November 20, 1937.
On a chilly Saturday morning, dozens of New Yorkers gathered on the Great Lawn for a very special Thanksgiving treat from J.L. Harbinger, owner of Harbinger’s Sports Emporium, Manhattan’s largest sporting goods store.
Calling it “The Great Lawn Turkey Shoot” Harbinger promised all in attendance the opportunity to “celebrate Thanksgiving like our forefathers did by shooting a turkey with reasonably priced weapons provided by Harbinger’s Sports Emporium.”
Armed with long bows and small caliber rifles, participants lined up on the southern end of the Great Lawn as Harbinger’s assistant’s set loose a bunch of farm raised turkeys from a pen located in the center. Harbinger fired a ceremonial shot from his pistol and declared the hunt to be on!
When the smoke finally cleared 15 minutes later, all of the turkeys had escaped unharmed. Several participants were treated at the scene for minor gunshot and arrow wounds. The only fatality was Morton Finnay of Brooklyn New York who was felled by 13 gunshots and seven arrows by his wife Caroline, who swore until her dying day she thought her husband was an extra large turkey who often criticized her cooking and housekeeping skills.
It Happened Here!
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