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8 forgotten animated Thanksgiving specials of the 1980s

Image: The Everett Collection

We gobbled them up at the time, but in the decades since, these cartoon specials have faded away. After all, most kids today are not intimately familiar with Q*bert.

We dug deep into the stuffing to find some overlooked Thanksgiving specials from the awesome Eighties.


The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw


There are intricately detailed conspiracy theories about whether these beloved ursine children's literary characters were named the "Berenstain Bears" or the "Berenstein Bears." Some have even argued the collective memory of BerenstEin with an E is proof of alternate dimensions. It's a deep dive into the internet go into it more. We are certain that this Thanksgiving special was indeed titled The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw. The titular Bigpaw was a Bigfoot-like creature — so just a bigger bear? He enjoyed buckets of mixed nuts and shared on the holiday.

Image: NBC


Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-Giving Special


Bugs Bunny is so ubiquitous, it's easy to forget that the Looney toon went away for a while. After 1964, the Warner Bros. rabbit did not have a piece of new material until 1976, when Bugs and Daffy's Carnival of the Animals introduced the Looney Tunes to a new generation. Bugs Bunny's Thanksgiving Diet followed in 1978. Two years later, the gang returned for this Daffy delight, a mix of (largely) old material and some new animated bits. The fresh segment was "Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 ½th Century," a spoof of the popular Buck Rogers show. Shorts like "Robin Hood Daffy" and "His Bitter Half" dated back three, four decades.

Image: The Everett Collection


Thanksgiving in the Land of Oz


CBS premiered this Wizard of Oz "sequel" immediately after A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in the fall of '80. That lead-in had to bring some eyeballs. Airing a couple weeks after election day, the special pulled some material from Frank L. Baum's books like The Marvelous Land of Oz and Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.

Image: CBS


Pooh Corner Thanksgiving


Shot with puppets and humans in suits, Disney Channel's Welcome to Pooh Corner was technically live-action, but it sticks in our childhood memory like an animated special. The cable network produced 120 regular episodes of the series. This was the first of its holiday specials, followed with tales for Christmas, Valentine's Day, Halloween and Christmas again over the subsequent year.

Image: The Everett Collection


Q*bert: Thanksgiving for the Memories


Arcade games were all the rage, as quarter-eaters like Pac-Man got breakfast cereals and Saturday morning cartoons. Along with Frogger, Donkey Kong and other video game characters, Q*bert shorts were featured in CBS's Saturday Supercade. The fifth of 19 Q*bert tales, "Thanksgiving for the Memories" retold the story of the first Thanksgiving with the quirky, tube-nosed creatures as pilgrims and natives.

Image: Ruby-Spears Productions / CBS


The Care Bears: Grams Bear's Thanksgiving Surprise


When not based on video games, Eighties cartoons looked to popular toys for ideas. The Care Bears stuffed animals were all the rage (perhaps not Cabbage Patch Kid big, but living large in '86) at the time. Their emotional, moral basis made them prime characters for telling a Thanksgiving story. Share Bears heads down to earth in her cloud car to help a kid named Tony enjoy a happy holiday.

Image: Nelvana / ABC


This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers


"The Mayflower Voyagers" is not so much overlooked as overshadowed. CBS has been known to still bundle it and air it alongside A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, though this educational, historical cartoon hardly carries the same warm-and-fuzzy nostalgic feelings as the typical Peanuts special. It was the first of eight installments in the This Is America, Charlie Brown series, which covered everything from the Transcontinental Railroad to John Phillip Sousa.

Image: CBS


Garfield's Thanksgiving


Who says you can't have a fat pile of lasagna instead of turkey? Well, surprisingly, the orange cat sticks to the traditional dishes here. Jon bungles cooking the meal, so Garfield calls Grandma to the rescue. She cuts up the bird with a chainsaw, before Garfield, Odie, Jon and his ladyfriend Liz hold hands through a mawkish pop song.

Image: 9 Story Media Group / CBS

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