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

1980

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

1980

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

1980

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

1983

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

1983

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

1986

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

1988

"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

1989

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

SEE MORE: THANKSGIVING SPECIALS FROM THE '60s AND '70s

From Hanna-Barbera to Star Wars. READ MORE

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JeanneH78 8 months ago
#7 is not forgotten. ABC aired it just this Wednesday (11/21/18).
Tresix 8 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 8 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 8 months ago
The comic strip BC had a TG special. I think it only aired once. And I missed that one airing.
daDoctah 8 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 8 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 8 months ago
The only one I remember is the Charlie Brown one. Love Daffy Duck though.
cperrynaples 8 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.}
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