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


From Hanna-Barbera to Star Wars. READ MORE

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timothys71 6 months ago
Here's a great idea for a Sunday block party next November, if MeTV can somehow get their hands on these largely forgotten specials! If that is not possible, maybe they could at least show the Looney Tunes one during the regular Looney Tunes hour on Saturday morning, like they did with the Bugs Bunny Christmas special today.
RichLorn 6 months ago
What about SvenToonie? That's the biggest turkey I ever watched.
jorel262 6 months ago
I love Garfield Specials but Peanuts is still my favorite for Thanksgiving. Snoopy fighting the law chair.
scp 6 months ago
The Peanuts one is still shown.
timothys71 scp 6 months ago
ABC--not CBS--showed the Peanuts Mayflower special as a double feature with "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" for a number of years until they (sadly) lost the contract to air the Peanuts specials a couple of years ago.
LalaLucy 6 months ago
We own the Garfield Thanksgiving, along with Halloween, Christmas, a family reunion, and a really goofy vacation one where they find a tribe of people who worship a classic car. My kids love them. 🙂
MrsPhilHarris 6 months ago
I don’t recall any of these.🤔
Runeshaper 6 months ago
These all look like so much fun! (-:
MichaelSkaggs 6 months ago
The only one I remembered was Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving.
KJExpress 6 months ago
I guess I must have missed most of these, but I do remember seeing Mouse on the Mayflower way back in the late 60's or early 70's.
BrittReid 6 months ago
Daffy Duck is funny.
Zip BrittReid 6 months ago
My favorite Looney Toon. He's so manic.
MrsPhilHarris BrittReid 6 months ago
Love Daffy Duck!
MrsPhilHarris Zip 6 months ago
Daffy is my favourite too.
Pacificsun 6 months ago
I never knew how richly the airwaves were filled with Thanksgiving themed specials. I guess reading about them now, in terms of the huge collection spread over so many stories, is what makes it impressive. Thank you MeTV Staff for bringing these to our attention, for the purpose of adding enjoyment to the Holiday. And fortunate for us to be looking back on an era of such talented, imaginative Creators!

You've helped make the Season special for Viewers!
WilliamHogan 6 months ago
I have The Mayflower Voyagers, A Garfield Thanksgiving, and Daffy Duck's Thanks for Giving specials on DVD!
LoveMETV22 6 months ago
Thanks MeTV for a Sunday story re-do. When it comes to Thanksgiving Specials, (animated or otherwise), there is certainly no shortage. Maybe some are broadcast OTA?, or on cable/satellite/streaming, some are probably available on DVD or other formats. I wonder if there are any truly lost Thanksgiving Specials (not available to watch in any form?)
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 6 months ago
I always put your questions exactly into the Great Internet Curator of Mysterious Topics. Which returned a substantial amount of content. The Bad News is that the List requires to determine which offerings are more obscure than others. Perhaps these are only ones that made light of day, we'll never know. But, still, might offer a "Rabbit Hole" worthy excursion through YouTube.

Hope it helps!

LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 6 months ago
That's where I was basing my comment from. However I appreciate your re-share.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 6 months ago
🎄 Should've known your on top of it!

Because these comments are so old, there are some interesting contributions!

Did you see this one! He's an old friend from the Fan Club Cafe!

LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 6 months ago
That's interesting. Yes I saw it, further down the page. I enjoy the comments about the
" Fan Club Café " you mention from time to time. It's clear you miss that time and remember it fondly.
What does OTA mean?
Over The Air- Antenna-without cable.
MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 6 months ago
I haven’t seen RobCert here for years. He used to post great pictures of things we were talking about.
Michael 6 months ago
Speaking of "Bigpaw" I recently read two separate stories about fictional Indigenous characters thatwere intended to keep kids in line. One of them was the thing that Saquatch is derived from. Actually, Sasquatch is a story of my ancestors.
idkwut2use 30 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 30 months ago
The Garfield specials are the best, love them!
bmoore4026 43 months ago
I remember 7 and 8 quite clearly. They show 7 after A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on ABC.
Kramden62 bmoore4026 6 months ago
Not any more they don't, thanks to Apple+ purchasing and hoarding the rights. That's precisely why I bought the DVD (both "Charlie Brown" specials are on it).
RobCertSDSCascap 43 months ago
Always like playing Q*Bert, swear bubble and all.
Also, very accurately ported to the Atari 2600. Not many arcade hits were!

So cute!!

Now, I it's clear where you've been hiding yourself from the days of the Fan Club Cafe. See, I never forget!
RobCertSDSCascap 43 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).
Welcomed contribution. Above these comment, LoveMETV22 was just looking for more obscure Holiday offerings. And the ones you've provided are certainly curiously clever!! How fun.
DeborahRoberts 43 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.
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