When Turkeys Fly

Cidu Bill on Nov 26th 2008

Off-topic, of course, but… Can anybody think of a single line, used only once in a single television episode, that’s as memorable (and capable of evoking memories of the entire episode) as “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly“?

Filed in Bill Bickel, Thanksgiving, WKRP, television, turkeys | 70 responses so far

70 Responses to “When Turkeys Fly”

  1. Nicole Nov 26th 2008 at 12:30 pm 1

    I can’t — but Les Nessman was (and still is) one of my favorite TV characters — he brought new meaning to the word surreal.

  2. A different Patrick Nov 26th 2008 at 12:52 pm 2

    I loved it when Les was reading the banner flying behind the airplane (or was it a helicopter?):

    “Haaappppy Thaaanksssgiiiiving frooom W… K… R… P!”

  3. heather Nov 26th 2008 at 01:35 pm 3

    That’s certainly up there (and it was the station manager wassisname who said that line, IIRC, not Les Nessman)…

    But how can anything top “THERE… ARE… *FOUR*… LIGHTS!!!”

  4. Another BF Nov 26th 2008 at 01:40 pm 4

    “You should wear more sweaters”

    It may not top the WKRP line, but it’s gotta come close.

  5. Elyrest Nov 26th 2008 at 01:53 pm 5

    Just hearing that line made me laugh out loud again. That episode of WKRP makes my top 10 of favorite episodes. Oh, the humanity!

  6. assdad Nov 26th 2008 at 02:21 pm 6

    This reminds me of a Married with Children episode: Kelly wants to save her turkey from being eaten so she throws it out of a second floor window. She ends up crying, admitting that she did not realize turkeys were flightless, while everyone else, including the dog, acknowledges that he was aware of this fact. I love Married with Children.

  7. assdad Nov 26th 2008 at 02:24 pm 7

    Another great Married with Children moment I just remembered:
    Bud: “Kelly doesn’t even know the difference between down and up!”
    Kelly: “Down [your ass,] Bud!”

  8. Dave Nov 26th 2008 at 02:35 pm 8

    I upgrade this stock from “Sell” to “Don’t Buy”.

    Does it for me.

  9. Usual John Nov 26th 2008 at 02:48 pm 9

    Another BF - I saw that episode of Newhart, and I still had to look up the quote. I’ve never seen the famous turkey episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, but I instantly recognized the quote.

    Another contender: “And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.”

  10. Eric Herboso Nov 26th 2008 at 02:52 pm 10

    I agree with heather. “There are FOUR lights” is definitely the single most poignant one I can think of that recalls to mind a single episode.

  11. Lola Nov 26th 2008 at 03:09 pm 11

    Not to be the nerdie nudge (oh, what the heck, go for it) but turkeys most defiitely can fly. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, but don’t take my word for it, consider how they could possible have survived till now if they didn’t. They don’t really have any other defenses unlike a cassowary or ostrich which are quite able to disembowel those that would prey on them. Now those inbred monstrosities that are called turkeys that are sold at the grocery store? They couldn’t survive a week outside of a feed lot and have been engineered so entirely for other purposes that they cannot fly. Of course, a part of me wonders that if one of those chicks were hatched in a wild nest and were actually encouraged to use their wings, would they be able to fly in some fashion or another. That would be interesting to know…..turkey nuture vs nature.

  12. Brian Nov 26th 2008 at 06:08 pm 12

    Wild turkey can fly, but domesticated (raised for food) turkeys can not. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey_(bird)

  13. Brent Nov 26th 2008 at 06:30 pm 13

    “There are FOUR lights” isn’t that memorable. It’s a thinly veiled version of “2 + 2 = 5″ from Orwell’s 1984 in an episode that borrows a huge chunk from 1984… an, quite frankly, Orwell did it far better (possibly because he was satirically working from the actual Communist slogan).

