Sunday, July 5, 2009

An Actual PSA Or Was I Imagining It?

Does anyone remember a very, very scary Public Service Announcement that used to run, usually late at night, on the plight of and the dangers of being a hemophiliac? The PSA was so frightening that when I was a kid, I'd get up and stand in front of the TV during commercials in case it came on I could quickly change the channel. I just didn't want to see it.

Anyway, what I remember is that it had a scary voiceover that began by saying "This is the house of the hemophiliac". We'd get these distorted, twisted hand-held camera shots of the house with zooming close-ups of things like scissors and a cat scratching at the camera because those things could make the hemophiliac bleed and possibly kill him. All the while as we are getting these crazy images, you'd hear some demonic child-like laughter in the background. I hated that PSA when I was a kid but would love to see it again to see what my reaction would be. Strangely, not many folks my age remember it though I have noticed a couple other folks posting on various message boards and such asking about it.

Does anyone around my age from the NY Metro Area remember it? I'm sure it wasn't exclusive to the NY Metro Area but have no way of knowing for sure. Maybe someone Knows of a site that has clips of old or vintage PSA's? I've tried YouTube and have had no luck. Any help would be appreciated because I'm beginning to think that maybe I imagined it. Thank you in advance.


  1. This may have been on behalf of the Hemophilia Foundation, which ran PSA's during that decade. There is a website from a firm called M&A (McDonald & Associates) Television Commercials, which cites four such variants. This was one of them; the others cited were:
    - a kid whose family couldn't afford treatment
    - a young man poking his finger
    - a hemophiliac taking a clotting drug

    This same outfit may also have the opening of WABC-TV's "The 4:30 Movie" as used between 1969 and 1973 (and also by WXYZ-TV in Detroit for a few more years afterwards), with the "seated director with megaphone" silhouette and the title spaced together closely in Helvetica Bold (plus the same Joe Raposo theme music retained for the succeeding "spinning cameraman" open that everyone knows). For all these reasons (i.e. who holds these films), none of the above have ever turned up on YouTube.

  2. it played in Chicago as well

  3. Wonderful information. Thank you very much!

  4. BTW, does M&A Television Commercials have a website? Where can one read about them? Thanks in advance.

  5. They sure do . . .

    They have huge lists grouped into certain items.

  6. Wonderful! Thanks. Glad to hear from Chicago too!

  7. I remember that PSA. scared the crap out of me too. I grew up just outside NYC.

  8. the one with the kid who couldnt afford treatment scared me as well

  9. i remember that psa as well and looked/cant find it on youtube. i remember the ending playing scmaltzy music as a sad kid sits on a bed in his room. didnt it have a mocking echoing effect when they say,hemophi-yak-yak-yak!?

    i also remember a commmercial for arnolds jewish taste test at a deli.

  10. Completely remember this PSA, along with the camera passing by the cat with a distorted wide angle lens and an echoing "meeooowwrrr" and of course the typical "contagion" sound effect when they showed the knives! Quite horrifying.

    Do you remember the PSA about MS with the kid in the rocking chair...? Terrifying!

  11. This is awesome. Yes, 70’s PSA announcements were frightening! I’m looking for one that featured the classical music piece Gymnopedie. The theme had to do with infant/child health or welfare, I think. It was dark and moody, possibly in a dreary apartment. Ever time I hear the song I’m filled with great sadness and nostalgia.

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  12. I remember in Los Angeles we had a few creepy ones, one was a PSA about Tourette's Syndrome, and it was showing people barking like dogs, and contorting their faces, it was really washed out and grainy too.