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Thanksgiving Facts And Fiction; Palestinian Woman Receives Gift Of Life From Israeli Family; A Look At Holiday Inspired Movies

Aired November 27, 2003 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Tonight, a holiday celebration as America gives thanks.

We'll entertain you with the International Sejong Soloists, and we'll pay tribute to Hollywood's most beloved Thanksgiving movie.


ZAHN: Good evening. Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for spending some of your holiday with us. Also ahead tonight, a remarkable story of giving. A Palestinian woman received the gift of life from a family of Israelis and they've never even met each other.

Plus, a glimmer of hope for you Thanksgiving gluttons who eat late, new science on weight gain and big meals right before bedtime.

And pumpkin pie, pilgrims, and black hats, Thanksgiving traditions that go way back to colonial days, right? We're going to sort out Thanksgiving fact from fiction.

First though, some of the headlines you need to know, right now.


ZAHN: Tomorrow's Black Friday, when the holiday shopping season goes into high gear. According to the National Retail Federation, 75 percent of Americans went shopping on Thanksgiving weekend last year. So, it's easy to see why the period from now until Christmas is crucial for the economy. What kind of season is in store? That's in focus tonight, with "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large and CNN contributor, Andy Serwer.

Good evening.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Good evening to you, Paula. Well, you're right. 'Tis the season to get your charge cards out, but it also time for economists to start grading the economy and giving out their yearly report cards.


SERWER (voice-over): No question, there are signs. The economy grew like gangbusters in the third quarter and new home construction is sizzling. As for jobs, the unemployment rate dropped to 6 percent in October, the lowest since April as the economy created 300,000 new jobs over the past three months. Can these stirrings of business activity blossom into a full-fledged recovery? The holiday shopping season may be telling. Every year, holiday shopping accounts for about 23 percent of all retail sales.

The weak economy made 2002 the worst holiday sales season in a decade, but retailers are hopeful this year. The National Retail Federation is looking for a 5.7 percent increase in holiday shopping this year, with the average shopper forking out $672, up from an average of $649 last year. Overall, that would translate into an additional $11.8 billion pumped into the economy. And, that could help this fragile recovery to gain footing.


SERWER: One hopeful sign for the economy this year Paula, is that retail sales have been strong all year, in particular back-to- school sales, which are always a warm-up for the Christmas and holiday season.

ZAHN: So, when you look at this season, independently from the other things you're talking about, is it a real barometer where the economy is?

SERWER: Yeah, it really does correlate well with the overall economy, how we do during the holiday season. For instance, last year the economy grew about 2.4 percent, retail sales for the holiday season, about $205 billion. Then you look at this year, the economy is expected to grow 2.7 percent, and economists are looking at $217 billion. So, it does correlate nicely like that.

ZAHN: I know you've been out there trying to sense what the hot trends are going to be this holiday season. There is a new concept in gift giving.


ZAHN: What is it?

SERWER: It's not so warm and cuddly, it's those gift cards. You know, it used to be gift certificates -- just a piece of paper, now the cards are really interactive things, so you can load them up and your dear ones can take them and buy things that they want. Very convenient for them and, of course, stores love them Paula, because it means no more returns. So, this is a huge trend we're seeing, now.

ZAHN: And, I would assume that most family members would love this gift.

SERWER: I'd love it. You can give me one, Paula.

ZAHN: Oh, I know what to do for Christmas this year. Thanks for the helpful hint. Andy Serwer, happy Thanksgiving.

SERWER: You too. ZAHN: More than 100,000 troops are spending this Thanksgiving in Iraq, dealing with the pain and loneliness of a holiday away from friends and family, and their presence and the U.S. mission in Iraq will be a key issue in the presidential election. Already many democrats are sounding off on the subject. I'm joined now, by regular contributors, former Pentagon spokesperson, Victoria Clarke, "TIME" magazine columnist, Joe Klein.

Happy Thanksgiving.



ZAHN: As we sit here, at this critical time in our history, do you think most Americans appreciate the true sacrifice our troops are making for us?

CLARKE: I think some of them do, if you know somebody in the military. If you have a loved one, obviously, you know what those people are going through. I think so many Americans though, and it's a generational thing, don't know someone. They haven't had a real- life experience with someone in the military and it's hard to understand -- it's hard to understand the sacrifices these people are making. They volunteer to make these sacrifices so we could have our nice lives. I'm hopeful every day and every week that goes by people recognize that. I'm hopeful, everyday that goes by, and every week that goes by, people begin to recognize that. We have so much to be grateful for, and those people who serve in the military are a big part of it.

