Thanksgiving Fullervision Style 2009

"I can't cook a Thanksgiving dinner. All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast." ~ Charlie Brown
"That's right... I've seen you make toast." - Linus van Pelt

Thursday, November 26, 2009
There are exactly days until November 26.

The Story of Thanksgiving

The story begins in England. A religious group known today as the Pilgrims were disillusioned with the Church of England and wanted to separate. Efforts to do this in England were futile due to the Crown's fierce resistance, so they moved at first to Holland until they were able to raise enough funds for a ship to the New World of America, which had been successfully settled since 1607. According to records, the group planned to experiment with a communist society where all the raised goods would be placed into a common store. In 1620, they landed and attempted to implement this economic system. Food shortages abounded, winter was long, and many died. The system was scrapped in the spring of 1621 and instead replaced it with open markets and an "every man for himself" system. With a market system in place, and a little bit of help from some gracious natives, the food supply grew to much higher levels and thus a feast was declared after harvest. The Pilgrim community was a devout one and thus gratitude to God was paid on this day of thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving Tradition

The Thanksgiving holiday is traditionally a five-day weekend, from the Wednesday before through the Sunday after (although some businesses only give the Thursday and Friday off). The holiday is among the most observed holidays in the American calendar, with almost all businesses closing down at least on Thanksgiving Day itself, and its comparatively secular nature makes it an acceptable celebration for Christians and non-Christians alike. Also, Thanksgiving itself does not seem to have been commercialized to the degree of its nearby holiday, Christmas.
Usually the holiday begins the day before with preparations, either with travel (the AAA has determined that Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest time for travel all year) or by preparing the litany of food that serves as part of the celebration. The token Thanksgiving turkey (see "Food" below) is often left to roast overnight, or at least to thaw before being put into the oven Thanksgiving morning. The next morning, often some early breakfast is made (such as a pie), and any remaining dishes that need to be prepared are done at this time. At 9:00 am (ET), the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (among many other local parades) takes place and is televised across the country (see "Media Guide" below), featuring various marching bands, balloons, floats, and Broadway performances and concluding with Santa Claus and his reindeer right around noon ET. At this time, the NFL takes over the ceremonies with what is now a tripleheader slate of games, the first two featuring the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, with each taking on an AFC and an NFC team, rotating between the two each year. Some time during all the football, the main course is served (see "Food" below), and when all is said and done, everyone can kick back, relax, and digest all that food.
(Note: it is not necessarily true that the tryptophan in turkey is what causes people to become sleepy; in fact, it is usually the sheer volume of food that requires digesting that wears one down.)

List of Notable Thanksgiving Parades

NOTE: All times listed are U.S. Eastern time. Parades in the Central Time Zone begin one hour earlier than the time listed. Hyperlinked items in the "TV" column link to a live streaming broadcast of the parade at parade time.
America's Hometown Thanksgiving Parade
Plymouth, MA
Sat.< 9am
UBS Parade Spectacular
Stamford, CT

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
New York City
Th. 9am
6abc IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade
Philadelphia, PA
Th. 9am
Ameren St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade
St. Louis, MO
Th. 9amE
America's Thanksgiving Parade
Detroit, MI
Th. 10am
McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade
Chicago, IL
Th. 9amE
H-E-B Holiday Parade
Houston, TX
Th. 10amE
Macy's/WPXI Celebrate the Season Parade
Pittsburgh, PA

Black Friday and Uses of Thanksgiving as a Benchmark

While Thanksgiving itself has not been commercialized to the degree of Christmas, it is often used as a benchmark when beginning the "holiday season." The Friday before Thanksgiving is traditionally the time when radio stations (particularly the 'elevator music' chick stations that air Delilah and the like) change formats to Christmas music for the season. The most notable of this type of usage is Black Friday, a shopping event that takes place at various retail outlets across the country. Among the busiest shopping days of the year, Black Friday (so named for both its notoriously chaotic nature and the fact that it marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season that pushes businesses "into the black" or into profitability) events usually involve the "doorbuster" sale, which involves people lining up at the store's doors the morning after Thanksgiving. The store will open at 5 AM and the customers will swarm the store in a no-holds-barred free-for-all to grab the latest toys as the store usually runs out by noon. Various sites such as and have advertisements for many participating retailers. (For the record, the absolute busiest day of the year for shopping is in fact the Saturday before Christmas, largely due to last-minute shoppers.) The day after Thanksgiving is usually when many networks begin their Christmas specials and programming as well.

Thanksgiving Foods

Of course, the most common food that is ever eaten during the Thanksgiving holiday is roast turkey. Generally, how one roasts a turkey is by thawing it (using the "cold water" method, this takes about 30 minutes per pound, so obviously an overnight job), removing the neck and giblets, adding some crouton-based stuffing, and cooking the turkey at 325°F for 15 minutes per pound until the meat is at 180°F. Further details can be found from this Web site. In a crisis, call the Butterball Hotline at 1-800-BUTTERBALL (that is, 1-800-288-8372).
Another hotline that may come in handy is the Betty Crocker hotline (1-888-ASK-BETTY or 1-888-275-2388), for your non-turkey baking needs.
Other traditional Thanksgiving foods include:
By the way, don't forget the leftovers. You can make turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, all sorts of items with a used turkey. The meat usually lasts a couple of days in the fridge.

