Friends, I have shared with you in the past some memorable PSA ads on this site – while all are naturally educational, most have proven whimsical… except for the 1973 The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water short film. That in fact continues to be a terrifying and memorable PSA courtesy of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents in the United Kingdom. Earlier today as these things often pan out – I was looking for an animated short from the late ’70s when I came across a Binkley and Doinkel PSA on the dangers of household poisons.
I suppose that poison symbol at the end of this particular Binkley and Doinkel public service announcement is pretty creepy when you get down to it. Thanks to a 2013 article written by Ed Conroy for the blogTO site – which appears to be a blog for the city of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. From that blog I found out that Binkley and Doinkel all came about due to the Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Affairs tasking the Vickers and Benson advertising agency with coming up with an idea that could teach children about dangers of poisons, fire, acids, and even the dangers of possible explosive objects like aerosol cans. So that is how Vickers and Benson came up with two visitors from outer space – Binkley and Doinkel, who like very young children watching these PSA’s had to be taught about such dangers.
It was puppeteer Noreen Young who was tasked with creating the puppets of Binkley and Doinkel – in addition she ended up training fellow puppeteers as originally this PSA took the form of a traveling roadshow entitled The Binkley and Doinkel Safety Show. This puppet show was incredibly popular which led to the National Film Board of Canada to actually make a 16mm film of one of the shows – transferring that to tape so that schools in Canada could readily show it to students.
It was around 1978 that a second set of PSA’s featuring Binkley and Doinkel were made and ran into the ’80s – although this version was different than the The Binkley and Doinkel Safety Show. Thanks to comic books that were handed out to students, certain characters changed – while originally there was an evil snake in the live show – the character became an almost Snidely Whiplash-like ‘villain’ called R. Pugsley De Pugh. Also in the live puppet show there was a character known as the Mayor – who would warn children as well as Binkley and Doinkel about household dangers, this character in the new PSA’s became Sniffer the dog.
A big thanks to Retronatario for being kind enough to upload the four Binkley and Doinkel public service announcements – have you ever seen any of these before?