KLEIN: That's a...

ZAHN: Do you think the military -- those serving in the military, overseas feel any sense of appreciation?

KLEIN: Well, I think that they should, because this is -- this is not the same public that reacted to Vietnam, even the people who are opposed to the war, have nothing but the best to say about the military. I think that there is a problem though, in places like this, in New York and California, the places where the elite meet. I have...

ZAHN: Oh, we're not so elite sitting here this evening.

KLEIN: But, our kids tend not to be the ones who are over there. I have two close friends who have children who are in Iraq now, one of them a helicopter pilot, but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule. And with the volunteer force, we've gotten a more sophisticated force, but it's also a force more removed from the mainstream of American life, because it is such a professional force, and it doesn't involve normal draftees.

ZAHN: One of the things you couldn't ignore, when you were working at the Pentagon, is the sense of bitterness some military families feel. They no more expected their loved ones to be in Iraq, than just about anything else they could contemplate?

CLARKE: They're the exception, though. If you -- if you're in the military or around them, there is such a sense of family and such a connection. And sure, every mother, every father wants their kid home, who wouldn't, but most of them understand how important that sacrifice is, and most of them, as scared as they are for their kids and their loved ones, understand how important the job is. So, I think bitterness is a very small thing. And, I think Joe's right. We're -- we are in a different place, thank goodness now, than we were in the wake of Vietnam, and so the ones who do come home and the injured that come home do get the hero's welcome they deserve.

ZAHN: But, there is tremendous concern about the timeline, here.


KLEIN: Right -- you know, I would disagree with Tori slightly, on this. I think the most -- the people who I've spoken to who have been most upset about the situation on the ground in Iraq and the open-ended quality of it, are members of the United States military, the uniformed military. In particular, they're very concerned about having to spend another summer on the ground under those terrible circumstances. There's a big troop rotation coming in February and March, when more reservists, more National Guard troops will be called on, and there's great concern about people reenlisting and especially guard -- people signing up for the guard and the reserve under these circumstances, which means that we're going to have to, perhaps, restructure our force and maybe augment it.

ZAHN: And, you're talking about a potential huge price to be paid, politically, for the bush administration here?

CLARKE: I think it's a long way between now and next summer, but I know you have people like General Abizaid who's the head of Central Command and General DeAron (PH) and General Sanchez, who are just so committed to getting the job done. They don't want to stay one day longer than they have to, but they'll stay as long as they have to to get the job done, and I think there's some pretty serious commitment there.

Tori and Joe, nice to have you two together for the holiday.

CLARKE: Me too.

ZAHN: Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family. We have a lot to be grateful for don't we?

A lesson in giving, in the story of a Palestinian family that received a gift of life from an Israeli who they never even met before.

Also, don't like what you see in the theaters this weekend? Well, stay at home. We'll look at some of the all-time Thanksgiving films.

And, music for this Thanksgiving night from the internationally renowned Sejong Soloists, who invited me to play along.


ZAHN: Like Thanksgiving, music brings us together. It is a shared experience that gives us the opportunity to reflect and rejoice. And, in this difficult time for our nation, music heals our hearts and binds us as one. With that in mind, we invited the International Sejong Soloists to the show. All of the musicians are renowned soloists and they come together tonight as one of the top chamber music groups in the world. And earlier, I had the privilege to join them in a performance of Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Cellos.


ZAHN: As Americans take this day to give thanks, we have a story that is a lesson in giving for everyone. Senior International correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports on a gift of life from an Israeli family to a Palestinian woman they've never even met.


SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In her hands, Aisha Khaidar holds a well-worn newspaper. Creased and folded, the headline reads "they died so others might live." Below there is a picture of one of her sons, a Palestinian from Jerusalem, kissing a Jewish widow from a West Bank settlement.

AISHA ABDUL KHAIDAR, PALESTINIAN (through translator): This is my life's story. I have to keep it.

MACVICAR: What binds together these two families -- one Muslim, one Jewish, begins in death. The Passover suicide bombing in Natania more than 18 months ago, 30 people died. Zehawa Vider's still bearing the scars of that bombing, buried her husband, her daughter, and another daughter's fiance. All these months later, their memories are everywhere.

