Truly Terrifying PSAs

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Truth be told, I don't remember a lot of PSAs that were being shown when I was a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s. The only one that still sticks in my mind after all these years was a funny skit with Bowser from Sha Na Na. There was Bowser, ironing his shirt, when some of the other guys from SNN started ragging on him about doing women's work. "Hey!" Bowser exclaimed and then started singing, "If a guy can do it, a girl can, too! You can do anything you want to do!"

So needless to say it was a bit of a shocker to peruse preserved PSAs on YouTube that were aimed at children back in the day. The themes revolve around poisoning, drowning, and overdosing - talk about heavy handed themes for the elementary school set. For example...

I'm sure many of us remember the "Mr. Yuk" campaign. Mr. Yuk was on a sticker that was meant to be placed on household cleaning items and anything else that would be dangerous if ingested. Little did I know that he also had his own disturbing PSA. It's kind of funny that at the beginning, we're reminded of *everything* that could be considered dangerous to children in a home - knives, matches, scissors, etc. And if that doesn't make you curl up in a fetal position while crying for you mommy, did they really need to holler "Sick!" six times during this commercial while showing a little boy or girl doubled over in abdominal pain?

This next one plays just like a horror movie...the murky water, the Grim Reaper with his menacing voiceover that could give Vincent Price the shivers, the child hanging on for dear life from a branch...I get that this was a warning for children to be safe around water, but what parents would let their kids go play around these dumps chosen for the PSA? Does this mean that prettier bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, and rivers are OK?

It's serious....taking these pills could make you delirious...delirious with laughter! My dear readers, if you're ever at a point where your medication starts talking to you, I think this PSA is a moot point by then.

Lastly, we have a warning to stay away from Pee Wee's Crackhouse. This PSA may have been taken more seriously had Paul Reubens not been arrested for indecent exposure and in more recent years, possession of child porn. Remember kids, smoking crack can stop your heart but kiddie porn is A-OK!

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!


  1. The one I most remember from the 1970s was the one about VD, it had a jingle that sounded like it was right out of a broadway show.

    " for everybody..."

  2. I remember Mr. Yuk for sure! I do remember seeing something really scary about drugs but I can't remember where or what... I have blocked it out. Oh Pee Wee, what happened?

    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

  3. These are great! No wonder our generation is so screwed up. They loved scaring the crap out of us as kids, didn't they? We are all scarred for life!!! LOL!

  4. I definitely remember the pill one but not the others. The drowning one was very creepy.

  5. I remember PSA's like these. That's why mom could leave us at home at five and six years old. We were SCARED to step outta line!!!

  6. oh yeah I grew up on Sha na na, never quite got into them though

  7. I REMEMBER the Bowser Sha-na-na PSA. I was only about 4-6 years old when it aired regularly, but I will never forget it. Sometimes I think I am crazy because NOBODY, not even people my age or older, seem to remember it. Would love to see it again on youtube.


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