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Favorite Thanksgiving TV Episode, Movies, Etc.


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Now that Halloween is behind us (after tonight), wondering what some of your favorite Thanksgiving-themed TV show and movies, things to watch the day of Thanksgiving (e.g., from football game to dog shows), etc.

I will start...

Day of:  Macy's Thanksgiving Parade of yesteryear (loved the Bullwinkle float)

The dog show that is run after the parade (for today)

Drums Along the Mohawk with Henry Fonda and Claudette C.

Plymouth Adventure with Spencer Tracy

The Devil's Disciple with Burt, Kirk and Olivier (not sure if that is more July 4 fare)

TV Episode:  Cheers with the Food fight

NCIS does Thanksgiving when Ziva was part of the team

My all time favorite:  Newhart - Bob and his pals get drunk on Thanksgiving and order a truckload full of Chinese Food (Moo Goo Gai Pan - never actually had it in a Chinese restaurant)

 

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That BOB NEWHART SHOW Thanksgiving episode is a big favorite in our house!

Other Thanksgiving viewing — all of which feature the holiday:

BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON

HANNAH AND HER SISTERS

BROADWAY DANNY ROSE

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

HOLIDAY INN

PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES

PIECES OF APRIL

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It's nice to see someone NOT mention WKRP in Cincinatti's "Turkeys Away", whose quotable fan-lore often overshadows the genius of the Bob Newhart episode.

Although there is also the Cheers episode where the gang has dinner at Norm's house, and we finally see Vera (sort of).

For movies, last year I managed to dig up the rare Mayflower: the Pilgrim's Adventure (1979) TV-movie on the backwaters of Amazon Prime's PD ex-TV-movies.  It's a little more realistic piece of history than Spencer Tracy, with Anthony Hopkins as Mayflower's captain-for-hire with no patience for preachy landlubbers.

(And yes, "the lovers" includes Michael "Sonny Malone" Beck as John Alden.)

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The dog show that follows the parade is something we end up watching as well. I usually watch part of Macy’s, just to see Santa and the Rockettes. 
 

We always watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Then we’ll follow it with Grumpy Old Men. We usually segue into Christmas with Christmas Vacation. Somewhere in there, I’ll watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. 

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22 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

The dog show that follows the parade is something we end up watching as well. I usually watch part of Macy’s, just to see Santa and the Rockettes. 

When I was growing up in the 70's, Macy's on CBS was always traditionally followed by the kiddy holiday/cartoon specials--let the holiday Toys R Us commercials begin! (starter pistol!)--and, most traditionally, the 1969 Kenner Classic Tales animated version of A Christmas Carol (no, not that artsy-crap '71 Richard Williams one).  For some, it was Mr. Magoo, Scrooge McDuck or Michael Caine & Kermit, but this was my first Scrooge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4otTa2lRJnk

Which brings us to the subject of "White Friday"--The term I now use for what the day after Thanksgiving USED to be before 1982, namely "the Day After Thanksgiving":  The day-off that you lounged in pajamas, watching kiddy cartoon specials, last remaining football games, and local-station Christmas movies, and snacked on cold turkey and stuffing and leftover appetizers, until the holiday urge struck you to get out of the house, go to the mall/city to look at the Christmas lights which had just gone up, and maybe get ideas for presents...Until you found out everyone else had the same idea, and then you wondered whether to cut the trip short.

Or, as we called it in NY, "WPIX-11 March of the Wooden Soldiers day."  

8 hours ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

As for WKRP, they used to do a Turkey drop where I am.

If you're down south, ask your local wild-turkey hunter whether, as God is their witness, turkeys can fly...  😅

 

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22 hours ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is so funny.  When family comes, they watch some of the football games (NFL) followed by college games the next day.

As for WKRP, they used to do a Turkey drop where I am.