ZEHAWA VIDER, ISRAELI: We are very sad. Always -- always there in your mind. I see my husband everywhere. I hear a song on the radio; this is a song that my husband loved. All his life, scratched like this, in a minute.

KHAIDAR (through translator): When I see his picture, I feel so sad. He was very young.

MACVICAR: When Zev (ph) Veder died, his family agreed to donate his organs. They had no say in who received them. Aisha dependent on dialysis got a kidney.

From her hospital bed, days after the transplant, Aisha said:

KHAIDAR (through translator): He's like my son, all my sons.

VIDER: Palestinian woman, Jew woman, it's the same for me.

MACVICAR: The families met once, that famous photograph, and although both wish to meet again, have not. Bound in the most intimate way, but divided still, by what they are.

VIDER: I cannot go to her place, and maybe she thinks she can't come to my place, I cannot go because of the danger.

KHAIDAR (through translator): They are Jewish and I'm an Arab woman wearing a headscarf. I can't just go like this and get inside a settlement.

MACVICAR: Two families who speak of the need for peace for all who see the gulf between their peoples, and who yearn for something different. That is a story of their land, they say, ties that bind, ties that divide.

Sheila MacVicar, CNN, Jerusalem.


ZAHN: Well, with the turkey in the oven and at the table, we're going to give you expert and timely advice on how to handle those difficult relatives over the holiday, and more music from the Sejong Soloists.



PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanksgiving is a time for families to reunite at the dinner table, but depending on who you're sitting next to, the occasion can be a blessing or a curse. So how do you survive an evening with an annoying or difficult relative?

Joining us from Los Angeles with some answers, psychologist Leonard Felder, who is the author of "When Difficult Relatives Happen To Good People". Happy Thanksgiving.

LEONARD FELDER, AUTHOR & PSYCHOLOGIST: Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

ZAHN: Well thank you. So how miserable are most Americans tonight?

FELDER: Well, I was surprised. I did research. I thought 30 or 40 percent of people might have difficult families, but it's much higher. Around 70 percent of people have very difficult families with one or two family members that tend to ruin it for everybody else.

ZAHN: And what do they do that's so annoying?

FELDER: Well they think they need to give comments about how to run your life and who you should marry, and you know what you should eat and what you should not eat, and what kind of job you should have and when you should ask for a raise. People think this is their one big chance to give you advice and try to fix your life and in fact it's the wrong time. People should be taken aside one on one in a respectful way to talk about what’s really going on in their lives, not in front of everybody at the dinner table.

ZAHN: And I know this is a very scientific study, but were you able to also figure out the position in the family? Is it an in-law that is the most frequent abuser of Thanksgiving etiquette?

FELDER: Yes, in each family there's different characters who are the difficult characters. A lot of times it is the in-laws. It's someone who comes in and says I didn't like you from the beginning and you don't know my kid as much as I know them, and people feel entitled to say to their relatives stuff that you would never say to a stranger. You'd never walk to a stranger and say you look horrible in that outfit or you know you really ought to lose weight. You don’t say that to a stranger and yet people feel a license to say that to their loved ones.

ZAHN: See I just don't know if I'd invite them back the next year if they were that abusive. But you have a list of tips that you are recommending that people follow if they have to live with the potential of inviting those folks back again the next year. Shorten the length of get-togethers. Look for a deeper sense of connection. Stay strong and self affirming. Change your definitions of success and failure. Decompress before and after each family event.

FELDER: Right. These are real crucial. Because if you take real good care of yourself, the next time you're around your family -- you know whether it's Christmas or Hanukah or Kwanzaa, a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah, a christening or you know whatever it is, you're going to have to deal with these people over and over again.

And in a sense, I ask people look at them as the sand in the oyster that's going to hopefully make you into a pearl. Somebody who you can learn how to have patience and persistence and set firm boundaries in a loving and assertive way, these are the people that make us feel small and trapped sometimes, but if you follow the advice that's in my book or in other people’s approaches, you can make progress. You can somehow have breakthroughs even with the most difficult people. Maybe they're not going to change their personality, but you can have some quality moments where you look at this person’s soul and say wow, this is a complicated person, a difficult person, but look at the progress I'm making in spending time with this person.

ZAHN: Yes, that's why I'm wondering where the whole sense of gratitude comes in. I must say I'm blessed with a family and I don't have to use a lot of these tips, but maybe this year it'll be different. Dinner still hasn't happened, but do you think there's a lot of pressure on us, an unfair expectation to be jubilant, to be buoyant?

