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Awkward Vintage Photos of Classic Hollywood Stars Posing With Turkeys

Clare Fitzgerald
Photo Credit: 1. Underwood Archives / Getty Images 2. Bettmann / Getty Images
Photo Credit: 1. Underwood Archives / Getty Images 2. Bettmann / Getty Images

Thanksgiving is one of the most exciting times of the year. Not only do we get to feast on a delicious dinner, complete with turkey, potatoes, and amazing desserts, we also get to spend time with family. We all celebrate it in different ways, and as the following photos of Vintage Hollywood stars show, some do so in rather strange ways.

Dressed for Thanksgiving dinner

Lillian Harvey carving a turkey at the dinner table
Lillian Harvey, 1932. (Photo Credit: Underwood Archives / Getty Images)

Celebrities always go overboard when it comes to dressing up for special occasions, and Lillian Harvey was no exception. Here she is carving a Thanksgiving turkey while dressed in a gorgeous dress and boa. Hopefully, none of the feathers got into the food!


Jeanne Crain sharpening an axe while looking at a turkey
Jeanne Crain, 1946. (Photo Credit: Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Here we see actress Jeanne Crain sharpening an ax before using it to slay this turkey, who appears to be none-the-wiser. Poor thing, here it thought it was just arriving on set to take a few pictures…

Also, if you ask us, Jeanne looks far too excited about sharpening that blade.

Prepping the turkey

Anne Shirley holding a turkey by its legs
Anne Shirley, 1934. (Photo Credit: Underwood Archives / Getty Images)

Here we have Anne of Green Gables actress Anne Shirley prepping a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. We’re honestly not sure what to make of this picture… It’s unnerving for a reason we can’t quite put our finger on.

Dogs are so out – turkeys are our pet of choice

Barbara Bates holding a shotgun while walking a turkey on a leash
Barbara Bates, 1950. (Photo Credit: Keystone-France / Getty Images)

The majority of normal people own a pet dog that they’ll take for regular walks, but not Barbara Bates. The star of All About Eve decided to switch things up in 1950 by taking a wild turkey for a stroll. By the looks of the shotgun in her hand, it may have been the bird’s final walk before, you know…

Well, hello there!

Shirley Temple staring at a turkey
Shirley Temple, 1949. (Photo Credit: John Kobal Foundation / Getty Images)

Judging by Shirley Temple‘s face in this picture, we’d say this turkey snuck up on her during the photoshoot. We can’t fault it, though – who says only actresses deserve the spotlight?!

A little weary of the turkey

Marilyn Monroe dressed as a pilgrim, sneaking up on a turkey
Marilyn Monroe, 1950. (Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

We’re not quite sure wearing heels while hunting a turkey is the most effective way to nab your prey, but that’s exactly what the blonde bombshell herself, Marilyn Monroe, wore for this outing. By her expression, it appears she may have been regretting her decision…

Anyone want seconds?

Frank Sinatra carving a turkey
Frank Sinatra, 1955. (Photo Credit: Jack Albin / Getty Images)

It looks like crooner Frank Sinatra is ready to tuck into a delicious-looking turkey dinner – he even dressed up for the occasion! We bet everyone on set was lining up with their plates.


Barbara Kent sharpening an axe while a turkey stands in front of her
Barabara Kent, 1930. (Photo Credit: Fox Photos / Getty Images)

Does anyone else think it looks like this turkey is yelling “NOOOOOOOO” to Barbara Kent while she sharpens her ax? On the flip side, she looks like she’s laughing at its despair, so… Guess it was out of luck.

Why ride a horse when you can ride a turkey?

Virginia Gibson dressed as a pilgrim, riding a large turkey
Virginia Gibson, 1952. (Photo Credit: Bert Six / Getty Images)

This is definitely one of the stranger publicity photos to be released during the 1900s. Here we see actress Virginia Gibson riding an unusually large turkey, while dressed as a pilgrim… If this doesn’t scream “Thanksgiving,” we don’t know what does!

Stand still and maybe it won’t see you

Judy Garland looking wearily at a turkey
Judy Garland. (Photo Credit: John Springer Collection / Getty Images)

Here we see famed child actress Judy Garland dressed as a pilgrim and looking wearily at a turkey. Considering she stood up against the Great and Powerful Oz in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, we think she could take that animal, no problem.

Animals are the best co-stars

Doris Day staring at a turkey
Doris Day, 1953. (Photo Credit: Donaldson Collection / Getty Images)

One of the best things about working on a film set is when you get to star alongside animals. Sure, humans are able to memorize their lines and act on cue, but there’s something so cute about seeing an animal work its magic for the camera. Here we have Doris Day alongside her turkey co-star on the set of By the Light of the Silvery Moon.

Ready, aim, fire!

Dorothy Sebastian aiming a shotgun at a flying turkey
Dorothy Sebastian, late 1920s. (Photo Credit: Underwood Archives / Getty Images)

Aiming a shotgun at a moving target isn’t the easiest thing, but actress Dorothy Sebastian seems to know exactly what to do. Just look at her form and the precision of her aim – we wish we could find out if she managed to shoot the bird down!

Poor Tom the Turkey

Patsy Kelly weighing a turkey
Patsy Kelly, 1935. (Photo Credit: Underwood Archives / Getty Images)

We think the alt image description of this photo says it all: “Hal Roach comedienne, Patsy Kelly (1910-1981) is getting ready to put an end to Tom the Turkey.” Poor Tom… At least he lived a good life.

Carving dinner

Joan Crawford carving a cooked turkey at the dinner table
Joan Crawford, 1930. (Photo Credit: General Photographic Agency / Getty Images)

There’s nothing better than digging into dinner after a day of cooking. However, by the look on Joan Crawford‘s face, it would appear she’s thinking, “Why the hell am I carving this turkey when I’m rich enough to hire someone else to do it?”

Befriending the turkey

Adelle August with her hand below the beak of a turkey
Adelle August, 1954. (Photo Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

More from us: Vintage Snapshots of Women Posing with Pride Next to their Christmas Trees

Closing out our list of awkward celebrity photos is this one of actress Adelle August, who appears to be befriending a turkey before preparing it for Thanksgiving. Too bad it couldn’t see the ax hidden behind her back.

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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