CLOSING NOTES

Retro PSAs

JOHN GEDDES October 20 2003
CLOSING NOTES

Retro PSAs

JOHN GEDDES October 20 2003

Retro PSAs

CLOSING NOTES

The haunting flute notes. The fleeting glimpse of some nondescript brown animal. And then the reverential narrative voice kicks in (as muted as a golf commentator setting up a crucial putt): “The beaver’s incisor teeth never stop growing...” It can be only one thing— Hinterland Who’s Who. The iconic public service announcements, which were first produced in the early ’60s, became a sort of televised comfort food for Canadians of a certain age over the following two decades. They were also an easy target for satire. SCTV's parody, with John Candy intoning about the woodchuck, was perhaps the funniest.

Now, the federal government’s Canadian Wildlife Service is teaming up with the independent Canadian Wildlife Federation to revive the brand-with new 30-second spots in the classic style and 60-second kids’ versions. Can they prove popular again? Cue the voiceover: “The common Canadian TV viewer, often overlooked when camouflaged against its preferred nesting terrain, the stained couch, is a creature of predictable habits...”

JOHN GEDDES