  14. ease99 Nov 26th 2008 at 10:39 pm 14

    “There are four lights” wins hands down. It’s like opening the dike and it all comes rushing in. He could have shuffled off and said nothing,and all would be well but those four words have a huge impact on me. and always will.
    A warm and safe Thanksgiving to all

  15. Charlene Nov 26th 2008 at 11:01 pm 15

    Wild turkeys can fly, but commercial turkeys can only fly a little - and not when pushed out of a helicopter.

    I’m a Trekkie, and I wouldn’t put “there are four lights” on the same scale as “as God as my witness”. The second is much better known, and known worldwide at that.

    I remember in the mid-80s, CBC in Canada specially licensed the turkey show to show on Thanksgiving, long before the rest of WKRP was syndicated.

  16. heather Nov 26th 2008 at 11:30 pm 16

    I’ll agree that the turkeys line is more widely known… but I wonder if there’s a generational thing? Do today’s teenagers know the turkeys line? I know my son doesn’t, but I think he knows about the lights. ;)

    My husband offered up another one: No soup for you!

  17. dd Nov 27th 2008 at 01:33 am 17

    Brent, the ST line is certainly memorable for a lot of people, as you can see, Orwell or no.

    I didn’t know the turkeys line, and I’m 31. I’m ashamed to admit the first thing that popped into my head was “We we ON a BREAT!!”

    I’ll go play with dolls now.

  18. dd Nov 27th 2008 at 01:34 am 18

    Whoa.

    We were ON a BREAK, that is…

    The pre-thanksgiving wine is a bit too good :)

  19. Lorraine Nov 27th 2008 at 05:41 am 19

    IDU any of this.

  20. chuckers Nov 27th 2008 at 06:36 am 20

  21. Miss Appropriate Nov 27th 2008 at 09:05 am 21

    I had no idea that hearing that line would trigger a high-speed full flashback of the entire aftermath scene… the look on Les’ face… I can only decribe the sound I made as a loud guffaw that might have woken the neighbors. Thanks for the laugh, Bill!

  22. chuckers Nov 27th 2008 at 09:45 am 22

  23. Dwayne James Nov 27th 2008 at 10:32 am 23

    And the award for the shortest, and most memorable line definitely has to go to:

    “I’m out.”

  24. Powers Nov 27th 2008 at 10:38 am 24

    Lorraine:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_WKRP_in_Cincinnati_episodes#.22Turkeys_Away.22_.2810.2F30.2F78.29

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_four_lights

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Soup_Nazi

    (you’ll have to copy and paste the addresses into your browser; if I made them clickable links Bill would have to approve this message before it could appear)

    I have no idea what the “sweater” and “stock” quotations are from. =)

  25. bob Nov 27th 2008 at 10:44 am 25

    Yes! Every Thanksgiving for 30 years (plus?), I’ve thought about this episode with glee. Has to be among my top 5 TV shows ever. Also, does everyone know this episode is based on a real event in Atlanta? WKRP was based on stories about the local WQXI station in late 60’s/early 70’s. Lots of stories available if you google “turkey lenox atlanta wkrp” Lenox Mall is location of the infamous turkey drop.

  26. Lost in A**2 Nov 27th 2008 at 11:08 am 26

    The “sweater” comment was the last (almost last?) line the final
    episode of “Newhart,” said to Ms Pleshette as Emily.

  27. David A. Rooney Nov 27th 2008 at 12:38 pm 27

    I once mmanaged to record (audio only) the WKRP episode, replayed it for my family and everyone roared - even without the visuals its hilarious. Anyone know where I can find a copy of that episode to show my 6 year old son?

  28. eeyore19 Nov 27th 2008 at 12:48 pm 28

    “Oh, my nose!”

  29. UXO Nov 27th 2008 at 01:24 pm 29

    David - it’s on the first season DVD compilation. Got mine at Costco.

  30. Irene Nov 27th 2008 at 01:39 pm 30

    My 10 year old daughter last week asked me if turkeys can fly. I burst out laughing…and then tried to explain the episode to my children who have never seen WKRP.

    I had tears streaming down my face as I tried to eulate Arthur Carlson saying that line.

    I am a trek fan big tie- but four lights is a whole different category of memorable….

