thought that turkeys could fly. Of course, they went just fuckin’ splat.
Below we have the entire “turkey drop” episode edited down to a neat 30 seconds, so you might be fully educated in this most important of Thanksgiving-related memes. As always, you’re welcome.