When E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial hit theaters, it was a big deal. E.T. was everywhere after that. He did commercial for lots of products, including a very memorable Atari commercial. One that I always remembered was this ET Special Olympics PSA.
In it, E.T. is simply watching a child work hard on mastering the high jump. Even though the kid fails time and again, E.T. patiently watches. E.T. even pays the kid a visit to let the kid know that he believes in him. Eventually through hard work and perseverance, the kid manages to make the jump. When he does it, his parents are their to praise him, but this kid knows who really cares about him, E.T.
When I first saw this ad back in the 1980s, I was naturally attracted to it because of E.T. At some point something occurred to me that made it extra fun in my book. E.T. can make things fly. He did it with the bikes. Why didn’t he do it with this kid? Yes, I know why. He wants the kid to win by his own means. Still, this PSA would have been much more memorable if this kid suddenly started glowing and leapt twenty feet into the air. Sure, not as lesson oriented, but a hundred times more memorable.
You know, most people would say that Bugs Bunny was a pretty smart rabbit. Even though his quasi original appearance and some characteristics can be found in 1938’s Porky’s Hare Hunt. It was a more zany as well as madcap rabbit on display – acting almost like Daffy Duck.
It wasn’t however until the 1940 theatrical short entitled A Wild Hare that Bugs Bunny really made the scene. Even then he wasn’t know as Bugs, but he was still voiced by the legendary Mel Blanc, although he initially wasn’t credited.
So began Bugs Bunny’s meteoric rise to stardom. Over the past 77 years our favorite wisecracking hare has certainly changed. For example the character evolved into a role as sort of the straight man. Case in point when he was teamed up with Daffy Duck in 1956’s A Star is Bored!
Being a beloved icon for so many children and as well as their parents. It was of course only natural that Bugs Bunny be tapped as a spokesman for this public service announcement for the Shriners Hospital. In this 1982 PSA he warns children in addition to adults about ways to make the kitchen safer.
That is most certainly a fantastic looking kitchen.
While there are in fact a few bits that could be considered scary images as you see, none of them cross the line into truly frightening. The boiling pot I will have to admit does creep me out a little though.
The advice from 1982 is just as important today so take a minute and listen to Bugs Bunny!
Bugs Bunny wasn’t the only Looney Tunes character to help out with PSA ads. Check out this 1990 version featuring Tweety Bird!
If a Superman Anti-Smoking PSA couldn’t convince you to not try smoking as a kid, I am not sure what could. These ads are not familiar to me. I never saw them when I was growing, but I believe they were created in the UK. At least that is what I would guess from the accents. One things for sure, these kids aren’t from New Jersey. I, like many people, discovered them when they started being posted on the internet.
According to online sources, the Superman Anti-Smoking PSAs were created specifically for the Health Education Council and their anti-smoking campaign. They were animated by Eric Goldberg for the Richard Williams Studio. Goldberg is an American animator who has worked for both Warner Bros and Disney. At Disney he worked on Aladdin, Hercules, Pocahontas and much more.
Superman would appear with the villainous Nick O’Teen in multiple print and broadcast PSAs. The print ads included a form you could send in to get more info about not smoking. The print ads are okay, but these animated PSAs really shine. You can find out more about the Superman Anti-Smoking Print Ads which were written about right here on the site by Hayden Yale.
What makes them great? Well, the animation is solid and Nick O’Teen is a surprisingly creepy villain. The voice acting on Superman leaves something to be desired. At times he almost sounds Russian and all the time he sounds like someone trying to do an American accent. For some reason, hearing this faux accent on Superman makes me very happy.
My favorite PSA is the first one you will see in the video below. It is very much like all the PSAs, but has some nice touches that make it great. For one, Superman appears to kill Nick O’Teen. He picks him up and I assume like so many problems he has to face, simply throws it into the Sun. A solution to problems I wish I had access to.
Then Superman discusses how he knows cigarettes are bad for people. He is using his X-ray vision to look inside of us. While doing so he sees our cancer ravaged lungs and is disturbed.
This makes me wonder about something I am sure many Superman fans have wondered about. How often does he use his X-ray vision? More importantly what is the effect of using this vision on the poor people he has sworn to protect?
I was never much a of a reader of the Superman comic, but I would guess that Superman’s X-ray vision is only X-ray in name alone. Something people understand just by name. The power itself, which really couldn’t work the way X-rays work since it requires film and stuff, is something a lot more complicated.