FELDER: Yes. You're making a great point. If people look at the ads on TV sometimes, the ads look like everybody has got a great family except yours, and again my researched showed 70 percent of people have stressful holidays, so forgive yourself, forgive your family for being complicated and say OK, now these are people that are going to go through my journey of life with me. I've got to find a way to connect with them. I need some help and when you know that you need some help in dealing with your difficult relatives, that's a great first step. It's a step that says OK, I’m going to be positive. I'm going to find a way to do better next time.

ZAHN: I think you might be the most invited guest at dinner tables around the country next Thanksgiving.

Leonard Felder, thank you for your advice.

And think of the images that surround us on Thanksgiving day, pilgrims in black clothes and hats with buckles, giving thanks with a huge feast in November marking their first year in the new Plymouth Colony with turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Not all of it quite happened that way. Joining us to separate Thanksgiving from -- myth from reality is Kenneth Davis, author of the "Don't Know Much About" series of books including "Don't Know Much About The Pilgrims". Happy Thanksgiving.

KENNETH DAVIS, AUTHOR, "DON'T KNOW MUCH": Same to you. Glad to be here.

ZAHN: So, there are a lot of myths, aren't they...

DAVIS: It's like

ZAHN: Why have we gotten wrong?

DAVIS: It's like everything about American history. Most of what we remember, if we remember it at all, is wrong. It's that mythic version that comes from Hollywood and artists. And it has nothing to do with the real history, which is always more interesting than the myth.

ZAHN: And often darker.

DAVIS: Often darker, but you know, the buckled hats, the creation of an artist maybe 100 years later. Pilgrims wore black on Sabbath, but they would have been dressed normally in quite colorful clothes. They had reds and purples, and browns, so that -- they didn't look like the Amish, in other words.

ZAHN: And what did they eat?

DAVIS: Well for the first Thanksgiving, which they wouldn’t have called Thanksgiving. They first of all, would have called it a harvest festival and Thanksgiving would have actually been a day of fasting and prayer, how far away from what we think of Thanksgiving...

ZAHN: Yes. What about those 4,000 calories...

DAVIS: Well, there was no 4,000, so a real day of Thanksgiving for the pilgrims meant nothing to eat. It was quite at odds with what we think, but the first Thanksgiving that we think of, which happened in October, not November, and was a harvest festival was really a sort of colonial era surf and turf because there was a lot more seafood than we normally think of. They were on Plymouth right near the ocean, so there was cod and eel and clams and mussels, and along with a turkey, which was wild turkey, not what we think of, and not the wild turkey...

ZAHN: Right. Exactly...

DAVIS: ... that comes in the brown paper bag.


DAVIS: Exactly. Exactly. So a lot of it is at odds with reality and again, the myth is so less -- so much less interesting than the real history. These were people who spent 66 days on a boat coming over from England, faced incredible hardships, incredible difficulties, and then had this miserable first winter where half of them died. So when they got to October a year later, after they first arrived in what we think of as Massachusetts, they had a lot to be grateful for, including their Indian friends who showed up at the last minute.

ZAHN: Sure. I mean that's really what the essence of this holiday is supposed to be about.

DAVIS: Well it is and -- but there is the dark side, as you mentioned, and I mentioned that the Indian friends, 90 of them did show up at the last minute for that first Thanksgiving, which lasted three days, by the way. It wasn’t -- we think Thanksgiving hangs on too long.

ZAHN: Right.

DAVIS: They had it for three days. But 50 years later, they were at war with each other and that's the sad part of the history. And you know we have to come back to that all the time and talk about the real part of...

ZAHN: Right.

DAVIS: ... what these people were and who they were and what they did.

ZAHN: Well let's close with a real part tonight, which is a sense of gratitude.

DAVIS: Oh...

ZAHN: ... concentrate our blessings...

DAVIS: ... we should always be grateful. And Abraham Lincoln understood that, and that's why he made Thanksgiving -- he was the first president to make it a national holiday 140 years ago.

ZAHN: Every time I read a book in your series, I realize how much we all need to learn...

DAVIS: Well it's fun...


DAVIS: ... and that's the problem, that so many people think it's dull, it's dreary, it's boring, but history is fun and it's about real people. And when we treat it that way, it becomes a lot more interesting.

ZAHN: No matter what you say, I still see the vision of the buckled hats.