  31. Frosted Donut Nov 27th 2008 at 02:54 pm 31

    Watch the entire episode for free (with a few short commercials):

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/322/wkrp-in-cincinnati-turkeys-away

    I love the net!

  32. assdad Nov 27th 2008 at 07:17 pm 32

    I have a better line from a Futurama episode:

    Setup:
    Leela: “No, Bender, no matter how suicidal this is you hve to go through with it!”
    Fry: “How come, whenever I want t dosomething fun that will kill me, you don’t allow it?”

    Line:

    “This isn’t Like that marble-eating-contest, Fry!”

  33. assdad Nov 27th 2008 at 07:25 pm 33

    “I didn’t want to be a barber, I wanted to be a lumberjack!”
    “You whizzed on the electric fence, huh?”
    “Most deals in infomercials are lies, just like the Holocaust [phones ring!]”
    “This sketch was a satire and if you don’t understand that you must be a retard [phones ring!]”

  34. assdad Nov 27th 2008 at 11:11 pm 34

    “…Now, it’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus!”
    “Spam, spam, spam…”
    “You’re a very silly man and I shan’t be talking to you anymore.”

    I love Monty Python.

  35. assdad Nov 27th 2008 at 11:15 pm 35

    A great Saturday Night Live Sketch, the final line is the greatest one in the history of television:

    “Jigaboo!” “Honky!”
    “Tar baby!” “Ofay!”
    “Porch monkey!” “White Devil!”
    “Macaaca!” “Cracker!”
    “Nigger!” “[Emotionless] dead honky.”

  36. Nicole Nov 27th 2008 at 11:18 pm 36

    I love Monty Python too — but I am not sure that is quite qualifies, since it was more of sketch TV , but since you brought it up

    “E’s pinin’ for the fjords’
    “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”

    But here is one for the over 40 crowd that will evoke an entire series — “Sorry about that chief” and from the same series “that’s craw not craw”

  37. assdad Nov 27th 2008 at 11:38 pm 37

    “Mr. Shyamalan, those are plot twists not stories.”
    “[Mel Gibson] is crazy but he knows story structure.”
    “Maybe [if he needs to concentrate] he should go to a concentration camp!”

  38. Pinny Nov 28th 2008 at 03:53 am 38

    Re: Nicole (#33):
    “Very amusing, Mr. Smart. I suppose you can guess what they call me.”
    “Lefty?”
    “No, Mr. Smart. I am employed by KAOS, the international organization of evil. My name is the Craw.”
    “The Craw..?
    “NO, no, not the Craw…the CRAW”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftgAG3Vnif8

    Also:
    “Missed by that much!”
    “Would you believe….”

  39. assdad Nov 28th 2008 at 12:26 pm 39

    “I’m not goig to Hell, Butters, I’m not Black!”

  40. Patrick Nov 28th 2008 at 01:25 pm 40

    Wait . . . everyone else in this forum got what Dwayne was refering to? Personally, I have no idea what “I’m out” is supposed to mean.

  41. Nicole Nov 28th 2008 at 02:01 pm 41

    Patrick — don’t feel bad — I haven’t gotten most of the quotes on this thread — I am just not that much of a TV watcher

  42. Powers Nov 28th 2008 at 02:02 pm 42

    Patrick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Contest

    And those of you quoting Get Smart — remember that Bill said “used only once in a single television episode”. =) Catch phrases are something else entirely.

  43. Nicole Nov 28th 2008 at 03:56 pm 43

    Powers — I knew that — I just didn’t care — LOL

  44. Frank Nov 28th 2008 at 07:10 pm 44

    Any geezers out there? “But most of all, I remember Mama.” …

  45. Eric L Nov 28th 2008 at 11:03 pm 45

    This one is very recent so I have no idea how timeless it will become, but will anyone who saw the final episode of THE SHIELD ever here the phrase “Family meeting” and not have flashbacks?

  46. eeyore19 Nov 29th 2008 at 03:41 pm 46

    Here’s another short one:

    “Delores!”

