November 25, 2015

Classic television that's a turkey - well, not really

When it comes to holiday-themed episodes, it seems to me as if Thanksgiving has never been quite as popular as Christmas (although there have certainly been classic episodes, from Bob Newhart to Friends), but that doesn't mean they don't exist. For example, TV Party has a great sample lineup from the 1950s here. So in the spirit of the season, here are some clips of our own, some nostalgic and others frivolous, all of them part of what makes Thanksgiving special.

The day always begins with parades. I've shared this before - it's an exceptionally clear clip from the Hudson's Parade in Detroit, 1962. Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans and Mr. Moose are in the studio, and newsmen Dallas Townsend and Bob Murphy are on the parade route. This was one of the three parades that CBS carried in their "Thanksgiving Parade Jubilee," the other two being in New York and Detroit (with Toronto added later).


One of the most famous college football games ever played was on Thanksgiving - the 1971 "Game of the Century" between undefeated and top-ranked Nebraska and undefeated, #2 ranked Oklahoma. Watch this when you have some time - it's an unforgettable game, even if the wrong team won. (And check out the commercials!)


Of course, variety shows have never found a holiday they didn't like, and Perry Como did them particularly well.  Here is Perry's 1962 Thanksgiving eve show, which I think I've covered elsewhere in the archives.





Lawrence Welk's charmingly corny rendition of Plymouth Rock kicks off this special from 1958, when it was known as The Lawrence Welk Plymouth Show.


What would a holiday be without cartoons?  Here's Rankin-Bass' The Mouse on the Mayflower from 1968.


Or a sitcom? Here's the 1951 Burns and Allen Thanksgiving show.


As for the more recent past, there's the epic"Turkey Drop" from WKRP in Cincinnati, perhaps the most famous Thanksgiving clip ever.



And we'll end with this memorable message from Red Skelton in 1952.


What they're all saying is this: Happy Thanksgiving!

To which I add my own sincere wishes for a wonderful and blessed day, for we all indeed have much to be thankful for.

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