January 3, 2015 posted by

Public Service – To Make You Nervous


Some public service spots are about nice things like dental hygiene, good nutrition, and developing social manners… and still others are about things that can kill or maim you. Since injury, mutilation and death make better television, we shall concentrate on the latter.

Traffic Safety

From the National Film Board of Canada comes these two amusing spots animated by Kaj Pindal.


From ERA Productions. Voiceover by Paul Frees.

School Safety

Animatic spot whereby Casper the ghost tells you how to… stay alive? Art by Warren Kremer.

Two Breaths To….

Safety film about oxygen made by Hanna-Barbera. Directed by Geoerge Gordon. Voices by Casey Kasem and Herb Vigran.


Another Yogi Bear PSA, this one is from the early nineties. Storyboarded and layed out by Scott Shaw and directed and animated by me. We did the voice recording at H&B, but the animation was done over at Playhoue Pictiures with Gerry Woolery producing. Don Messick reprised his role as Boo Boo. Sadly Daws Butler was gone by then, and the name of the gentleman who did Yogi’s voice here has faded from my memory. This spot was extremely inexpensive (like most PSA’s) and it was shot on 35mm film at a time when the business was switching over to computer paint.

Here’s a master background of Jellystone Park, painted by me from Scott’s layout (click to enlarge). I ended up painting the backgrounds a second time as the result of a client change, so this isn’t the exact one that is in the film.



  • Thanks for the Smokey PSA from ERA. The background designs are great.
    The most interesting project ERA took on was a live action/animation pilot in 1960 for a half-hour show starring Soupy Sales, interacting with cartoon characters. ABC put up the financing but I don’t know anything else about it.

  • The H-B Oxygen PSA was animated by Jack White, arguably best known for his “Toyota of Orange” and “Little Folks Shop” TV commercials which ran in the L.A. market during the early 1980s.

  • Kaj Pindal is great. One of the best from NFB.

  • I was impressed with Yogi’s voice in the PSA message. He really did the voice exactly like Daws would have done it. All too often, it is difficult to find someone to replace a voice, like Arthur Q. Bryan is a perfect example of a voice so difficult to replace. Great spots, though.

  • That Casper one is so low budget, Clutch Cargo is downright Disney’esque!

  • Was it Greg Burson who did the Yogi imitation? He was a most accomplished voice matcher, but a sadly damaged person whose booze problems led to his early passing. A tragic waste of fine talent. He also did a couple of WB characters that were the closest my experienced ears ever heard.

    • I could remember the face but not the name, but I believe you are right by George. Thanks!

    • Here’s a link to a Greg Burson bio, photo included:

  • As far as I’m concerned, Daws Butler was the only one of the great cartoon voices who could give a character real subtlety when required. Mel Blanc was great at the aggressive, smartass types Warner cartoons demanded, but he was too “Borscht Belt” to play a straight or semi-dramatic scene without sounding phony; and Paul Frees (like Harry Shearer today) often seemed more concerned with playing his voice like an instrument than giving a performance.

    I should say that, though he didn’t often have a chance to prove it, Don Messick could probably match Butler for “shading” his performances. I always liked his “real” voice, heard as “Mr. Ranger” or “Dr. Quest;” he and Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. as “David Seville” were, I think, so underrated.

  • Makes perfect sense. Who else would make a better spokesperson about being safe around school buses than a bodiless entity who likely learned his lesson too late?

    Btw, always great to see all the work you and Scott did for H-B, Mike. They obviously kept you extra busy in the Marketing Dept. making all those Pebbles cereal commercials throughout the 90’s. And I have to say your animation style seems comparative to another former H-B employee and one of the Golden Age of Animations best artists, Don Paterson (despite the fact that his true talent was diminished by the time-restricted limited animation that H-B became synonymous for.)

  • Aside from this PSA shown above, Era Productions also produced this 5 minute piece called “Smokey Bear and The Little Boy”, using the same boy character with Smokey.

  • Those NFB spots don’t look soley Kaj Pindal to me. The cat and dog one looks like it has his influence, the one with the evolution from the pram to the car reminds me of Gerry Potterton’s work. I could be totally wrong. One may have animated; another NFBer may’ve directed?

    • Sorry, I may be be thinking of Jeff Hale, not Potterton, especially for the latter spot.

    • Do you recall who might’ve done this Gerard?

    • I am not sure, Chris. He may have had something to do with it. He’s always my go-to answer when I think the NFB animation is great. But I am sure that “Dynamite” PSA gag was earlier than the 70s. I remember seeing it, usually on CBC, when I was little.

      Pindal’s adult children are animators AFAIK. They (and Kaj himself) would be the best ones to chime in on the internet to verify. 🙂

    • The voice over is Canadian broadcaster Pat Burns, The Larry King Of Canada. He also voiced King size. I believe he smoked.

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