  47. assdad Nov 29th 2008 at 11:23 pm 47

    “Ha ha ha ha ha, I made you eat your parents!”
    “Well, It appears science has failed again, infront of overwhelming religious evidence.”
    “What’s science ever done for us? T.V, off!”
    “[Same character who said the last quote] ooh, I hope medical science can cure this!”

  48. assdad Nov 30th 2008 at 11:40 pm 48

    “You think we’re going to sprout wings and become angels? There is no after, only this!”

    House, despite being a sociopathic son a bitch, can be quite accurate.

  49. Joe Dec 1st 2008 at 12:19 am 49

    This one isn’t from a sitcom, but I think it qualifies:

    “It’s a cookbook!”

  50. BillClay Dec 1st 2008 at 12:26 pm 50

    “Jane, you ignorant slut.”

  51. Jrsy Boy Dec 1st 2008 at 02:53 pm 51

    “I’m out” was Kramer losing The Contest because he was not Master of his Domain.

  52. Bill Dec 2nd 2008 at 05:47 pm 52

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  53. Cidu Bill Nov 25th 2009 at 05:29 pm 53

    Ease99, “There are four lights” wasn’t the best line in that episode for me. It was “I saw five lights.”

  54. Tim Nov 27th 2009 at 07:16 am 54

    “I gotta have more cowbell!”

  55. David A. Rooney Nov 27th 2009 at 12:10 pm 55

    Joe - I actually received a genuine cook book based soley on that Twilight Zone episode. It was written by Carl Wurf, with the title provided by Damon Knight. It includes such ethnic delights as Haggis made from a Scottsman.

  56. Rasheed Nov 27th 2009 at 02:30 pm 56

    The first WKRP series was just before my time. I do remember some of the more colorful characters, and did see some of the sequel series when it was new. I don’t know this turkey business, but if I am understanding your question correctly, does “NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!” work? I have seen maybe 5 Seinfeld episodes out of the entire run, but the Soup Nazi was one of them. I don’t know if that line came back or not.

  57. Dave Nov 29th 2009 at 10:21 pm 57

    I think that the power of “As God as my witness…” is that it conjures the entire essence of the grand theme of the episode. I never saw the Star Trek episode, but wiki’d the Four Light’s reference, and I’d have to agree with CIDU Bill that if I had known the Orwellian context at the time “I thought I saw five lights” is what would have given me chills (it does even just reading about the episode).

    “You should wear more sweaters” is right up there, but that whole episode was so sublime that the one phrase doesn’t capture all of it.

    How to Serve Man is also up there, but for me that “shock” came from Treehouse of Horrors :-)

    And “I’m out” is hands-down the funniest moment in television history for me… I’m 42.

  58. Shu Nov 26th 2010 at 12:27 am 58

    “There are four lights” !

  59. Detcord Nov 26th 2010 at 04:45 am 59

    I was going to write that this is all blank to me (mostly because I haven’t owned a TV for many years - and didn’t watch much TV (lack of time) when I did have access to one.

    And I would challenge Charlene (15)’s claim that, “The second is much better known, and known worldwide at that.” Never heard of it, and I am most definitely a Star Trek fan - though not a trekkie as I couldn’t stand the few bits of “The Next Generation” I’ve seen (I refuse to apend Star Trek to that title) and am not all that keen on many of the movies. The first one nearly killed it for me. :-(

    However, Nicole (once again) saved the day - and her (43) line was an LOL for me - and prompted me to write.

    Nice one, Nicole! :-D

  60. Detcord Nov 26th 2010 at 08:35 am 60

    Either I’m nuts (not an impossible scenario ;-) ), or this particular thread has vanished from the the normal selection list. I also notice that a number of the user-posted links in this thread now report being blocked due to Fox copyright issues.

    I don’t suppose the two are related in any way….? Hmmm?

  61. Meryl A Nov 30th 2010 at 02:16 am 61

    Frank - I watched “I Remember Mama” when I was young. Watch the movie whenever it is on, and have several copies of the book. That line is the same in the book, but much of the rest of the intro has been changed in the movie. I presume also in the tv show, but don’t remember it well enough.

