The first thing I think of when I think of Thanksgiving is the annual Macy’s Parade, that weird marriage of huge balloons, showtunes, and Willard Scott. In the magical world of the Macy’s Parade, there is nothing so bizarre that it can’t be shoehorned into something else.
The greatest thing, in retrospect, is that “artists” who appear in it are only rarely well known. They’ve been placed into the festivities either because they’re on a new NBC show, starring in a new Broadway musical, or have an agent who knows a guy who knows a guy. When viewed through the lens of time, it makes for a great review of has-beens and never-wases.
Sadly, I don’t have any old parades in the Vast and Dusty Scratchbomb VHS Archives. But we’re all in luck, because the site X-Entertainment.com has a veritable cornucopia of video from many years, ranging from the mid 80s to the early 90s. Just go there, search for “thanksgiving”, and you can’t go wrong.
I’m partial to the 1989 entry, which is heavy on ALF content and features a truly horrifying Marvel Comics float/musical sequence, among other atrocities. The 1985/1986 page has a terrifying appearance by Phyllis Diller as an inebriated Mother Goose. Both pages have addenda with many classic ads, as do most of the other Thanksgiving reviews. Go there and get lost for hours. It’s a lot better than talking to your family!
The second thing that Thanksgiving invokes in my mind is the Turkey Day Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Marathon that used to air each year on Comedy Central (back when they invested in non-racist puppet shows). MST3K used to air ’round midnight most evenings, so it was great to get a chance to watch it in the middle of a lazy holiday. Or attempt to sneak a few viewings of it while not alienating the rest of the family.
Almost as good as the endless string of episodes: The special Turkey Day bumpers produced for it, which were always hysterical. Here’s a collection of some of the better ones, although I personally would have included the turkey fact given by Crow “Turkeys have enough tryptophan to knock you on your sorry turkey-eating ass.”