This disaster was inspired by a much less horrific turkey giveaway WQXI general manager Jerry Blum (the inspiration for Carlson) had conjured up in the late 1950s in Dallas when he dropped turkeys off a pickup truck.
His son Gary Blum said his dad never did anything like that again. "The public went nuts fighting over the turkeys and it was a mess," Blum said. "That was about the whole story. Hugh Wilson, the writer of the series, was a friend of the station when he was in the ad business in Atlanta. He used that story, along with other funny stories, and embellished them to come up with the may storylines in 'WKRP.' To my knowledge, the turkey drop was never repeated."
Fans still recite that "as God as my witness" line to Wilson to this day. “I didn’t realize people would remember it a quarter century later!” he told me in 2011.
Watch those final minutes here off YouTube:
Previous "WKRP" stories I've written: