You can keep your Turkey Day Game. Hell, you can keep your turkey. For generations of St. Louisans, Thanksgiving Day's sweetest meat is served at noon when Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" settles in for its beloved annual eighteen-minute residency at KSHE 95.
"If we weren't to play 'Alice's Restaurant' at noon Thanksgiving Day like we're going to, the following day, as the head of programming, I would probably find my car covered with left-over mashed sweet potatoes," says KSHE's Rick Balis. "Of course, that's probably the best place for left-over mashed sweet potatoes," he concedes.
But even Balis isn't sure when KSHE started playing the song: As a tradition, it was already firmly in place by the time he got to the station in 1976. "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," the song's official name, is the first track from the album Alice's Restaurant, which was released in 1967 -- the same year KSHE 95 hit the air. (Conspiratorial side note: Has anyone ever seen Rick Balis and Arlo Guthrie in the same place at the same time?)
We've always wondered what the DJ does in the studio after he drops the needle on this eighteen-and-a-half minute opus. So many options. In that time frame, you could fly halfway to Chicago! You could listen to "Runnin' with the Devil" almost six times! If you're anything like us, you could open and finish the day's inaugural beer! We have a call in to KSHE to see if one of its DJs will let us in on their little secret.
UPDATE: Though a KSHE DJ hasn't yet responded, Balis did: "What does the DJ do during the broadcast of 'Alice's Restaurant'? Heck, somebody has to peel the potatoes for my mashed potatoes!"
We'd recommend doing so with a cold one.
In the meantime, whet your appetite with this:
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.