Cold Turkey, writer-director Norman Lear’s (TV’s All in the Family) satirical comedy, stars Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins) as Reverend Clayton Brooks, a minister in the small town of Eagle Rock, Iowa who takes up the challenge presented by ad exec Merwin Wren (Bob Newhart, TV’s The Bob Newhart Show), a mouthpiece for Hiram C. Grayson (Edward Everett Horton, Top Hat; Brazil) of the Valiant Tobacco Company: any city or town in America that can give up smoking for 30 days will receive a $25 million dollar check. Based on the addictive nature of the nation, Valiant is positive that their publicity stunt won’t cost them a dime.
And so begins the comic tale of the residents of Eagle Rock and their struggle to butt out and grab the dough. The supporting cast of Cold Turkey is a veritable smorgasbord of comedic talent including Tom Poston (TV’s Newhart), Jean Stapleton (TV’s All in the Family), Pippa Scott (Auntie Mame), Vincent Gardenia (Moonstruck), Bob and Ray (Author! Author!), Barnard Hughes (Midnight Cowboy), Barbara Cason (TV’s Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman), Judith Lowry (The Trouble with Angels), M. Emmet Walsh (What’s Up, Doc?) and Paul Benedict (TV’s The Jeffersons).