Ah, PSA’s! I talked a bit about this awhile back but decided to elaborate a bit today. There was something special about the PSA’s we had when I was growing up. They were corny, sure, but they were entertaining and memorable. I am not sure what they have today, but I feel safe in saying they just don’t make them like this anymore.


There are lots I could mention from Woodsy Owl (Give a hoot,don’t pollute!), to McGruff the crime dog (ah, take a bite out of crime), Smokey Bear (only you can prevent forest fires!) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The crash test dummies, and even a crying indian!  Good times. I won’t get into the drug PSA’s(like the one with R2D2 smoking!!) because Nostalgia Critic covered those very well many moons ago. Instead I wanted to talk about the PSA’s which aired onSaturday mornings in between cartoons. Remember when getting up on Saturday morning was a big deal? I loved to get up and watch the awesome cartoons. Part of the fun were the cool PSA’s that we got. Here are my five favorites.


#5.Cartoon All-Star’s to the Rescue

Ok maybe this doesn’t count because this wasn’t an ad so much as a half hour special which aired on all networks one Saturday morning,but let’s be honest it’s one big drug PSA. It also featured several charactersfrom various cartoons that were on at the time like Garfield, Muppet Babies,and so on. Now you would have thought something like that would be awesome! It may have been to if it had been written better. How do you take such a cool idea and ruin it? It was still cool to see all those characters together but itwould have been even better if they had done something with them! Of course many say the message was weak because marihjuana is not that bad for you. Yeah,I am not going near that one. Worth a watch and one of Nostalgia Critic’s first videos was on this and it’s a really good one.


#4.Time for Timer


I am betting this is the one many people have never heardof. Though Family Guy did do a parody of it. This one is hard to explain but let’s give it a shot. Timer was a cartoon character who looked like a matzo ball. He basically promoted stuff like healthy eating habits and personal hygiene.I remember one where was inside the human body talking about how food isprocessed for energy. One was set in a western setting and he sung about cheese as a good snack (this was a long time ago!). Another he sung about a healthy snack called sunshine on a stick. It’s orange juice frozen inan ice cube tray. You put sticks in the juice, and voila you got homemad eorange popsicles! And yes, I tried this.


#3.Knowing is Half the Battle! from G.I. Joe


Yes I know this cartoon was on weekdays but I am including it!! Back in the 80’s all cartoons had to have something educational in them.So many shows would have PSA’s at the end of every episode. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe did this but the moral was often corny and silly. G.I.Joe however, now these were cool! Maybe it was because G.I.Joe is set inthe real world so they could cover real dangers, or maybe it was because they didn’t force the moral to be tied to the story, but I still remember a few of these to this day. The format was simple, a couple kids would get into a situation and a member of G.I.Joe would pop up and give some sound advice. I loved G.I. Joe and the PSA’s were a great end of each episode. These are sopopular that they still get made fun of. Is it lame that hearing the tag line on these still makes me smile? Now you Know!


#2. Schoolhouse Rock


Why oh why can’t they have stuff like this on today? Is there anyone who has never heard of this, unlikely since these ran well into the 90’s? Conjunction Junction, I am just a Bill, The Great American Melting Pot, Electricity!….I love these! Basically these were shorts about English, Math,and various other subjects with very creative songs that you can’t get out of your head no matter how hard you try! My favorite is the adjective song, the cartoon has a girl camping and she sings about how she was “Unpacking her Adjectives”.  Ok the animation was never much but the songs were cool and the educational stuff was top notch. It’s not always easy to make educational content memorable and enjoyable, but this show does it very well! Unlike the rest of these all of these have all been collected on DVD.


#1 One To Grow On


I loved these!! Can I state that emphatically enough? It just wasn’t Saturday morning without these awesome PSA’s. Basically the concept was we would see a situation involving kids, for example complaining about having homework, and suddenly the scene would zoom out to a celebrity explaining whatever the moral was. After the celebrity explained the mistake the kid was making the scene would zoom back in and we’d get the proper resolution to the problem. Not only were these fun and educational,they were a who’s who of who was on NBC at that time! Name a star on NBC in the 80’s, from Michael J.Fox to Soleil Moon Frye, and they did at least one ofthese. Even Mr.T! Sure not all of them were perfect, they could be corny and not well acted, but man these bring back some great memories. If you never heard ofthem, or just feel like reliving some fun memories, I shared some YouTube links but there are plenty more to check out!


PSA’s are still around today of course, including CBS Cares and the never dying NBC classic, The More You Know……. which has been around for ages (since 1989!) and was even parodied in an episode of Scrubs. At this point virtually anyone who was party of NBC in the last almost 25 years has done one. The piano tune with the star logo has become as popular as the aforementioned G.I.Joe slogan.


Is it just me, or would anyone else kill for a DVD collection of all of these?

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