In just its seventh episode, “WKRP in Cincinnati” dropped a classic TV moment – when station manager Arthur Carlson (Dayton native Gordon Jump) hatched a foul promotion, dropping live turkeys over a Cincinnati area shopping mall.
The "Turkeys Away" episode from 1978 airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. today on MeTV (Channels 5.2, 7.2). I'm no fan of the MeTV version without the original music – they say the music rights are too expensive to use in the syndicated reruns – but I'll watch tonight just to see one of the funniest moments in the history of television.
On the show, Carlson boasts that he is "going to make radio history…. (It’s) the greatest promotional idea of all time."
DJ Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman), program director Andy Travis (Gary Sandy) and producer Bailey Quarters (Jan Smithers) listen in the studio as newsman Les Nessman describes the scene at the fictional Cincinnati Pinedale Shopping Mall.
"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!" Nessman reports.
"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 Feverthen tells listeners: "For those of you who just tuned in, the Pinedale Shopping Mall has just been bombed with live turkeys! Film at 11!"
When Carlson returned to the station, he tells the staff: "I thought it would work. I planned it right down to the last detail. It was perfect! ... As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
Here are details about other episodes this week in "Your Guide To 'WKRP' Episodes, Music Starting April 2."
And here's how to watch MeTV:
In Greater Cincinnati, MeTV is available over-the-air on WLWT-TV (Channel 5.2), and on Cincinnati Bell Fioptics (Channels 23 and 291), DISH network (Channel 247) and Spectrum cable in Southwestern Ohio (Channel 993) and Northern Kentucky (Channel 188).
In the Dayton area, it's available on over-the-air WHIO-TV (Channel 7.2), Spectrum cable (Channels 23 and 372), AT&T U-Verse (Channels 136 and 1136), Buckland Telephone Company (Channel 11), NK Telco, Inc. (Channel 6), TSC Television (Channel 777) and Wabash Mutual Telephone Company (Channel 6).