 

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As

14 hours ago, EricJ said:

When I was growing up in the 70's, Macy's on CBS was always traditionally followed by the kiddy holiday/cartoon specials--let the holiday Toys R Us commercials begin! (starter pistol!)--and, most traditionally, the 1969 Kenner Classic Tales animated version of A Christmas Carol (no, not that artsy-crap '71 Richard Williams one).  For some, it was Mr. Magoo, Scrooge McDuck or Michael Caine & Kermit, but this was my first Scrooge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4otTa2lRJnk

Which brings us to the subject of "White Friday"--The term I now use for what the day after Thanksgiving USED to be before 1982, namely "the Day After Thanksgiving":  The day-off that you lounged in pajamas, watching kiddy cartoon specials, last remaining football games, and local-station Christmas movies, and snacked on cold turkey and stuffing and leftover appetizers, until the holiday urge struck you to get out of the house, go to the mall/city to look at the Christmas lights which had just gone up, and maybe get ideas for presents...Until you found out everyone else had the same idea, and then you wondered whether to cut the trip short.

Or, as we called it in NY, "WPIX-11 March of the Wooden Soldiers day."  

If you're down south, ask your local wild-turkey hunter whether, as God is their witness, turkeys can fly...  😅

 

As far as I can rememberr The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade was not aired on CBS but was shown on NBC. Are you referring to  something other than the parade?

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PLANES, TRAINS And AUTOMOBILES likely the only Thanksgiving centered movie  can think of, and an annual watch.  Favorite TV episode is the one DHARMA and GREG one in which Greg's wealthy and long pampered mother, and who's never really known where any kitchen in any house she lived in was located decides to try cooking Thanksgiving dinner all by herself!  :D  And it was only one of the several dinners they committed themselves to.

 

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16 hours ago, EricJ said:

When I was growing up in the 70's, Macy's on CBS was always traditionally followed by the kiddy holiday/cartoon specials--let the holiday Toys R Us commercials begin! (starter pistol!)--and, most traditionally, the 1969 Kenner Classic Tales animated version of A Christmas Carol (no, not that artsy-crap '71 Richard Williams one).  For some, it was Mr. Magoo, Scrooge McDuck or Michael Caine & Kermit, but this was my first Scrooge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4otTa2lRJnk

Which brings us to the subject of "White Friday"--The term I now use for what the day after Thanksgiving USED to be before 1982, namely "the Day After Thanksgiving":  The day-off that you lounged in pajamas, watching kiddy cartoon specials, last remaining football games, and local-station Christmas movies, and snacked on cold turkey and stuffing and leftover appetizers, until the holiday urge struck you to get out of the house, go to the mall/city to look at the Christmas lights which had just gone up, and maybe get ideas for presents...Until you found out everyone else had the same idea, and then you wondered whether to cut the trip short.

Or, as we called it in NY, "WPIX-11 March of the Wooden Soldiers day."  

We also watch football during Thanksgiving too.  We have different programming running on different TVs in the house.  I notice that Miracle on 34th Street often airs after the dog show, but honestly, that movie has never been one of my must-see movies (though I like it, I have nothing against it), so I usually watch something else.  Aside from football, the parade, and the dog show, we don't really watch any network Thanksgiving programming, it's all DVDs/Blu Rays.  

I do not deal with the chaos of "Black Friday" nor do I shop on Thanksgiving.  I do however, like to partake in online Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  It's much nicer shopping from the couch than dealing with the madness and rude people shopping in the stores. It'll be interesting to see if COVID curtails some of the Black Friday insanity.

One of my family's Thanksgiving traditions is that we always eat Thanksgiving dinner Part 2 (e.g. the left overs from the night before, with fresh mashed potatoes, rolls, and maybe more gravy if none was left from the day prior) for dinner the next day. 

Having not been alive in 1982 or prior (missed that ship by a couple years), I cannot speak to what Thanksgiving used to be.  I do recall a time though when there wasn't such an emphasis on shopping.  While I like parts of Christmas (mainly the lights, the festiveness and the movies), I feel like Charlie Brown lamenting the commercialization of the holiday.  It seems like just as Christmas ends, it starts again.  I think I saw Christmas stuff in the store in August this year.  Next year,  I'm thinking about being the wacky neighbor that hands out Christmas candy on Halloween since it's readily available by then.

What is interesting to me is how many films are out there that could just as easily be a Christmas film or a Halloween film. 

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2 hours ago, lavenderblue19 said:

As

As far as I can rememberr The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade was not aired on CBS but was shown on NBC. Are you referring to  something other than the parade?

It's been on both, and simultaneously.

