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Thanksgiving specials: Looney Tunes

Updated on December 10, 2021

The Looney Tunes gang have had their share of Thanksgiving themed cartoons and specials.

Bugs Bunny’s Thanksgiving Diet

This 1979 Looney Tunes special was a clip show compilation of previous shorts, with newly-animated wraparound segments.

The premise is Bugs working as a dietitian. He helps Millicent (the heavy-set female rabbit from 1957’s “Rabbit Romeo”) stay on her diet through telling her examples of other animals’ dietary habits.

The special’s been released to VHS. It’s yet to see a DVD release, however.

Daffy Duck’s Thanks-for-giving Special

In 1981, this Daffy Duck special was produced, but had little tie-in to Thanksgiving other than in its opening few scenes. Namely, the tie-in is Daffy cynically trying to find a holiday to exploit for his own purposes/special, thus leading to the special’s title. Daffy decides “Thanks-for-giving” is the day his fans can give “thanks” to him for the memories he’s given us over the years.

The actual plot was an extended version (and reuse of clips from) “The Scarlet Pumpernickel,” with Daffy also trying to sell the Warner Bros. exec on a space epic. This leads to a full airing of the animated short “The Return of Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century.” This short was originally meant to accompany “The Empire Strikes Back” in theaters, before being shelved. It’s also the short where the “big orange hairy monster” from several shorts got the name “Gossamer,” the name that’s stuck in merchandising and latter spin-offs since.

The special was rebroadcast in 1990 with the Thanksgiving references removed, and retitled “Daffy Duck in Hollywood.” Under its original version, “Thanks-for-giving”’s been released to DVD as an extra on “The Essential Daffy Duck” DVD collection.

Holiday for Drumsticks/Tom Turk and Daffy

Two actual Looney Tunes shorts featuring Daffy were produced that centered around Thanksgiving. The first, 1944’s “Tom Turk and Daffy,” sees Daffy helping to hide a turkey from being a Pilgrim Porky Pig’s Thanksgiving main course. That is, until Daffy hears about the side dishes Porky was going to make, and turns into a stool pigeon.

The latter short is a 1949 short where Daffy again helps a turkey avoid being on the Thanksgiving menu. Only this time, Daffy helps by putting the bird on a severe weight-loss program to make him unappetizing for some hillbillies. It works, but since Daffy ate all of the turkey’s food (his main motivation in “helping”), Daffy’s the one fattened up instead.

Both shorts have seen various VHS releases. However, “Holiday for Drumsticks” isn’t on DVD, as far as I can tell. “Tom Turk and Daffy” was released to DVD on the “Looney Tunes Super Stars” Porky Pig DVD.

Image from “Tom Turk and Daffy.” (Warner Bros.)

(Updated 11/17/16)

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