8 forgotten animated Thanksgiving specials of the 1980s

Daffy Duck, Q*bert and Garfield all celebrated Turkey Day.

Image: The Everett Collection

We gobbled them up at the time, but in the decades since, these cartoon specials have faded away. After all, most kids today are not intimately familiar with Q*bert.

We dug deep into the stuffing to find some overlooked Thanksgiving specials from the awesome Eighties.

1. The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw


There are intricately detailed conspiracy theories about whether these beloved ursine children's literary characters were named the "Berenstain Bears" or the "Berenstein Bears." Some have even argued the collective memory of BerenstEin with an E is proof of alternate dimensions. It's a deep dive into the internet go into it more. We are certain that this Thanksgiving special was indeed titled The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw. The titular Bigpaw was a Bigfoot-like creature — so just a bigger bear? He enjoyed buckets of mixed nuts and shared on the holiday.

Image: NBC

2. Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-Giving Special


Bugs Bunny is so ubiquitous, it's easy to forget that the Looney toon went away for a while. After 1964, the Warner Bros. 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. Bugs Bunny's Thanksgiving Diet followed in 1978. Two years later, the gang returned for this Daffy delight, a mix of (largely) old material and some new animated bits. The fresh segment was "Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 ½th Century," a spoof of the popular Buck Rogers show. Shorts like "Robin Hood Daffy" and "His Bitter Half" dated back three, four decades.

Image: The Everett Collection

3. Thanksgiving in the Land of Oz


CBS premiered this Wizard of Oz "sequel" immediately after A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in the fall of '80. That lead-in had to bring some eyeballs. Airing a couple weeks after election day, the special pulled some material from Frank L. Baum's books like The Marvelous Land of Oz and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.

Image: CBS

4. Pooh Corner Thanksgiving


Shot with puppets and humans in suits, Disney Channel's Welcome to Pooh Corner was technically live-action, but it sticks in our childhood memory like an animated special. The cable network produced 120 regular episodes of the series. This was the first of its holiday specials, followed with tales for Christmas, Valentine's Day, Halloween and Christmas again over the subsequent year.

Image: The Everett Collection

5. Q*bert: Thanksgiving for the Memories


Arcade games were all the rage, as quarter-eaters like Pac-Man got breakfast cereals and Saturday morning cartoons. Along with Frogger, Donkey Kong and other video game characters, Q*bert shorts were featured in CBS's Saturday Supercade. The fifth of 19 Q*bert tales, "Thanksgiving for the Memories" retold the story of the first Thanksgiving with the quirky, tube-nosed creatures as pilgrims and natives.

Image: Ruby-Spears Productions / CBS

6. The Care Bears: Grams Bear's Thanksgiving Surprise


When not based on video games, Eighties cartoons looked to popular toys for ideas. The Care Bears stuffed animals were all the rage (perhaps not Cabbage Patch Kid big, but living large in '86) at the time. Their emotional, moral basis made them prime characters for telling a Thanksgiving story. Share Bears heads down to earth in her cloud car to help a kid named Tony enjoy a happy holiday.

Image: Nelvana / ABC

7. This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers


"The Mayflower Voyagers" is not so much overlooked as overshadowed. CBS has been known to still bundle it and air it alongside A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, though this educational, historical cartoon hardly carries the same warm-and-fuzzy nostalgic feelings as the typical Peanuts special. It was the first of eight installments in the This Is America, Charlie Brown series, which covered everything from the Transcontinental Railroad to John Phillip Sousa.

Image: CBS

8. Garfield's Thanksgiving


Who says you can't have a fat pile of lasagna instead of turkey? Well, surprisingly, the orange cat sticks to the traditional dishes here. Jon bungles cooking the meal, so Garfield calls Grandma to the rescue. She cuts up the bird with a chainsaw, before Garfield, Odie, Jon and his ladyfriend Liz hold hands through a mawkish pop song.

Image: 9 Story Media Group / CBS


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idkwut2use 20 months ago
I cherish the Berenstain Bears and Garfield holiday specials. Watch them all every year—as well as the Peanuts when I catch them on TV. Well, we own the Christmas one there.
BarneysDogBlue 20 months ago
The Garfield specials are the best, love them!
bmoore4026 33 months ago
I remember 7 and 8 quite clearly. They show 7 after A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on ABC.
RobCertSDSCascap 33 months ago
Always like playing Q*Bert, swear bubble and all.
Also, very accurately ported to the Atari 2600. Not many arcade hits were!

RobCertSDSCascap 33 months ago
May not be part of a Thanksgiving Special, but special nonetheless:
1954's Tom Turk and Daffy, featuring Porky Pig. "THE YAMS DID IT!"
Jerky Turkey, from 1945 and Tex Avery.
also, Daffy in Holiday For Drumsticks (1949).
DeborahRoberts 33 months ago
It's from 1968, but I always liked "The Mouse on the Mayflower," an animated production by Rankin/Bass. The same people produced "Frosty the Snowman" the following year.
idkwut2use 33 months ago
I LOVE The Berenstain Bears (and Garfield) SO much!
JeanneH78 45 months ago
#7 is not forgotten. ABC aired it just this Wednesday (11/21/18).
Tresix 45 months ago
Anyone ever notice in the Charlie Brown one that they draw Lucy with black feet instead of shoes? All of the other kids are barefoot but they always showed Lucy with jet black feet and toes!
Lacey 45 months ago
Back (way back) when the Major Networks cared about their audiences I remember Holiday specials ON Thanksgiving all through the day (not just the Parade) AND Saturday morning cartoons on Friday morning afterward.

No school, snow on the ground, and "The Day After Turkey Day on NBC."
EmBee 45 months ago
The comic strip BC had a TG special. I think it only aired once. And I missed that one airing.
daDoctah 45 months ago
Guess it wouldn't have been animated, and probably made before the '80s, but didn't Shari Lewis do a Thanksgiving special?
JeanneH78 daDoctah 45 months ago
Shari Lewis did a Hannukah (sic) special. PBS reairs it once in a while, or they did when they were airing her series.
Barry22 45 months ago
The only one I remember is the Charlie Brown one. Love Daffy Duck though.
cperrynaples 45 months ago
Looks like in 2 it was turkey season and NOT rabbit, duck, or Elmer season....LOL!!!!
That hunting trilogy that Chuck Jones created, always gets to me. Yes, I find it amusing when a poor, defenceless, woodland creature, loses an appendage! {Only in animation, though.} I'm referring to Daffy's beak when it lands on different spots on his head, and at times on the ground! These, along with Duck Amuck, {and its "sequel": the one where Bugs has the same experience happen to him, that happened to Daffy, drawn by the hand of Elmer.} and 8 Ball Bunny.
Are my favorites! {See above, for part one of my comment.}
Don't forget Quackodile Tears. Daffy vs. Honey Bunch.
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