Still, I do love that he mentions the power and that Superman is always watching us. Not just on the outside, but the inside as well.
Watch this wonderful collection of Superman Anti-Smoking PSAs
This Peter Pumpkin PSA is a great example of how many retro treats remain to be discovered. I stumbled upon this late 70s TV commercial thanks to attempting to find a monster related ad. There is something special about these animated public service announcements from back in the day.
I suppose it might be the lightness – the jovial character of Peter Pumpkin even. While getting across very important safety tips for even kids today it remains upbeat. Fun.
You certainly have no need to take my word for it. Set aside the mere 30 seconds it takes to watch it for yourself!
This PSA featuring Peter Pumpkin was something of a mystery.
I am being totally honest. You might have noticed from the video it is listed as being from 1985. Back in 2011 though a forum user calling themselves Gobby Gruesome was asking for help finding the ad on the Halloween Forums. They totally recalled the appearance of Peter Pumpkin and what he was getting across to kids but not the exact year.
Thankfully someone came across Robatsea2009’s upload on YouTube and set Gobby Gruesome’s mind to ease. This caused quite a few comments on the video itself and it looks like this ad probably debuted around 1978. For myself this is actually the first time I’ve ever seen this PSA, although I certainly remember a 1977 ad that stood out. I still swear that the narrator for that PSA is Carrie Fisher!
I might add that if the name Gobby Gruesome sounds familiar it is because of the Flintstones. Gobby is the child of none other than the Gruesomes – those spooky neighbors of the famous animated family. Why not take a couple of minutes to see how Gobby’s pet spider gets along with Fred Flintstone?
The very first Earth Day was in 1970. On the first Earth Day a famous comic strip character named Pogo helped to call attention to Earth Day with this famous poster that was done by Walt Kelly.
Pogo was the main character of a daily comic strip created by Walt Kelly. For many years, Walt Kelly wrote and drew a daily comic strip about animals that lived in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. Pogo the Possum was one of the main characters in the strip. Walt Kelly used his characters as a means to show political satire.
The poster has the quote, “We have met the enemy and he is us,” by Pogo. Underneath the trees, the ground is filled with trash that only people could have left behind. This is the reason that he says, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
Pogo has a stick and bag and is starting to pick up the trash that is all around him. Just as Pogo is working to fix the damage done by others and make the Earth a better place, we can follow his example and do the same.
I recently visited the Okefenokee Swamp. My husband and I took a 90 minute boat ride into the swamp. There were many cypress trees. None were over about 90 years old due to logging in the swamp before it became a National Wildlife Refuge. We saw and got to handle some of the peat that makes up the bottom and peat islands of the swamp. Peat is formed when the vegetation falls into the water and due to the acidic composition of the water it does not decay very rapidly at all, so it becomes peat. It is very spongy. The is why the native Americans called it the Land of the Trembling Earth. There was a lot of Spanish Moss hanging in the trees. In the swamp were a few islands of land where people could live. There are over 20,000 alligators and over 600 black bear in the swamp.
In the late 1800’s, a person bought up the Swamp and wanted to drain it and make farm land. He formed the Suwannee Canal Company and started digging a huge canal that would link into the St. Mary’s River and the Suwannee River. He went bankrupt and the canal was never completed. That canal is used today by the tour boat I was riding to show visitors the swamp. After the bank foreclosed on the land, it was sold to the Hebard Cypress Company, a timber company who harvested most all of the several hundred year old huge several foot diameter cypress trees. That is why on the boat tour, you only see trees that are less that a foot in diameter. The alligators would hiss at the boat if it got too close, but did not try to attack the boat. The tour guide said the alligators will hiss and eventually run away because people do not feed them. If people feed them, the alligators become very aggressive. I saw very aggressive alligators when I toured the Louisiana Bayou.
We walked down a man made boardwalk that was about a foot off of the surface of the swamp. The boardwalk went three quarters of a mile into the swamp. Looking down from the boardwalk, we were able to see many snakes, and a few turtles. We saw a water moccasin right beside the boardwalk. There was a 4 story fire tower at the end of the boardwalk. The view from it was amazing. I was able to look over the wetlands and see several water birds in the distance.
I am glad that I was able to visit the swamp and see all of the wildlife and vegetation of this unique ecosystem. I saw many alligators, water birds, and snakes, even though I did not see an opossum like Pogo the Possum.
In 1971, Walt Kelly did a famous Earth Day comic strip that featured Pogo.