Media Guide (All times ET)

Movies in red, annual first-run specials in green, annual rerun specials in yellow, sports in blue. Regular programming is shaded light gray.
IATZ - Program airs at same time In All Time Zones; tape delayed in time zones other than East Coast.
LIVE - Program airs live, time must be adjusted for local time zones. Time listed is US Eastern Time.

Friday, November 20, 2009
Various radio stations: Holiday music begins
This is the general date for which most of the "holiday music" stations change over from their regular format to 24/7 Christmas music. See Christmas Fullervision Style 2009 at the link above for stations making the changeover to the format.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
12:05-3:00 PM EIB Network (Radio): The Rush Limbaugh Show, "The Real Story of Thanksgiving"
The story of the Pilgrims as told by America's #1 talk show host. (Though he reads the excerpt live each year, the actual script was written in 1993.)
4:00-5:00 PM Syndication: The Oprah Winfrey Show's Annual "Oprah's Favorite Things" Special
All indications are that Oprah is bringing back Oprah's Favorite Things this year. After the all-cash giveaway in 2006, the lousy gifts in 2007, and Oprah deciding to get stingy and give away gifts that were worth next to nothing in 2008, she says there will be at least something resembling the Favorite Things this year. Exact date is not yet set in stone.

Thursday, November 26, 2009
12 noon and 6:00 p.m. Radio: The Alice's Restaurant Massacree
This holiday staple sung by Arlo Guthrie airs on classic rock stations across the country; times may vary, so check your local station.
12 noon WGN America: Bozo, Gar and Ray: WGN TV Classics
Dean Richards hosts this retrospective featuring classic TV icon Bozo the Clown, among other children's programming and classic Christmas-themed cartoons.

Last update: November 13, 2009. Final schedule is in. My predictions were surprisingly accurate. CBS is throwing in a new Young and the Restless, but they have indeed decided to do back-to-back Let's Make a Deal episodes in the afternoon. NBC is not going with a movie in prime time this year (but is for Friday and Saturday), and is airing the Office wedding and a new special entitled "People of the Year." The movie that would have likely aired in prime time, Dr. Dolittle, is now in the afternoon slot, replacing Miracle on 34th Street. Fox's movie is Night at the Museum. ABC, as I suspected, dropped their Grey's Anatomy rerun and is going with two new music specials. I've also found and listed the marathon programming. It's kind of disheveled (listed in the order it's listed on the local cable lineup). Also: caught a promo for a GSN Deal or No Deal Marathon that the listings haven't put up yet. I have it listed.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade IATZ
New York parade coverage IATZ Local programming
National Dog Show
Presented by Purina
Local news/Young and the Restless
East Coast only:
Let's Make a Deal
NFL Football:
Green Bay @ Detroit LIVE
Movie: Dr. Dolittle (1998)
Local programming
American Football League:
Oakland @ Dallas Cowboys LIVE
Regular schedule follows
Local programming
Regular schedule (The Office)
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Movie: Night at the Museum 8/7c
NBC's People of the Year
Music special: Beyoncé
Regular schedule (The Jay Leno Show)
Music special: Paul McCartney
Local programming

Friday, November 27, 2009
Versus: UFL Championship Game: Florida Tuskers @ Las Vegas Locomotives, 3:00 PM ET
The inaugural championship of the United Football League, from Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
ABC, ESPN Networks, and CBS: NCAA College Football
CBS: SEC on CBS; Alabama @ Auburn (2:30 PM ET)
ABC: Colorado vs. Nebraska (3:30 PM ET)
ESPN2: Nevada @ Boise State (3:30 PM ET)
ABC and ESPN also list the following potential matchups for the noon game: Rutgers @ Louisville, Illinois @ Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh @ West Virginia; one will air on ABC, another on ESPN, and the third on ESPN2. 
NBC: Movie: The 40-Year-Old Virgin, 8:00 PM ET
FOX: Movie: Ice Age 2 - The Meltdown, 8:00 PM ET

Saturday, November 28, 2009
NBC, ABC, CBS: NCAA College Football
Rivalry weekend. Game still listed as TBA on CBS Sports's Web site. It appears that LSU-Arkansas (8:00 p.m.) will not air on CBS as in previous years.
ABC: Notre Dame @ Stanford, 8:00 p.m.
NBC: Bayou Classic, Grambling State @ Southern, 2:30 p.m.
ESPNU: Navy @ Hawaii, 10:30 p.m.
NBC: Special: Merry Madagascar, 8:00 PM ET
NBC: Movie: The Incredibles, 8:30 PM ET
This movie, which aired Thanksgiving night the past two years, was moved to Saturday because its 2½ hour time slot would have cut into Leno.

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