At Thanksgiving time, Cincinnatians pause to give thanks for family, friends, good fortune and ... the WKRP turkey drop.
Let's face it: Long before the pumpkin pie is served on Thanksgiving Day, your uncle or cousin is going to bring up one of the most legendary moments in television comedy history. And then your nephew is going to look it up on YouTube. And everyone will laugh, just like last year.
Here is a (slightly edited) excerpt from former Enquirer television writer John Kiesewetter's blog, published in 2014, about a classic in absurdity and comic timing:
In the words of "WKRP in Cincinnati" newsman Les Nessman before the chopper circled over Pinedale Shopping Mall, it was "perhaps the greatest turkey event in Thanksgiving Day history." It still is.
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The brilliant "Turkeys Away" was just the seventh episode in the first season of "WKRP in Cincinnati." Nerdy newsman Nessman was the star of this show. (On most others, the running joke was the DJs saying: "More music and less Nessman.")
Below are some memorable quotes from on-the-spot reporter Nessman. Of course, the last laugh came from general manager Arthur "the Big Guy" Carlson (Dayton native Gordon Jump) with one of the greatest moments in TV history ... wait for it ... "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
Les Nessman: "Something just came out of the back of the helicopter. It's a dark object. Perhaps a skydiver. A second. A third ... no parachute yet. ... Oh my God, they're turkeys!"
"They're crashing to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! This is terrible! ... Oh, the humanity!"
"The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! The crowd is running for their lives!"
DJ "Doctor" Johnny Fever: "For those of you who just tuned in, the Pinedale Shopping Mall has just been bombed with live turkeys! Film at 11!"
GM Arthur Carlson: "I thought it would work. I planned it right down to the last detail. It was perfect! ... As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
"Turkeys Away" still entertains us today, proving the power of radio to stimulate our imaginations. We never saw one turkey on "WKRP." We didn't have to. The pictures always are better on radio. Here's the turkey drop clip on YouTube. Enjoy!
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: WKRP in Cincinnati turkey drop: That time WKRP thought turkeys could fly