November 25, 2021 posted by Steve Stanchfield

Thunderbean Thursday Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving here in the states, and it’s s simple Thunderbean Thursday this week. I’m grateful for lots of things this year, even though this isn’t such a perfect time around the world. Let’s start now hoping now for a better upcoming year.

In the world of Thunderbean, we haven’t finished everything I’ve wanted to by now quite yet, but all signs are fairly positive. I’m really enjoying working on and watching everyone finish pieces of Flip’s as we get closer to getting the set ready for mastering. We’re still trying to get it out this year, but it may very well slip into early next by the time it comes back from replication. More news next week on this and the other sets that are getting close to being done!

And onto this week’s films:

This year, I decided to try and track down a few Thanksgiving things that I hadn’t seen in a while and watch them. These are the ones I made it all the way though – and I’m guessing it’s been some years since you had seen these as well, if at all.

After you’ve finished watching the Charlie Brown one and maybe some classic cartoons, take a look at these two. They’re interesting at least and I hadn’t thought of either of them in some time.

The Thanksgiving that Almost Wasn’t (1971)

Watching this special now, I realize it’s a lot groovier than I remember- and the closest thing you’ll ever get to having a Scooby Doo Thanksgiving special. It paints a happy picture of the first Thanksgiving, just like a grade school plays I was in over and over again in the early 70s. I managed to make it through this stuff ok but can’t guarantee you will, but at least on youtube it’s pretty easy to skip forward a little. The banjo and harmonica-heavy soundtrack seems pretty out of place on the songs somehow.

In true Hanna-Barbara fashion, we have some anthropomorphic animals, including the narrator — a Papa Squirrel telling his kid (voiced by June Foray) the story of how a Squirrel was involved in the story of the first Thanksgiving. Papa Squirrel seems to have stolen Yogi Bear’s collar and a pair of glasses from the Banana Splits. Don Messick, Hal Smith and others round off the cast. Animators on the film include Hugh Fraser, Ed Love, Ray and Don Patterson and Carlo Vinci. Walt Peregoy is credited for the backgrounds.

This special was produced for AVCO Broadcasting Corporation, Syndication Division. It must have been shown on smaller UHF stations, available as a special program. There’s even a space to put local sponsor tags at the end (with stars around them!). I caught a small piece of this on the Cartoon Network years back. I think it’s otherwise a pretty forgotten special.

The Pilgrim Boy (1962)

I hadn’t seen this Davy and Goliath short since I was a kid, but I remember as a kid taping part of the soundtrack on my cassette recorder and listening to it. Watching it all these years later, it’s what you’d expect it to be. It had been a while since I had sat down and watched a full episode. I think a little goes a long way on Davey, but I could watch Gumby’s all day while holding a Gumby bendy.

Of course, you all know the usual thanksgiving cartoons at this point. Tom Turk and Daffy (1944) is still one of my favorites, so here’s the film again, in case you don’t have it already:

Happy Thanksgiving All, and if you’re not in the states, happy Thursday!


  • Hal Smith’s voice has become synonymous with Thanksgiving to me, from hearing his voice in so many holiday specials.

    • Was there a Thanksgiving episode of Andy Griffin with Hal Smith as his hilarious character Otis the town drunk?

      • The Andy Griffith Show never had a Thanksgiving episode. You may be thinking of the show’s only Christmas episode, in which Mayberry’s richest man demands that Andy arrest a moonshiner on Christmas Eve. Andy then arrests the moonshiner’s whole family as accessories, and he and his family and friends host a wonderful Christmas holiday dinner for them (and the rich man, who has a change of heart) right there in the courthouse. But Otis wasn’t in that episode.

        Hal Smith, incidentally, was a lifelong teetotaler.

        • Since you mentioned it: the Christmas episode of Andy Griffith features my friend (and still with us) Margaret Kerry – who played the wife of moonshiner Sam Muggins. Margaret was connected to animation as the model filmed for animators reference of Tinker Bell in Disney’s Peter Pan. She later provided voices for Clutch Cargo and Space Angel – among other animation voice credits.

  • My favourite Thanksgiving cartoon is the episode of Underdog where Simon Bar Sinister travels back in time to the Plymouth colony and tries to sow discord between the Pilgrims and the Indians, because the Thanksgiving Day parade is keeping him from crossing the street. I wish there had been a sequel where Simon tries to cancel the Easter parade by going back to Calvary and preventing the Crucifixion from happening.

    Thanksgiving isn’t observed in Australia, but retailers here have adopted “Black Friday” with a vengeance. Happy Thunderbean turkey day, everybody!

  • A cool collection of classic cartoons. Always fun.

    Hey, I don’t know if this is the place to ask questions about Thunderbean, but I’m a new customer, and curious. If there is a better place to ask, let me know and I’ll delete this.

    A special BD-R listed on the store front as a 1941 feature. The art looks like it’s from a Fleischer film I’d been hearing about Thunderbean restoring for years, Mr Bug goes to town. Is this the release I’ve been waiting for?

  • Thanks, Steve and Happy Thanksgiving! My all-time favorites, in addition to TOM TURK & DAFFY, are HOLIDAY FOR DRUMSTICKS (Daffy Duck! Art Davis!) and the Hugh Harman MGM cartoon which is an all-turkey sendup of Borrah Minevitch & The Harmonica Rascals. Look forward to further news regarding the upcoming Flip the Frog (and his pre-Code pals) Blu-ray.

  • Can always count on Hoyt Curtin for perfect time capsule music. That banjo harmonica theme sounds (hilarious) and exactly like 1971. The untrained singer kids helped me enjoy it more as well.

  • I remember seeing THE THANKSGIVING THAT ALMOST WASN’T in elementary school. This would have been in the late 1970s. I don’t know that you would call it educational, but thinking back on it, it occurs to me that some of the films we saw in school had less to do with education than with keeping us occupied for awhile so the teacher could get some work done.

  • I’ve always wondered about Tom Turk & Daffy’s unique “Staff” credit for the story. What was behind that?

  • From 1942 until about 1955, even a modest effort from Chuck Jones was a work of genius.

  • I’m a little surprise Steve didn’t include Tex Avery’s “Jerky Turkey” where we learn to not “Eat at Joe’s”.

  • “This special was produced for AVCO Broadcasting Corporation, Syndication Division. It must have been shown on smaller UHF stations, available as a special program.”

    So as far as that part of the equation goes it would’ve been seen at least on TV stations that were owned by Avco.

    WLWI 13 Indianapolis, Indiana (then an ABC station now NBC affiliate WTHR, owned by Tegna, Inc.)
    WLWT 5 Cincinnati, Ohio NBC affiliate owned by Hearst Television
    WLWC 4 Columbus, Ohio (now WCMH-TV, once owned by NBC, now it’s Nexstar Media Group)
    WLWD 2 Dayton, Ohio (now NBC affiliate, WDTN, owned by Nexstar Media Group)

    (Note the WLW calls for each station before they went their separate ways…and yes WLWI TV was where some guy named David Letterman worked…doing the weather and an infamous sign-off of the station where he blows up a cardboard version of the station building)

    WOAI-TV 4 San Antonio, Texas (was KMOL-TV from 1974-2002; went back to WOAI-TV NBC affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group)

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