ZAHN: Sorry Mr. Davis. Ken Davis, happy Thanksgiving.

DAVIS: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thanks so much for joining us.

And we're going to have some joyful medical news on this feast day about eating big meals before bedtime and a look at some of the all time favorite Thanksgiving movies.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need some help.





ZAHN: Some families don't get around to having the Thanksgiving dinner until well into the evening, only to be done sometime near bedtime. And in general, a lot of us try to avoid eating late at night because we're afraid it will make us all gain weight, but some new research may change some minds and we're putting that in plain English tonight with David Letterman's doctor, and he's so trim, David, these days, Louis Arrone, who is an obesity specialist at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. Happy Thanksgiving.


ZAHN: So are you going to be pretty typical of everybody else out there, down the 4,000 calories in one meal?


ZAHN: That's basically what every American is doing right now...

ARRONE: They eat much too much. They eat much more than one day's worth of calories in just one meal. I don't do that.

ZAHN: Now you don't believe that it makes any difference whether you eat this close to your bedtime or not. A calorie is a calorie in your judgment?

ARRONE: Well some research shows that, but I don't really believe that. So I think that this research is a little bit flawed. I think that we need more research to see exactly what's going on in people.

ZAHN: Because what was so stunning about that research is it would make you believe that you could literally eat 15 minutes before you go to bed...


ZAHN: ... and have your doughnut that you might have normally earlier in the day, and it wouldn’t make any difference at all.

ARRONE: That's right and I think that the evidence, if you talk to people who actually practice out there, like I do, is that eating a lot of food late at night is probably not a good thing for most people.

ZAHN: As we talk about people just coming off their high from these huge meals we hope they’ve enjoyed today, let's talk about the reality of people going on diets in this country right now. Sixty percent of folks are cutting down on fat, 57 percent are reducing calories, 50 percent are controlling portions. If that's the case, why is the obesity rate so high?

ARRONE: It's high because there are other things going on that are making it very difficult for people to lose weight. It looks like preventing obesity is definitely the way to go, but once you gain weight, it's very difficult to go back. One of the problems is, is the portion sizes have gotten so big you may be cutting down by 50 percent, but you're still eating too much.

ZAHN: The fist size we have to keep in mind, right?

ARRONE: That's right, fist size...

ZAHN: Like this and this period -- I'm talking Thanksgiving through Christmas is when most Americans pack on a couple of pounds.

ARRONE: A lot of people gain weight. They don't gain four or five pounds. They just gain a pound or two, but if they don't lost that weight in January and they keep it on, they'll lose, they'll continue to gain year after year. So...

ZAHN: So 10 years down the road you're significantly heavier than you are tonight.

ARRONE: That's right. You've gained 10 pounds and then in 20 years you've gained 20 pounds.

ZAHN: You want to give us any little tricks before you head off here this evening?

ARRONE: I think the first thing you should do have soup, then have a salad, then have your vegetable. My patients all know this. Fill yourself up with healthy satisfying things. Then when it comes to the other stuff with more calories, you're full. You're a little bit more satisfied, you'll eat less.

ZAHN: So there's no room for the mashed potatoes and the squash with brown sugar on it and the pecan pie.

ARRONE: There's less room, so that you don't, it's not that you're not feeling deprived, but you don't have as much room for it.

ZAHN: Your life's focus is on this issue. How much in guilt do you induce in yourself when you're eating a meal?

ARRONE: Not that much because I just try to practice what I preach and it works. I think that these kinds of things can work if people do it a little bit at a time.

ZAHN: Well your message is important. It’s just kind of hard to remember it on...

ARRONE: On Thanksgiving, yes.

ZAHN: Dr. Arrone, thank you.

ARRONE: Thank you.

ZAHN: Best of luck to you.

And some more holiday music ahead from the internationally renown Sejong Soloists and we have tracked down some of the all-time great Thanksgiving movies.


ZAHN: Thanksgiving is a recurring theme in the movies. Just take a look at the current film, "Pieces of April" in which a young woman prepares for a Thanksgiving visit from her family. So we went in search of some all-time favorite Thanksgiving movies and we turn to “People” Magazine critic Leah Rozen for help. She joins us now. Happy Thanksgiving.

LEAH ROZEN, MOVIE CRITIC, “PEOPLE”: Thank you. Same to you.

