PSA’s That Taught Me Nothing


About a month ago my buddy Matt over at X-Entertainment wrote a great post about an old 80’s PSA add that warned kids of the hazards that drinking and driving poses. Of course to the little kids that we were when that particular add came out, the lesson was missed all together. Instead we were taunted not by the message but by the shock value that was burned into our brains. So now that I think back, there are a few PSA’s from my childhood that really taught me nothing more than a catchy tunes or sleepless nights thinking of evil puppets.

Ah shit, the old CBS intro. You know, the computer bleeps at the beginning? When I was searching for Woodsy the Owl adds I found this gem and that little tune brought me right back to the time when using the toilet was an option. I can not say I was a fan of Woodsy but I will say I met the owl in real life. I was a Tiger Scout and some poor bastard in an owl costume had to spend an afternoon at camp with us. I can still hear his muffled voice say, “give a hoot, don’t pollute!” Then he had to take his head off to keep from having heatstroke. Nothing like a giant dose of reality to 30 six year olds.

I was always confused why rolled up socks were singing to me. Then I payed closer attention only to realize that these were not socks at all but pills. That cleared a lot of questions up for me like, “why would people confuse socks with candy” and “Why would you call poison control if you eat a sock? You should call a shrink.”. To this day I still can’t believe Busta Rhymes stole this song for “Dangerous”. Now that is funny.

Should I touch this one? Oh I have to. First off the puppets are pretty scary and really belong at Six Flags, “Monster Plantation”. Second, if I ever have kids I don’t want them singing this. Maybe it’s the fact that I watch too much “To Catch A Predator” and I believe everyone is inherently evil and out to get children. Whatever the case, I have to believe the writers for this song are out of touch with the perverts of society. Or are they? Now I have the creeps.

Vince and Larry, the Crash Test Dummies never drove home the message that wearing your safety belt in a car would keep me from dying. No, I was too perplexed by the fact Larry had the same voice as Garfield. It really bugged me for some strange reason. I think Peter Venkman on The Real Ghostbusters also shared Garfield’s voice. I have issues.

I guess this as good of time as any to tip my hat to the voice of Garfield, Lorenzo Music. I was really upset when he passed in 2001 because his voice was one of the greats. Recognized by millions, he could read an obituary and somehow make you feel good about it. Wish he was still here but luckily for us he is immortalized by a fat cat that is 30 years old.

This commercial used to turn me on my fucking ear! I felt pretty bad for this kid when and I didn’t know why he took it the way he did. I used to put myself in his position and think, “If I was him I would ask her to dance and if she said no I would say, I’m sorry, you misunderstood me. I said you look fat in those pants.” Yeah. Then I would stare off into space smiling about how quick witted I was in an adolescent daydream.

14 thoughts on “PSA’s That Taught Me Nothing

  1. I hope they got some money from Busta Rhymes use of the “This is serious, we could make you delirious, you should have a healthy fear of us.” Rap lets me down sometimes. It’s not as tough as one would think.

  2. I can’t say how much I love that Tummi/Venkman/Garfield picture. Too cute.

    Today’s PSA’s are so not cool compared to these old school ones. Though I admit I do get a giggle out of the one where the teen boy starts knitting himself into a weed cocoon, only to emerge as a middle aged guy with moobs. The true cost of casual drug use: man breasts! What could be worse?

  3. I love that Owl. He was my introduction into the Antropormorphic world ,a dn is perhaps one of the Main Reasons I love owls.

  4. Man, as always you’ve done a great job of bringing back some good memories. I really dig that Lorenzo Music tribute drawing. Good job on that. I kind of want to steal that now. Yeah, and what’s up with Busta Rhymes stealing that song??? Dude! Write your own shit already!

    I thought it was hilarious that the message in that last one was to keep trying, and then you find out that it’s for the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints. For some reason my interpretation was that it was drawing some kind of comparison to a kid trying to get some tail and Jesus. Are they trying to say that Jesus himself would have just kept asking girls to dance until he got some action? Somehow I don’t think it would have been that hard for him in the first place.

