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80s Time For Timer!

by Mackenzie

Public service announcements (PSAs) are a type of advertising that have a special purpose and target audience. The purpose is to educate the public about a particular issue, product or company. The target audience is typically people who have not been exposed to the PSA and may need to learn more about it or understand it in order to see if they agree with the message it delivers. Public service announcements are used by governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, religious groups and charitable organizations as well as by media outlets like television stations and newspapers. They can be made for free or for pay depending on their content.

In the 80’s, Time for Timer was the most popular PSA of the era. Time for Timer was a group of educational shorts that were aired during the Saturday morning PSA blocks of ABC from 1973 to 1998. There are roughly two billion children in the country, and health-minded network execs decided to teach some useful lessons on those precious Saturday mornings. Beginning in the early 70s, these PSAs were sneaked into morning shows during the commercial breaks. These PSAs are catchy and have cute characters.

The Character

Timer was a yellow blob who had long arms and legs and wore a big hat (or sometimes a big bow-tie and big cowboy hat) to help people stay on schedule. Time for Timer was a bizarre dude. It was a little weird to think that Timer controlled when someone wanted to eat or sleep or whatever. Timer looked like a big yellow ball with a huge nose and a long hat, and he carried around a large stopwatch to help people time things properly.

The Concept

Timer was said to represent the biological clock that controlled when it was appropriate for us to eat and sleep. Timer was an animated character who helped kids with things like eating healthy and taking care of themselves. He also used clever songs and animated animation.

The Work

Time for Timer was a series of short animated documentaries that were produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. Timer was voiced by actor Lennie Weinrib. Timer produced the short story “Hanker for a Hunk of Cheese”. This is probably his best-known work. The song goes like this:

When my get-up-and-go has got up and went,

I hanker for a hunk o’ cheese!

When I’m dancin’ a hoedown and my boots kinda slow down,

Or anytime I’m weak in the knees,

I hanker for a hunk of,

A slab or slice or chunk of,

A snack a day’s a winner

And yet won’t spoil my dinner!

I hanker for a hunk o’ cheese!

Other songs of Time the Timer include “The Only You You’ve Got” where Timer reminds us of the importance of dental health. Timer shows how to brush and floss. There is also “Sunshine on a Stick” where Timer taught the process of making popsicles with an ice tray, juice, and toothpicks. Don’t forget “You are What You Eat” which portrays the effects of what we eat.

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