I feel there are at the very least a handful of public service announcements that rank as being quite memorable. Some of them like the 1986 anti-drug TV advertisement where a pusher named Snake lives up to his name – transforming into a human-snake hybrid worthy of 1984’s Dreamscape. Or on the most definitely light side of things we had ABC’s Saturday morning offerings from the 70’s with Time for Timer where the jovial yellow-hued Timer did his best to help kids learn some easy and important lessons – like healthy snacks a child could put together or the brushing of teeth. This Peter Pumpkin PSA falls into the latter category as Peter Pumpkin while a spirit of Halloween has important safety tips for not just the children of the 70’s but words of caution that are just as important to the kids of today. This Peter Pumpkin public service announcement is also a prime example of how many pop culture treats remain to be discovered – I hadn’t seen this before today. In addition there is something special about these animated public service announcements from back in the day. I suppose in this case it might be the lightness – the jovial character of Peter Pumpkin is upbeat – fun!
I actually found this PSA while trying to track down a half-remembered TV commercial featuring some classic Universal Monster types – I have a one-track mind I suppose at this time of the year. Granted the first reason this Peter Pumpkin public service announcement caught my eye was I thought it was Michael Dougherty’s 1996 student film Season’s Greetings – the animated short that introduced the World to Sam before 2007’s Trick ‘r Treat. Although I think it is pretty evident that Peter Pumpkin comes from an entirely different pumpkin patch than Sam… lovable and terrifying as the latter might be.
By the way, this Peter Pumpkin PSA has presented itself as something of a mystery – I’m not kidding about this. You might notice from the video below it is listed as being from 1985. It turns out that back in 2011 though a forum user calling themselves Gobby Gruesome was asking for help finding this ad on the Halloween Forums. They totally recalled the appearance of Peter Pumpkin and what he was getting across to kids but not the exact year however – thankfully someone came across Robatsea2009’s upload on YouTube and set Gobby Gruesome’s mind to ease. This caused quite a few comments on the video itself and it looks like this ad probably debuted around 1978.
I might add that if the name Gobby Gruesome sounds familiar it is because of The Flintstones – the second day that an article of mine references both the Stone Age Family and the Gruesomes as well. Gobby is the child of none other than the Weirdly and Creepella Gruesome – those spooky neighbors of the Flintstones – who were a tip of the hat to The Addams Family.