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10 Anti-Drug PSAs That Are Totally Awesome When You're High

...and are pretty damn entertaining even if you're not.

(For maximum effect, wait until the clock strikes 4:20 before clicking through.)

Hanna Barbera, 1970

In typical Squaresville, USA "Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do" rhetoric, this spot's creators ask America's youth to ignore their own bread and butter -- the obviously cannabis-fueled antics of a scruffy burnout and his talking dog -- and just say "no." Or, "whoa." Or something.

Devlin, Rock Magician

Because if anyone knows a thing or two about being cool, it's magicians. Especially "Rock" ones.

I wonder if Scaramouch ever wore a shirt like that during his act back in the day....

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Dorks? Huh? Who's the one who likes to play dress-up and smells like raw sewage, Mr. Talking Reptile?

I would argue that weed dealers who actually go out of their way to not only deliver their wares (thereby sparing you 90 minutes of sitting on their couch pretending to like their shitty band's demo tape), but to also pre-roll your joints, demonstrate a level of service and professionalism that is sorely lacking in today's market.

Theo Huxtable Turns into a Snake

Nuff said.

"Today's secret word is...CRACK!"

I remember being pretty confused in the late '80s when Pee Wee Herman, star of a subversive, adult-oriented spoof of hokey children's TV shows, was awarded an actual children's TV show, on Saturday mornings, no less.

This PSA continues the cycle of confusion -- isn't Pee Wee sort of "not cool" by definition? Were we supposed to want to emulate him? Or was he actually doing a subversive spoof of hokey anti-drug PSAs?

Dude, I need a bong hit, pronto.

Straight Up!

This one gets points for its raw, unflinching portrayal of a gritty urban nightmare that had thus far merely been suggested by "gangsta" recording artists like Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

WWJDIHWOICD?

This one spent years languishing on the shelf of a dusty church basement and/or Zeke Zimbinski's acting demo reel, until the industrious souls at Everything is Terrible! liberated it for the world's enjoyment.

We're Not Candy!

Who needs a pet rock when Dad's heart medicine is so much more cute and friendly?

(I wonder how many people, as a direct result of this PSA, still select "Captopril 12.5 mg" as the answer to the password security question, "What was the name of your first pet?")

"Flat"

Whoa. I am never getting my inflatable doll high again.

Hey, who do you think would win in a fight, Flat Girl or Smushed Girl?

Hey, you got any cookie dough?

Hannibal + Blow = This
(WARNING: This one's kinda icky!)

PRO: Apparently New Zealand has the cleanest public restrooms in the world.

CON: Soylent White is made of people! Peeeeeopllllle!

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20 Comments

Crack became an issue when I was in my late teens, so I can only imagine what it was like to be a kid being informed about the drug for the first time by ads which say, in effect "Crack makes you cool, feels real good, and can make you lots of money, so,...umm, don't do it." Who paid for these, the Crack Advisory Board?

said Beth on May 19, 2009 4:16 PM.

Well, without getting too into the whole "The Feds introduced crack to destroy African American communities" argument...yeah, pretty much.

And yeah, looking back, crack was much classier back then -- dig the nice glass vial Pee Wee is holding up. Nowadays our intern has to get it from a sandwich baggie and/or from someone's orifice.

said Jeem on May 19, 2009 4:26 PM.

I always like the "meth song" one. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxAYHOWxGi8)

said nihil on May 20, 2009 1:24 PM.

As a middle-class white kid growing up in a mostly-white neighborhood, I never really knew about drugs until DARE classes came to my elementary school. I mean, really? Older, cooler kids are going to try to bully me into doing drugs? And these drugs do weird, crazy things to my brain? But 5th grade kids like new, weird things and we all want to be cool. It really was like a big PSA to encourage us to do drugs. And then I wrote an essay on avoiding drugs or something, and won a medal. I still have it....but I've never done coke lines off it or anything. More's the pity.

Also, all these ads were wonderful, except the last one which made me feel a bit queasy.

said Keen on May 21, 2009 12:21 AM.

As a medical marijuana patient, I think that these ads are pointless and stupid. Cigarettes kill more people in one year than marijuana has in its entire existence. Please note: Cigarettes are legal.

said John on May 21, 2009 6:00 AM.

Yeah, I did try to warn folks about that last video, but in the end when I applied the litmus test of "is this PSA totally awesome when you're high?", our test monkeys answered with a resounding "Yes!" (Followed immediately by, "Dude, why are my hands so huge?")

And I'm right there with ya, Keen -- when I was little I always thought it was the scary ethnic types with uzis and ponytails who hung out in Miami night clubs who had the drugs...special thanks to our school's Police Liaison Officer for pointing out that they could be purchased conveniently right on campus!

said Jeem on May 21, 2009 11:01 AM.

And John, good luck to you my friend -- hope you are able to get the relief you deserve without too many hassles.

said Jeem on May 21, 2009 11:02 AM.