The first TV coverage of the parade was 81 years ago in 1939 on RCA's (NBC) experimental TV service in NYC (W2XBS).  The first network coverage was in 1948 on CBS, but the "official" network has been NBC since 1953.  The first color broadcast was in 1960.  CBS also carries it, unofficially, since it takes place on public streets and there's no way for parade organizers to restrict coverage on other networks.  They don't, however, use the Macy's name in their broadcast coverage.  IIRC, CBS used to package it with other similar parades around the country.

NBC, similar to their Olympics philosophy, broadcasts the parade live only in the Eastern time zone; it's tape-delayed in the other time zones.  CBS, however, airs it live except on the west coast.

I used to watch the parade every year, but the lip synched performances by pop stars and Broadway shows soured me on the whole thing.  

 

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I honestly don't know what channel any of these things air on, the parade is always just on when I would get up in the morning on Thanksgiving.   I know the football airs on three different channels. The parade comes on early in the morning and is over before noon. 

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2 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

IIRC, CBS used to package it with other similar parades around the country...(snip)...

I used to watch the parade every year, but the lip synched performances by pop stars and Broadway shows soured me on the whole thing.  

I remember the CBS broadcast switching between parades in Hawaii, Detroit, and a couple other cities.

I understand the parade is mostly for advertising but some performers & floats do strike a more holiday tone than others. I love the Rockettes (and have an exercise video by them).

Depending on where we’re having Thanksgiving, sometimes get to see the National Dog Show, sometimes traveling when it’s on.

I haven’t seen some of the films & shows suggested here but do especially like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Miracle on 34th Street (1947), and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Home for the Holidays has grown on me as I  get older.

The Thanksgiving Promise is a good family movie for the holiday. There’s also The Thanksgiving Treasure but I’ve only read the book. I’m not sure how much appeal these may have nowadays though, sad to say.

Three films that aren’t Thanksgiving-themed but have a suitable autumnal feel for me are Michael, Door to Door, and Fly Away Home

Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Northern Exposure also have memorable Thanksgiving episodes. And there are a couple good history programs about the origin, myths, and traditions of Thanksgiving.

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6 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

One of my family's Thanksgiving traditions is that we always eat Thanksgiving dinner Part 2 (e.g. the left overs from the night before, with fresh mashed potatoes, rolls, and maybe more gravy if none was left from the day prior) for dinner the next day. 

If it was a big family gathering, there were usually enough leftovers to make a Shepherd's Pie, by mixing the stuffing, gravy, turkey and peas, and layering the mashed potatoes on top.  It made a substantive change from Turkey Skeleton in Hot Water.

(When I started roasting a white-meat turkey breast in a crockpot, that kept enough drippings in one place to save for REAL turkey soup, and avenge my childhood.)

Quote

Having not been alive in 1982 or prior (missed that ship by a couple years), I cannot speak to what Thanksgiving used to be.  I do recall a time though when there wasn't such an emphasis on shopping. 

And the reason I put 1982 on that date is that the so-called Black Friday was INVENTED by the ColecoVision/Cabbage Patch Kids riots of the early 80's..And what happened when the news and chain stores wondered how they could make commercial riots happen every year, on schedule, so they could plan their sales accordingly.   Although, think back on it, the Atari console and Trivial Pursuit might've been in there, too.

So, yes:  Every year, we celebrate a crazed, selfish, unhinged, privileged-parent riot, because it would be bad for our economy if we didn't.  Oh, and ask yourselves, how did the term "Doorbuster sales" first enter our vocabulary?

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11 hours ago, lavenderblue19 said:

Interesting info. Never watched it on CBS only NBC. As an adult, it's on in the background while preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my  family. My kids grew up watching the parade and then,  Miracle On 34th Street , the Edmond Gwenn version .

Seeing as how you lived so close to it at the time Carol, did you ever go and watch it in person?

When I resided in SoCal, I twice went to Pasadena to watch the Rose Parade, and I have to say these things are actually a little more fun when you're right there.

(...yep, even with the bother of battling the crowds)

 

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9 hours ago, Dargo said:

Seeing as how you lived so close to it at the time Carol, did you ever go and watch it in person?

When I resided in SoCal, I twice went to Pasadena to watch the Rose Parade, and I have to say these things are actually a little more fun when you're right there.