  5. Bean is great 😀 Yesterday was his birthday, actually. Three years old!

    I’ve been lurking over here for a little while…you really have a great way with words, Bill.

    ps I love To Catch a Predator. My hypothetical children are never getting near the internet.

  6. Do you remember the Webster PSA’a about sexual abuse? I think he might have been walking through big letters, but maybe that was a Bobby Brown video.

  7. Ahhh PSA’s what a time capsule of our time. They look so dated and goofy.
    psa #1 I honestly don’t remember this one I think I remember a cartoon one. But I definitely remember once in the late 80’s we went to a camp site and we got one of those plastic tote bags with stuff in it that were Woodsy the Owl “give a hoot don’t pollute” themed. It included a piece of paper that you were supposed to color with wilderness drawings on it, a brochure, a thin plastic ruler, a pencil, and probably other stuff but I don’t quite remember everything about it.

    psa #2 I don’t remember this particular psa but I have a feeling I have seen it before. Anyway it reminds me of my teacher that I had in kindergarten and 4th grade she had a wood box frame with glass on it that had pills next to candy to compare how simliar they looked w/ labels underneath them to tell you what was what. It was great, she had it in the front of the room in the little metal strip acrossed the bottom of the chalkboard. One of them I remember was white good n plenty next to tylenol, and red skittles next to advil. Even though I don’t think they said M&M they said candy coated chocolate candies and generic names like that. Every teacher needs one of those!! It was so cool.

    psa #3 I didn’t watch this psa until about a year and a half ago on youtube. I think the song is catchy even though the puppets are cute/disturbing. I like how the narrator and the lion (why is there a lion in this psa?) say “mummy” instead of mom or mommy. It’s cute how they say it. I know it’s from canada I just don’t hear mummy that often. Psssffffttt.

    psa #4 No other psa had a Saturday morning cartoon, toy line, and SNES (and probably nes too) video game. I remember my best friend’s younger brother at the time had a crash test dummies car. It was a wacky taxi cab type of plastic car. You would run it into the wall and it had all of these cracks in it that would split so it looked like it crashed it would just squash down. I remember the front bumper had one of those cracks in it and would break in two. I think he had a crash test dummy that would have the arms and legs fall off. But I vividly remember that car I think he got it for his birthday.

    psa #5 Never seen this one, in the mid to late 90’s late saturday morning they would show two 30 min psa type of programs on a local channel before they would show a movie. I watched them for about a year or two (they stopped showing them) and that is what this one reminded me of. They were like after school specials, I liked how overly dramatic they were. One was a group of kids drinking at prom and then driving drunk and getting in a car accident. Another one was an acted intervention. I remember the girlfriend of the alcoholic boyfriend whispering “you can’t even satisfy me anymore, you can’t get it you know up?” Or something along those lines and flashing to a scene where he has whiskey dick and she is saying it’s ok I’ll just go without…again…

    Anyway see you around Will 🙂

  8. squee4242, Hi, uh, I’ve got these chat logs here. Do you want to explain yourself? Exactly what were your intentions tonight?

    Allison, I totally remember that, and I think it was Bobby Brown. I could be wrong though. But even if I am, that’s my perogative.

  9. So…I guess we all have to dance with Mormons eventually. (I don’t mean to offend anyone…I have some close Mormon friends — which proves the ad is quite true.)

    I kind of liked watching those crash test dummies. And I never knew Busta Rhymes was quoting a bunch of sock-like mind-altering pills.

    I’ve seen you comment on kristiane’s and essaytch’s blog and I’ve visited a couple times. But the posts that essaytch linked to recently got me hooked (your experiences with special olympic karma, grocery store aisles, and velcro pants).

    You are now in my rss reader and have your very own spot on the side of my blog.

Speak to me, Egor.

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