Vintage Scares #1: Public Service Announcements from Hell

Here's two commercials, both public service announcements, that scared countless innocent children of the seventies.

"Sensible children? I have no power over them!" whispers the Grim Reaper. One wonders how many poor kids literally died of fright after watching this PSA called "Dark and Lonely Water".

This Hanna Barbera anti-drug PSA actually makes me want to drop acid. The groovy music, the rainbows, the undead behind the door...

Can you imagine some poor kid in his footy pajamas watching The New Zoo Revue suddenly being confronted with this psychedelic horror-show?

I don't personally have a recollection of this PSA from childhood. Although, considering its horrifying nature, I may have repressed it. It was brought to my attention a while back at The Lazy World of Arthur Ignatowski (the sort of place you're likely to find long forgotten gems like this).

If dark and disturbing public service announcements are your cup of tea, I recommend you visit Scare 'Em Straight on TV Tropes Wiki, where these disturbing Saturday Morning PSA's and those blood-soaked gorefests called Driver's Ed films are explored in detail.


  1. I don't remember ever seeing these. Wow! Yeah, that does seem like it would creep me out when I was a kid.

  2. I remember the 'Dark and Lonely Water' one very clearly - we had a lot of PSA's like that over here back then. Most TV that wasn't animated used to freak me out - a right little pansy, I was! Even then, there were exceptions -here's an example of my super scaredy catness: I had an irrational fear of the Humphrey's, even when I wasn't drinking milk.
    You can't have seen it over there so here's an example:

    I'm over it now.

  3. Me thinks me hears the tones of Donald Pleasence in the Dark and Lonely Water psa. And speaking of PSA's, I think that has to be my favorite of all time. And, I've just seen it for the first time 20 seconds ago. Absolute brilliance. I will make my students (who are doing psa's at the moment - check that one out. It is damned creepy - LOVE IT! Thanks Gil and Arthur!

  4. Keith- Yeah, and it creeps me out as adult as well.

    Arthur- Wow. I just watched your Humphrey commercial. "Watch out! Watch out! Watch out! There's a Humphery about!" Perhaps not as dark and sinister as the drowning PSA, but I can see how it could lead to pre-school night terrors.

    Chick- Your class sounds very interesting.... much more so than population genetics (damn you guidance counselor!)

  5. Forget the drugs.....your neighbors' unfinished swimming pool is closer and quicker at killing you! LOL!