Yeah, hey Jeem, thanks for the support.

As a medical marijuana patient AND a Christian, I firmly believe that God made marijuana the way it is on purpose. Think about it. A medication that cures a multitude of ailments, disguised as the single most popular recreational drug in history. What better way to ensure that the medication God made would reach His people? God made marijuana, He obviously wanted us to have it.

said John on May 21, 2009 12:43 PM.

That reminds me of a great T-shirt I saw around the mid-90s: a photo of a bunch of top-shelf, "High Times Centerfold"-caliber buds with text below it in a child's hand-crayoned script, "God Doesn't Make Mistakes."

said Jeem on May 21, 2009 1:14 PM.

No John, you're mistaken. The Devil made marijuana. God made everything else.

said Sasha on May 26, 2009 10:14 AM.

No Sasha it seems your wrong. Your god would have created everything including the devil. I'm pretty sure the devil hasn't created anything.
He only intices with what has been laid out.
So it seems that your belief structure must be thought through a little better.
Leave john to cope with the burden that god gave him.
He may not be as strong as you think you are. Then again your probably not sick.

said Hankton on May 28, 2009 9:20 PM.

Man, I saw that last one and thought "woah, you can DO that? AWESOME!"

said piddy on May 29, 2009 4:51 PM.

Yeah, but ONLY if you're in New Zealand, piddy -- don't try to pull off the top of your skull in the Northern Hemisphere. (I think it has something to do with gravity and/or toilets circling the opposite way when you flush 'em.)

said Jeem on May 29, 2009 5:00 PM.

the last one was epic....its like they are saying that ppl who get high are cannibals and have no self respect....but how many of those take legal drugs from their doctor to alleviate their stress ??

mines cheaper and i dont have to be a fake person

said god on May 30, 2009 11:34 AM.

Great post.

FYI, We're Not Candy was the inspiration for the Busta Rhymes song, Dangerous, great song and video, albeit very late 90s.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1x4ob_busta-rhymes-dangerous_music

said Ray on June 4, 2009 6:34 PM.

I'd like to see this early-1970s PSA that Quentin Tarantino spoke of in a YesterdayLand.com interview. Anyone remember it?
I gotta agree with him about those -- they don't make 'em like they used to! Some of those were downright eerily surreal and actually gave you the creeps, especially those from the Ad Council;

" YL: You've talked before about public service announcements from the 1970s. Do you have any favorites?

QT: Hands down, to this day, my favorite public service announcement ”I would have been proud to have directed or starred in this public service announcement” was one on drugs. It starts off with a bunch of kids. I'm talking about elementary school kids. Third grade and fourth grade. And a black guy. You never see his face, and if I am not mistaken, you may never even see his hands. But it's definitely a black guys” voice. Hands down. And it's kind of crude the way they shoot its never showing his face. Third graders and fourth graders get out on the playground and there's a black guy (in a black suit, no less.) Like a Reservoir Dogs black suit. And he has got a table laid out in front of the school yard as the kids all come running like he's the ice cream man at the table. And he's like 'Hello little kiddies, gather around, the man with the goodies is here' And he picks up a thing of airplane glue. 'Here is a newie from me to youie just inhale and sniff, it is airplane glue.' One little kid is basically cock-blocking his little speech, and he's like 'airplane glue causes convulsions.' 'Convulse yourself outta here, kid.' He goes, 'Here's a little thing for a little trip, it's LSD.' He throws out three pills and the same kid goes 'LSD causes hallucination.' 'Hallucinate yourself outta here, kid.' And then he whips out a joint, 'How about grass, is there anything wrong with pot?' 'They're not sure. There are not enough studies done on that yet.' Finally, the kid goes, 'Everything that you have here is bad for you.' 'Hey kid, why do you think they call it dope?' And the kids walk away. But the part that I can still remember 'Hey little kiddies, gather around, the man with the goodies is here. Here is a newie from me to youie just inhale and sniff, it is airplane glue.' "

said Jo on June 6, 2009 7:05 AM.

That one does sound pretty awesome, Jo. Could it have been made by Sid Davis, and/or be a part of the Prelinger Archive?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_Davis

http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger

If you find this gem, please post a link!

said Jeem on June 10, 2009 11:16 AM.

Awesome post!

As for Flat Girl vs Smushed Girl, I think Smushed Girl would win, since she has those disproportionatley long arms, which would probably prove to be an advantage. Plus, Flat Girl probably wouldn't put up much of a fight.

said SGR on June 26, 2009 1:41 PM.

Thanks, SGR. Those long arms are pretty kickass, but I wouldn't count Flat Girl out so easily...I have a feeling she's crafty, and could just be waiting for the right moment to unflatten all over Smushed Girl's ass.

said Jeem on June 26, 2009 7:35 PM.

I just posted the requested "Why do you think they call it dope" PSA from the 70's on youtube. Here's the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_mC6EZ8Jpk

said astrospec on August 7, 2009 12:50 PM.
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