Slice of Turkey: ABC News, 1980

I’ve written before about how terrifying I found the local news when I was a kid. In the 1980s, local NYC newscasts were catalogs of horror. Race riots. Crack. Serial killers. Bernie Goetz. Rock and roller cola wars, I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! (tips over burning table)

That’s why I find feature on the 1980 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade done by the local ABC affiliate so endearing. Not one mention of an elderly woman beaten to death or a kid stabbed for his sneakers! In it, anchorman Roger Sharpe and his adorable two year old son (I assume?) take in the parade together. There’s a buffet of greatness packed into these two and a half minutes. We get some nostalgia-riffic shots of the balloons and paraders. A clown terrorizes Sharpe’s young child. Sharpe notes that Smokey the Bear can’t quite float straight because “he was out with Grimsby last night.” Roger Grimsby was another ABC anchor with a rep as a lush. That must have made the end of this segment awkward, since it throws back to Grimsby in the ABC News studio. (Ooops).

But the best part comes at 1:50, when Sharpe asks a bunch of kids what their favorite part of the parade was, and one highly advanced 11-year-old says “the women.” This would be funny enough, but Sharpe’s attempts to get this young man to explain himself compound the hilarity. That’s why Sharpe got paid the big bucks, to ask the tough questions.