These nine Thanksgiving specials will take you back to childhood
Get stuffed on nostalgia.
Top image: Hanna-Barbera
Holiday season means a slew of television specials. Many of them are perennial favorites that have run for decades, but there is always a fresh batch of children to entertain with new creations. Which means that many of the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials we grew up watching have been tossed out like a turkey carcass to make way for Frozen or whatnot.
Of course, we still fondly recall those moralizing seasonal cartoons that played in the 1960s and 1970s. Let's take a look at some Thanksgiving specials you might have forgotten.
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Davey and Goliath: The Pilgrim Boy
Thanksgiving is all about sharing and gratitude. (Okay, and a little about pie and football.) It's no wonder this religious claymation classic, produced by the Lutheran Church in America, would take the opportunity to reflect on the lessons of our forefathers.
Underdog: Simon Says... No Thanksgiving
"Simon Says... No Thanksgiving" was crafted to tie-in with the debut of the Underdog balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The heroic canine went back in time to the pilgrim age in the story, which originally aired at noon on November 25, 1965, right after the parade ended.
Image: NBC / Leonardo Productions
Mouse on the Mayflower
Tennessee Ernie Ford starred as the narrator and "Willum Mouse" in this Rankin/Bass cartoon, which premiered the same year as its The Little Drummer Boy stop-motion special.
Image: Cartoon Research
The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't
Hanna-Barbera produced this well-crafted cartoon that featured many of its vocal regulars — June Foray, Vic Perrin, Don Messick, etc. The story centers around a squirrel family (of no relation to Secret Squirrel, we assume).
B.C.: The First Thanksgiving
Johnny Hart's long-running daily comic strip came to life in this befuddling, anachronistic toon. This IMDb comment should give you an impression of its impression: "That horrifying, blood-curdling baritone scream after the caveman burns his hand… will probably haunt me for the rest of my life."
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Who could overlook Snoopy? While not as beloved as Schulz's Halloween and Christmas specials, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving serves up many memorable moments: Snoopy and Woodstock setting up a ping pong table, the musket, the gang singing "Over the River and Through the Woods." May it never leave the airwaves.
Image: The Everett Collection
Bugs Bunny's Thanksgiving Diet
The character is so ubiquitous, it's easy to forget that Bugs Bunny went away for a while. After 1964, the WB rabbit did not have a piece of new material until 1976, when Bugs and Daffy's Carnival of the Animals introduced the Looney Tunes to a new generation. This followed. As nobody really wants to hear "Diet" and "Thanksgiving" in the same sentence, it hasn't really stuck around. Two years later, Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-Giving Special aired.
Image: The Everett Collection
Star Wars Holiday Special
Okay, the holiday in celebration here was technically the Wookie celebration "Life Day," but this notorious turkey aired the week before Thanksgiving and preached similar themes. Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Harvey Corman and Jefferson Starship joined a quite-visibly-uninterested Star Wars cast for one of the greatest mistakes in Hollywood history. (And who could forget Chewbacca's family, Itchy and Lumpy? Answer: Almost everybody.) Consider that you can't look anywhere these days without finding some Star Wars stuff. And you will probably never see this sold again.
Image: 20th Century Fox Television
Or Please Don't Eat the Planet, as it's known in its homeland, Canada. Nelvana, the production company that had produced the animated segments in the Star Wars Holiday Special, was big on the space theme in the late 1970s, having also made A Cosmic Christmas. Sid Caesar and Catherine O'Hara were the principle voices.
Image: Nelvana / YouTube