Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Arthur Carlson, General Manager, WKRP in Cincinnati

Was it a matter of murder , most fowl, or did somebody drop the (butter)ball?

It's a Thanksgiving tale of airborn, poultry-cide that dates back three decades.

The 1978-1979 Prime Time Network Schedule offered a golden season, of sorts, for situation comedy. Some shows were smart and some were sentimental, but all took devoted viewers minds off of a difficult economy, gas rationing, cold war threats, Middle East hostilities and the onslaught of DISCO MUSIC.

The five most watched series of that season were family oriented favorites: LAVERNE & SHIRLEY, HAPPY DAYS ,MORK & MINDY, THREE'S COMPANY and ANGIE. They filled ABC-TV's Tuesday night schedule with charming tales of laughter and love. All, but THREE'S COMPANY, bore the nostalgic imprimatur of celebrated writer/producer Garry Marshall.

Norman Lear was the acknowledged, "Alpha" producer of 1970's situation comedy with ALL IN THE FAMILY, GOOD TIMES, and ONE DAY AT A TIME winning viewers , critical praise and myriad awards for CBS-TV.

BARNEY MILLER, SOAP, TAXI, RHODA and the venerable M.A.S.H., the latter of which sprung from the vibrant mind of the late, Larry Gelbart,offered big laughs and were rewarded with big audiences.

But one unique, workplace-based, situation comedy ,from the agile mind of writer/producer Hugh Wilson ,came to the Tiffany Network's Monday night line-up in the fall of 1978, and proved to be a critical success that would earn a fond place in the hearts and minds of a loyal audience.

America fell in love with WKRP IN CINCINNATI and its eclectic, multi-talented cast. The series took us behind the scenes, and behind the microphone, at a forlorn, family owned, Ohio radio outlet as it moved away from a moribund, beautiful music format in hopes of becoming a rebellious, flame-throwin', blowtorch of a rock radio station.

The audience enjoyed the fast and furious comic dialogue, the strong sense of story in each episode, the complex, honest relationships among the characters and the crystal clear reflection of American society that was satirically showcased in each hilarious installment.

While former-soap idol, Gary Sandy,and future MAYTAG repairman, Gordon Jump , portraying WKRP's proactive Music Director and Mom-dominated General Manager, respectively, were the ostensible stars of the show, there was a true ensemble cast. The audience instantly embraced the voluptuous, vamp essayed by Loni Anderson, and the ironic, iconoclast DJ played by Tim Reid. Jan Smithers was the bookish,innocent, production assistant who was enthralled with life at the radio station.Both Smithers and Anderson quickly found themselves to be the focus of laser-hot, adolescent, male attention.

On college campuses and in neighborhood bars, young men often posed the high stakes, high voltage,WKRP IN CINCINNATI querie ," Who do you prefer,Jennifer (Loni Anderson's incendiary blond ) or Bailey ( Jan Smither's comely brunette)?" For the record,and with no disrespect to Jennifer, KINESCOPE HD is Pro-Bailey:)

Richard Sanders scored with viewers portraying the prickly newsman, Les Nessman, as did Frank Bonner, portraying garish sales manager Herb Tarlick. Respected improviser and actor Howard Hesseman did a star turn as strident, drug addled,world weary Disc Jockey,Dr. Johnny Fever.

What was, arguably, the best episode of WKRP IN CINCINNATI, aired Monday, October 30, 1978 on CBS-TV at 8:00pm EST. The storyline looked ahead to Thanksgiving and how WKRP radio would grow ratings and better connect with the audience in the Holiday season, by doing a turkey drop from the station's helicopter.

Created by Hugh Wilson, written by Bill Dial, and directed by Michael Zinberg,here is that entire episode from the HULU video on demand site. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!

As a bonus clip, here are WKRP IN CINCINNATI'S Tim Reid ( Super cool, DJ Venus Fly Trap ) and Richard Sanders ( Ultra-Nerd, Newsman Les Nessman ) in a 1979 appearance on Paramount's, syndicated, music series, SOLID GOLD, with hosts Dionne Warwick and Glen Campbell.Enjoy!!!!!


  1. The Thanksgiving show was my favorite. We must have cackled for a week about that one.

  2. WKRP in Cincinnati was one of the best shows ever produced. Way ahead of its time in regards to the comedic content and its overall sexiness. And yes, the Thanksgiving episode was definitely among my all time favorite episodes.

    - John
    Short Sale Assistance

  3. The picture of Andy, Mr. Carlson, Flytrap and Fever is backwards