In the first season of 1970s sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, the writers had many characters to get the laughs.
In the seventh episode, they wanted to focus on Mr. Carlson, who felt he wasn’t being included in the daily running of the radio station.
So to get the radio station front and centre, he decided to put together a marketing campaign focused on Thanksgiving – by dropping turkeys from a helicopter over the city of Cincinnati.
Based on an actual event that radio station WQXI did (the station the sitcom is based on) the Turkey Drop episode became almost infamous overnight, with its endless laughs at the expense of Mr. Carlson.
From the live reporting by newsman Les Nessman to the station manager Andy Travis’ stunned reactions to the event, the episode’s unseen promotion became the stuff of sitcom history.
Airing October 30, 1978, the episode helped the sitcom gain a larger share of the audience and insured success for the rest of the season.
And for pop culture history, TV Guide Magazine chose this episode as one of the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time at number 40. The quote from Mr. Carlson says it all – “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”