Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bill Dial, R. I. P.

Thanks to Todd Mason for the tip. If Dial had written nothing more than the Turkey Episode for WKRP, he'd have achieved more than most of us. Jaime Wienman has more here.

TrekToday - Bill Dial Passes: "Steve Stoliar, former secretary to Dial, confirmed the death. 'Sorry to say, it's true. Bill Dial died of a heart attack at age sixty-six at his home in South Carolina. [Dial's obituary lists him as being sixty-four.] He'd had some health problems of late, and it finally caught up with him. He was a wonderful man whose influence on my life, personally and professionally, is incalculable. After he moved to Beaufort, we used to email each other whenever a celebrity would pass away, confessing varying degrees of sadness at their passing. Little did I know that Bill would be joining them so soon.'

Dial wrote for Star Trek He was a co-writer on Deep Space Nine: The Alternate and he wrote another episode for the series, Tribunal. Dial also penned a Star Trek: Voyager episode, writing the initial teleplay for Eye of the Needle.

But Dial is best known for writing the Turkeys Away episode of WKRP in Cincinnati where general manager Arthur Carlson stages a Thanksgiving promotion where twenty live turkeys are dropped from a helicopter over a shopping center to unsuspecting shoppers. The problem is, turkeys can't fly! The episode was rated by TV Guide as the fortieth greatest episode in television history."


Doc Quatermass said...

Great episode.

Last week WGN had a tribute to the best episodes of the best sitcoms of the '70s. I missed Mary Tyler Moore on Monday night (a show I've been jonesing to see again). Caught Barney Miller, including Wojo bringing in his girlfriends hash brownies ep. on Tuesday. Watched Taxi on Wednesday, but have to watch the "get Reverend Jim a license" ep on the DVR. Skipped Welcome Back, Kotter on Thursday (saw a few eps of this before Comcast dropped American Life Network. Sadly I got sidetracked and missed the WKRP eps on Friday, including the turkey one. WKRP is being released on DVD but not having the foresight to know that such a trend would emerge they've had to substitute music in cases where they couldn't acquire the rights to the original music in the episodes. Supposedly this is why The Wonder Years may not see DVD release.

Doc Quatermass said...

And speacking of Star Trek:

Doc Quatermass said...


And speaking of composers, lets not forget Andy Griffith's good buddy:

norby said...

I love the turkey episode of WKRP.

For me, the best line of that show is Les Nessman-'Oh the humanity!'

James Reasoner said...

I'm sorry to hear about Bill Dial. He was a fine writer and I always enjoyed his rare appearances on the show as Bucky Dornster, the station engineer. I'm convinced that if you went up to a hundred people on the street between the ages of forty and sixty and said, "As God is my witness . . ." a significant percentage of them would immediately reply, " . . . I thought turkeys could fly!"

Doc Quatermass said...

A few years ago ifey and I were at a nearby tavern we sometimes have dinner and a beer at and she asked the waitress what the choices of drafts were. The waitress rattled them off, including MGD. Wifey looked at me and asked, "What's MGD stand for again?" I replied, "Geez Louise, honey! Miller Genuine Draft." and a biker guy sitting in the booth behind Maureen tilted his head back and said, "What... Does... A... Yellow... Light... Mean." We all had a good laff.