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5 classic Thanksgiving TV moments include Charlie Brown and ‘WKRP’s ‘Turkeys Away!’

Here’s one viewer’s guide to Thanksgiving’s best TV moments.

Update: We're bringing back this story, first published in 2017, for Thanksgiving.

You’ve been chased out of the kitchen for sampling Thanksgiving dinner. What can you do to kill time while those enticing smells are wafting? Well, TV and streaming are loaded with Thanksgiving content. You might have to download an app or check cable listings for availability.

Here's one viewer's guide to Thanksgiving's best TV moments:

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

This prime-time TV special is memorable. In the beginning, you see it for what it’s worth: an animation of the storied Peanuts comic strip. The show has a dash of social commentary. Franklin, a Black character, sits alone on one side of the table at Thanksgiving. Other interesting plot points: Linus reads a pilgrim’s prayer and Woodstock, a small bird that’s Snoopy’s pal, carves a turkey, which is an odd sight.

Best bet to see it: Apple TV+ (Free to nonsubscribers Nov. 23-27)

WKRP in Cincinnati: 'Turkey's Away!' (1978)

It all started innocent enough. The WKRP radio station was staging a turkey event as a promotion. The idea was for a helicopter over a shopping mall to release turkeys and have them fly to the ground.

Trouble is, as station general manager Arthur "The Big Guy" Carlson admits later, "As God is my witness. I thought turkeys could fly."

You don't actually see the turkeys land. Newsman Les Nessman narrates the moment perfectly: "They're crashing to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! This is terrible! ... Oh, the humanity! The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! The crowd is running for their lives!"

Best bet to see it: Apple TV, Amazon.

Cheers: "Thanksgiving Orphans" (1986)

Cheers spent so many of its episodes on character development. So, knowing what we know now about the Cheers gang (everyone knows your name, you know), you knew this Thanksgiving setup was going to be tense. Then comical.

In an episode spent away from the bar, the regulars converge at Carla’s home for a potluck dinner. Sam, Frasier, Cliff, Norm, Woody and Diane show up. If you know about the gang’s dynamic, you’re waiting for something awkward to happen when they take a seat for dinner. When Carla and Norma start blaming each other for the turkey not being ready, Norm throws peas at Carla and the food starts flying. There are a couple of twists in the end, but the food fight itself is a classic sight worth playing in slow motion.

Best bet to see it: Available on Apple TV, YouTube, Paramount+, Vudu, Peacock, Amazon Prime, Google Play.

Bewitched: "Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember" (1967)

This Bewitched episode combined the elements of lovable but bumbling Aunt Clara, Samantha Stephens in pilgrim attire and Darrin Stephens (the original one) way out of his element. For those unfamiliar with the show’s premise, Samantha and Aunt Clara are witches and Darrin is a mortal.

Thanks to Aunt Clara, the Stephens household and busy-body neighbor Gladys Kravitz are transported to 1620s Plymouth.

What’s funny is the irony: Darrin, surrounded by witches in his household, is believed to be a witch as well. He’s even put on trial, but Samantha’s powers save the day.

Best bet to see it: Apple TV

Everybody Loves Raymond: "No Fat" (1998)

Sitcoms nearly always have matriarchs and Everybody Loves Raymond has fun with Marie (Doris Roberts), the overbearing mom to Ray (Ray Romano). In this episode, Marie decides that she and her husband, Frank (Peter Boyle) need a healthier diet. That means Marie can’t stage one of her grand Thanksgiving meals. Instead, Marie makes an entire meal of tofu turkey, nowhere near the robust meal that this Italian-American family living in Long Island expected.

Best bet to see it: Apple TV

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