    I am surprised that WKRP is on hulu and dvd as there was a problem putting it into syndication as they had to get licenses for all the songs they played during the series. Sort of like why “Bosom Buddies” did use the same music in syndication, but there were so many more songs they couldn’t deal with it.

  62. Morris Keesan Nov 24th 2011 at 04:53 pm 62

    Three years later, I’m a little surprised that nobody (including me) has yet mentioned “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants”.

  63. fuzzmaster Nov 24th 2011 at 09:42 pm 63

    “I hate spunk.”

  64. Cidu Bill Dec 22nd 2011 at 01:31 pm 64

    Morris, I think that line predates television.

  65. Cidu Bill Dec 22nd 2011 at 01:33 pm 65

    How did I forget “Don’t you think she looks tired?”

  66. ja Dec 22nd 2011 at 05:04 pm 66

    @62, @64
    The line may predate television, but I knew **exactly** what episode he was referring to…
    Poor Chuckles… shelled by a rogue elephant…

  67. Soup Dragon Nov 28th 2013 at 01:41 pm 67

    As this thread has been reopened, I’ll submit my suggestion: “You invaded Poland!”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfl6Lu3xQW0

    Never seen this WKRP thing, so I can’t compare. The hulu thing doesn’t work in my part of the world.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all you Yankees!

  68. Less Reality, More Fantasy, No Baby Blues Nov 30th 2013 at 06:29 pm 68

    You reminded me of the Mr. Hilter sketch from Monty Python, a classic. Every line in that is great.

    Speaking of contrasts between violence and lighthearted things, I wish there were fewer tonal shifts in Almost Human. I think the idea of that show is to contrast the horrors of violence and human nature with the wonders of futuristic technology, but all the shifts into things like buddy cop drama, comedy and other genres water down the message. I might be overthinking it, though.

    Family Guy had a really good episode after the original thread was posted: Brian wrote a very successful play by stealing ideas from terrible C.B.S. sitcoms and romantic movies. It was very funny, probably clever before Family Guy stole the idea, and the scene where Stewie sacrificed his own play by adding bits of Brian’s play was very nice.

    This line was not from a very good Simpsons episode, one with way too much cutesy shit and filler, but it was a good line: “Oh man, cheerleaders were at our house and I missed them?” One of a few good moments in a forgettable episode.

    Speaking of comedies that center around radio stations, I wonder if the plans for a Frasier spinoff starring Freddie and Niles’s son will ever bear fruit? I love Frasier, but half of the fun of that show came from the fact that he and Niles were rich, out of touch and stupid; the spinoff is based on their children, who are familiar with modern technology, social trends and the problems of the poor, which seems to defeat the purpose.

  69. JerrytheMacGuy Nov 30th 2013 at 10:54 pm 69

    The episode of Fawlty Towers called “Basil the Rat” gets me every time I see it, especially when the housecat is mistaken for being poisoned by eating veal when in fact it is just coughing up a hair ball:

    [Terry is examining a piece of possibly-poisoned veal the cat had been chewing on]
    Terry: Right! Now, how’s the cat?
    Basil Fawlty: [Incredulously] How’s the c…? How’s the cat? We’re about to take the life of a public health inspector and you want to know “how’s the cat”? IT’S GONE TO LONDON TO SEE THE QUEEN! What’re we going to do?
    Polly: [bringing in the cat] He’s fine!
    Terry: Great!
    Basil Fawlty: [leaping about hysterically] HOORAY! HOORAY! THE CAT LIVES! THE CAT LIVES! LONG LIVE THE CAT! What are we going to DO?
    Terry: Mr. Fawlty - if the cat is all right, that means that slice is all right.

  70. Jeff S. Dec 1st 2013 at 01:41 am 70

    If I can’t choose the WKRP line, “I’m out” was the first line I thought of that matches the criteria given. I can see Kramer coming into the room, slapping his money down on the counter, and claiming, “I’m out!”

    #1 — “As God is my witness…”
    #2 — “I’m out!”
    While the “four lights” line is memorable, I think the most memorable line from ST:TNG is, “I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile” (although the second line is used repeatedly throughout any episode with the Borg, it unique in this situation).

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