(...yep, even with the bother of battling the crowds)

 

Yes, when I was a little girl my dad, sister and I did go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. It was fun, but cold. Afterwards we went to Horn and Hardt the Automat for hot chocolate and sandwiches. Mom stayed home to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for us. Thanks for bringing back that memory Dwight. That time of the year, especially before XMAS was the best in NY. My favorite was always the window displays in the department stores on 5th Avenue, having lunch with my mom at the Bird Cage in Lord and Taylor. Ice skating at Rockfeller Plaza and Central Park with my sister. I cherish all those memories. Beam me back Scotty, it was a much better time than now.

 

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20 hours ago, lavenderblue19 said:

Interesting info. Never watched it on CBS only NBC. As an adult, it's on in the background while preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my  family. My kids grew up watching the parade and then,  Miracle On 34th Street , the Edmond Gwenn version .

I never bothered much with the Macy's parade.  In Detroit we had our traditional J.L. Hudson's parade.  Hudson's for over 90 years was THE premier retail department store, much like Macy's was in New York City.  The store went fully defunct by 2001 or so and after changing hands(and brands) several times, most old Hudson's locations are now Macy's, but macy didn't take over sponsorship of Detroit's parade.  An independent organization formed and still puts it on every year.  Continually covered by local television station WDIV, which is the NBC affiliate, by the time Macy's parade starts, I guess me and several other area residents are already "paraded out".  ;)  Heh....  One of my ex brothers in law was a good friend of the guy(a professional) who used to play the Hudson's SANTA for the parade every year( for 20 of them anyway).  As Santa, you never would guess the guy wasn't even yet 40 years old by the time Hudson's quit sponsoring the parade.  ;)   Anyway......

For years the parade was followed by a bevy of Christmas movie fare.  Typically MIRACLE ON 34th STREET, and the odd film THE RED BALLOON, which puzzled me as to it's connection to Thanksgiving OR Christmas, but....

After some years, the annual showings of SCROOGE(or A CHRISTMAS CAROL) '51 started.  That ended by the mid '70's or so.  Now it's mostly commercials for "black Friday" sales at local retailers in between local "human interest" stories that really aren't all that interesting.

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Since I have to watch Charlie Brown's toast-and-popcorn feast on Blu-ray (ahem, thanks, AppleTV...  😡 ), it's usually B-side paired with the Mayflower episode of "This is America, Charlie Brown":

And Scrooge seems to have replaced the now no longer PD showings of "It's a Wonderful Life" that usually starter-pistoled on White Friday, but that was back when local stations still owned movies, PD or not.

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What I enjoy about Macy's Thanksgiving Parade are the Broadway show tunes performed by the current New York casts.   Three movies we like to rotate (one per year) are 1947's Miracle on 34th Street, Hannah and Her Sisters, and even though it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, The Trip to Bountiful.

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Here's another vote for "Home for the Holidays," the 1995 comedy/drama about  a less-than-idyllic family Thanksgiving in Baltimore. It was directed by the two-time Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster.

The film stars Holly Hunter as Claudia Larson, a single mother from Chicago who has an inauspicious start for the holiday weekend. First, she's fired from her job at an art museum by her boss/lover (Austin Pendleton). Then she discovers that her 16-year-old daughter Kitty (Claire Danes) plans to sleep with her boyfriend for the first time. And, of course, she's not at all keen about spending the holiday with her dysfunctional family in Baltimore.

Best line: Claudia has a showdown with her married sister Joanne (Cynthia Stevenson) and declares: "Um...We don't have to like each other, Jo. We're family."

 The movie's large cast also includes Robert Downey, Jr., Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Dylan McDermott, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenberg,  Emily Ann Lloyd, David Strathairn, Amy Yasbeck and  Shawn Hatosy.

 

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8 hours ago, EricJ said:

Since I have to watch Charlie Brown's toast-and-popcorn feast on Blu-ray (ahem, thanks, AppleTV...  😡 ), it's usually B-side paired with the Mayflower episode of "This is America, Charlie Brown":

And Scrooge seems to have replaced the now no longer PD showings of "It's a Wonderful Life" that usually starter-pistoled on White Friday, but that was back when local stations still owned movies, PD or not.

I always watch Charlie Brown on DVD or Blu Ray (in the case of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown) because I despise how the networks will stretch a 30 min cartoon into an hour.  I hate commercials.  The DVD/Blu Ray is a much better option. 

If I never see another iteration of A Christmas Carol, it'll be too soon. I am so sick of that story.

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