WKRP in Cincinnati – The “Complete” First Season

by Alan Rapp on April 24, 2007

in Home Video

  • Title: Castle – After Hours
  • tv.com: link

“Baby, if you’ve ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me. I’m living on the air in Cincinnati, Cincinnati, WKRP. Got kind of tired packing and unpacking, town to town and up and down the dial. Maybe you and me were never meant to be, but baby think of me once in awhile. I’m at WKRP in Cincinnati.”

wkrp-season-one-dvdWKRP was a small time radio station in Cincinnati during the late 1970’s.  Run by the bumbling son, referred to as “the big guy” (Gordon Jump), of the station’s owner (Sylvia Sidney) and cursed with a staff of misfits the station was the black hole in radio.  Enter a new hot shot program director (Gary Sandy) and a format change to rock and roll and the station began to get some attention.

The cast included Howard Hessman as Dr. Johnny Fever and Tim Reid as Venus Flytrap, the stations two radio deejays.  Add in the worst sales manager played brillantly by Frank Bonner (complete with his trademark white belt), a neurotic farm report obessed newsman (Richard Sanders) with no knowledge of sports, a mousy office worker (Jan Smithers), and the hottest secretary in television history (Loni Anderson), and you’ve got all the necessary parts for some great fun.

Over the course of 22 first season episodes they would deal with the fallout of the format change, promote a concert for the punk band Scum of the Earth, fight of consistently bad publicity, and put on the most memorable Thanksgiving promotion ever.

Turkeys Away

Speaking of Thanksgiving, “Turkeys Away” is the most beloved episode by fans and was rated #40 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time.  The story follows Mr. Carlson who, feeling left out of the day to day events of the station, comes up with an ill-conceived promotion idea which is revealed over the air as Les Nesman reports live from the mall describing the event as a helicopter drops live turkeys to the earth.  “Oh, the humanity!”  Great stuff, and one of my favorite episodes of any show ever, which includes a terrific closing line.  The entire set is worth getting just for this one episode.

 

Though the show is missing some of it’s best moments (“Do I hear dog’s barking?”) and the music swap is far from perfect, it is nice to finally have the set available on DVD.  The trouble it foreshadows however is quite sad.  Will future shows limit themselves so to be able to put out full DVD sets, or will their fate be similar to this one?  Hopefully the music industry (which isn’t hurting too bad) can come to some accommodation – especially here where an entire new generation could be introduced to music in an entertaining setting.  You can’t buy publicity like that!  Even with these issues, the set is worth it for me, though I don’t plan on picking up any of the other seasons, for the comedic aspects, especially “Turkeys Away,” though I wouldn’t pay more than $20 for the set.

Previous post:

Next post: