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Emmy commemorative: Underdog – WKRP

Theme song jogs memory of classic 70s show

Everyone remembers the theme song:

“Baby, if you ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me …

I’m living on the air in Cincinnati …

Cincinnati, WKRP.”

But when it comes time to name classic shows of the 1970s, “WKRP in Cincinnati” seems to always be left off the list.

When the series began in 1978, Gary Sandy played incoming program director Andy Travis, who takes over loser Cinci radio station WKRP and turns it into a top 40 outlet, shocking staff and listeners alike.

Early in its first season, “WKRP” aired what is remembered by many as perhaps one of its funniest episodes:

When bumbling station manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump) comes up with a brilliant Thanksgiving Day promotion, he refuses to tell anyone what it is, including PD Andy Travis.

Equally bumbling newsman Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) is dispatched to cover the event at a nearby shopping center. Everyone’s in for a shock when a helicopter overhead starts tossing out live turkeys that land (splat) on cars and on pavement all around.

Les covers the event like Hindenburg redux. Mr. Carlson tells his shocked staff — dazed DJ Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman), buxom secretary Jennifer Marlowe (Loni Anderson), sleazy salesman Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner), nighttime jock Venus Flytrap (Tim Reid) and mousey assistant Bailey Quarters (Jan Smithers) — that he thought for sure turkeys could fly.

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