Friends, I am terribly sorry that this article is being published so late – the truth of the matter is that I didn’t sleep well at all and spent pretty much the entire day catching back up. I stumbled upon this animated public service announcement the other day, featuring two characters named Arnie Bacteria and Sal Monella. This first one possibly released back in 1973, these animated hooligans were dreamed up by the United States Department of Agriculture – in an effort to teach children as well as their parents the importance of food safety. The internet is a repository of such animated curiosities but at times it can be frustrating to learn more about them – I could not find anything about the company responsible for producing the animation for this short. Although from various places on the web, I’ve read that the announcer for at least this first PSA – Arnie & Sal in the Kitchen – features none other than Jackson Beck as narrator.
Jackson Beck was a legendary voice over actor, while getting his start in old time radio as the announcer for the The Adventures of Superman and The Cisco Kid series – he also was the voice of Bluto/Brutus in various Popeye animated shorts. Although for those of us of a certain age I am sure you will recognize his voice as the narrator for the ’80s G.I. Joe animated series and film.
I have a feeling that the Arnie & Sal public service announcements might have been handled by different animation studios over the years. Take this second one I found featuring Arnie and Sal dropping by to cause problems at a Thanksgiving dinner. The animation on the first PSA reminds me of the style of the DePatie-Freleng studios – this second one feels like a throwback to a more ‘classic’ animation style.
Then there is Sal & Arnie at the Germs Convention – which The Museum of Classic Chicago Television says was aired on April 17th of 1977. This public service announcement features what might possibly be animated children’s drawings – to say nothing of the fact that it features a live action elements.
There might be more public service announcements featuring Arnie & Sal – at least that appears to be the case by checking out the comments on the videos. Do you know of any others by chance – we would love to hear about them in the comments.