ZAHN: Let's start off with your five all-time favorite Thanksgiving movies. "Pieces of April", "Hannah and Her Sisters," "Avalon," "What's Cooking," "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles". So Thanksgiving has really inspired some great films, hasn't it?

ROZEN: Well especially recently. There's sort of this whole spade of almost dysfunctional family Thanksgiving movies, because it's a time when you can get everyone together and then have problems you know get launched from the Thanksgiving table.

ZAHN: Let's start off with all the buzz surrounding "Pieces of April" and we have a short clip from that that we can all enjoy right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turkey, gravy, a Waldorf salad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, Waldorf salad, that sounds unusual.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's made with different kinds of fruits and nuts, and the dressing's pretty much mayonnaise, and then mashed potatoes, of course and cranberry sauce, which is easy. You just open the can.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like it from the can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody likes it from the can.


ZAHN: A lot of critics think Katie Holmes really delivers in this film, but will it become a classic?

ROZEN: I don't know (UNINTELLIGIBLE) classic, but certainly it's in theaters now and it's a terrific film to see with a Thanksgiving theme, because it's about you know family, what you serve, what hell it is to make the meal and whether it's worth it at the end when everyone’s around the table.

ZAHN: And Woody Allen kind of had a different take on it in "Hannah and Her Sisters", didn't he?

ROZEN: Yes, "Hanna and Her Sisters", he used the film as a way to get the family all together, the sort of family, this completely dysfunctional family, get them all together around the table. And one of the fun things in this movie is looking at the way they have set that table. They have got some great little centerpieces, and I think she has little, you know, sort of napkin holders (UNINTELLIGIBLE) made out of apples that look like turkeys they put on there.

ZAHN: Oh, that's not what you do at home, Leah?

ROZEN: You know, I tried, but they just didn't work.

ZAHN: And we have a great clip from the movie "Avalon", which I've always adored. Let's watch that briefly here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I'm saying is we had to get the turkey and we had to kill it to give thanks. If it wasn't this holiday, we wouldn't have turkey.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't eat turkey the rest of the year. Why do I have to eat it now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mom, don't give thanks, OK.


ZAHN: Pretty honest Thanksgiving together.

ROZEN: Well what it really shows, though, is Thanksgiving is the American holiday, no matter what your ethnic group, no matter what your color, this is the holiday we all celebrate, we all get together with family, whether we love them or hate them and eat turkey.

ZAHN: Fourth on the list, "What's Cooking".

ROZEN: "What's Cooking" is this terrific little movie by the same director who did the movie about soccer last year that everyone went to see. I'm sorry...

ZAHN: "Bend It Like Beckham".

ROZEN: Thank you. "Bend It Like Beckham".

ZAHN: I love that movie.

ROZEN: But this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) four different ethnic groups, a Jewish family, an African American family, a Vietnamese family, and they are all cooking their own sort of traditional Thanksgiving dinners and at the very end of the movie you realize what the connection is between these four disparate families (UNINTELLIGIBLE) movie.

ZAHN: "Planes, Trains and Automobiles".

ROZEN: It's a classic.

ZAHN: Leave it to Steve Martin to interpret Thanksgiving this way.

ROZEN: Yes, this is a classic. Steve Martin is an ad exec desperate to get home to his family. Movie opens two days before Thanksgiving. He's got to get back to Chicago from New York and every disaster befalls him, and indeed to get home, he has to take planes, trains, automobiles, wrecks the cars, buses all to try and get home, because Thanksgiving, you want to be home on Thanksgiving.

ZAHN: It was a funny movie. Was it a good movie?

ROZEN: It's not a great movie, but it's a funny movie and I think it's one you can show the kids.

ZAHN: And with all your recommendations, I don't think we're going to have time to shop.


ZAHN: Just going to watch movies. Thank you very much.

ROZEN: You're welcome. You know they have movie theaters in the malls.

ZAHN: No, I do know that. Leah Rozen, happy Thanksgiving. Thanks so much for joining us.


ZAHN: And as our Thanksgiving celebration continues, we're going to hear more music from the Sejong Soloists.



ZAHN: And thanks so much for sharing your Thanksgiving with us. Tomorrow, an hour-long program with the inspiring actor Christopher Reeve, who over this holiday has enormous gratitude for how far he has progressed. He still dreams about walking someday, and tomorrow night he will share his journey and extraordinary progress.

We leave you tonight with more music from the International Sejong Soloists who earlier invited me to join them. Have a great holiday.




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