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Kevin S. Butler writes: "ABC's tradition of airing a block of their popular Saturday morning cartoons on the Friday after Thanksgiving began back around 1966 and lasted well into the 1970s. The specials aired for four hours and featured Spiderman, The Fantastic Four, King Kong (the Rankin/Bass animated TV series), The Beatles, The New Casper Cartoon Show, Hoppity Hooper, etc.
"The 1972 broadcast of the fest featured a rarity - a live action kid's special hosted by former basketball great turned local NJ politician and amateur magician Jerry Lucas. The Jerry Lucas Super Kid's Day Magic Jamboree had Mr. Lucas performing magic tricks for a group of kids in the studio, he also filmed tips on how to improve basketball playing skills.The special was very entertaining and informative but it was never repeated and he never hosted another. As far as I know, The Jerry Lucas Super Kids Day Magic Jamboree is not available on VHS or DVD.
"The last live performer to host a cartoon fest on ABC was my dear friend and fellow performer Soupy Sales. He MC'd The ABC TV Funshine Festival not after but on Thanksgiving Day itself, November 25, 1976.
"Soupy taped his segments at an amusement park (I can't recall which) along with a lot of actors dressed as Hanna-Barbera's most popular TV cartoon characters. They performed comedy skits between reruns of the cartoons and Soupy's own Saturday afternoon kid's comedy game show Junior Almost Anything Goes.
"ABC TV aired one more after Thanksgiving Day cartoon festival in the 1980s, again this special show was taped at an amusement park and featured Hanna Barbera characters (on this last one I can remember some actors dressed up as Jane, Judy and George Jetson)."
"The 1972 broadcast of the fest featured a rarity - a live action kid's special hosted by former basketball great turned local NJ politician and amateur magician Jerry Lucas. The Jerry Lucas Super Kid's Day Magic Jamboree had Mr. Lucas performing magic tricks for a group of kids in the studio, he also filmed tips on how to improve basketball playing skills.The special was very entertaining and informative but it was never repeated and he never hosted another. As far as I know, The Jerry Lucas Super Kids Day Magic Jamboree is not available on VHS or DVD."
ABC's Friday-after-Thanksgiving cartoon special featuring episodes of the net's Saturday morning programs - this promo from the 1972 schedule:
HOLY COW!! I REMEMBER THIS!! I remember watching this when I was about 4 going on 5. I remembered that the Funky Phantom was one of the cartoons. I also recall that one of the magic tricks Jerry Lucas performed involved some of the kids and some squirt guns. He lit a few candles and told the kids to use the guns to extinguish the candles. They did, and then Mr. Lucas told the kids to squirt the candles again. Suddenly, the candles magically re-ignited. Cool trick!
I also want to say I seem to remember the De Franco Family (or some group like them) also performing on the show. I could be mistaken.
I remember the Soupy Sales ABC TV Funshine Festival shows, too! I wasn't quite into football just yet, and the cartoons were just the thing for an otherwise boring holiday at my grandma's house.
Let's see if I can remember: Soupy invited all of the Hanna Barbera characters to either Magic Mountain or Kings Island for a Thanksgiving feast. But the main course(some guy in a turkey suit) had other ideas and split, so everybody gave chase. I can still hear Jabberjaw's"Whoo-whoo-whoo" a la Curly as they were all running. In between the hijinks was where the cartoons ran. Soupy and the gang were about to give up when Kaptain Kool and the Kongs from the Krofft Supershow arrived to lend a hand.
At the end, the gang gave up and everybody gathered around the Thanksgiving table. Soupy thanked everybody for being there and hoped they enjoyed their holiday. He reached to take the cover off of the big platter in the middle of the table and couldn't wait to cut into the turkey. Except it was HAMBURGERS!! Everybody whooped in approval(including the Turkey) and dug in...except Soupy, who had this "What just happened here?" look on his face.
- Steve Schwetman Paducah, KY
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