Back when the networks actually made Saturday Morning TV, I remember ABC's offerings always being the weakest. CBS had Garfield AND the Ninja Turtles; NBC had all the hot licenses and made shows around the coolest basketball stars; Fox was new but Fox was good....then you had ABC, which somehow always got stuck with cartoons based on Free Willy and Madeline. I think an ABC executive boasted that they were the most educational because they had the most shows based on books. Yeah, I guess that's another way of saying "I'm too cheap to buy the rights to Garfield or Michael Jordan." Then again, when they DID buy licenses, they had no idea what to do with them. Remember "Hammerman"? If you don't, it's because you were so traumatized by it that your mind blocked out all memory of it.

However, ABC still holds a fond place in the hearts of Generation X/early Y. Why? Because ABC's shows may have stunk, but they had a lot of warm, fuzzy traditions that people still wanted to watch years and years later. The "After These Messages" song, the Schoolhouse Rock videos, the Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show...with stuff like this, ABC was worth a tune-in every once in a while. I remember them actually getting a good show one year when they bought the American rights to Canada's "ReBoot," then they took it back when they saw the dramatic direction the story was heading. This is the network that banned season 3 of ReBoot, which in my opinion is one of the best seasons of anything. I could've killed them for that, but then they showed me the claymation dog and fire hydrant again and I said, "Aww, how can I stay mad at you...."

My cousin, who is now 30, watched ABC well before I did and bought the Schoolhouse Rock DVD in hopes that she would see all her favorite old educational interstitials. She didn't. She complained that some were left out, while the box clearly said "EVERY song". It turns out she was wrong, but she was also sort of right. There are many cartoon songs ABC ran in addition to SR that didn't fall under that banner and thus will probably never be seen again.

I had to find out more about this, and I actually found many of the spots. They weren't technically Schoolhouse Rock because they were actually PSAs...public service announcements, those things that appear near the end of an act break and warn you not to do something dumb. When I was growing up, PSAs covered one thing and one thing only: drugs drugs drugs. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America constantly pounded it into my head that drugs were wrong and bad; your face will melt, your brain will become a fried egg, and a kid will call you "Turkey". Generally, if I saw a PSA come on, it was going to deal with a serious subject that could kill you. That's still true today, but more of life's risks are covered now. I guess that's why seeing these PSAs was such a shock. If you thought ABC was full of squares before, wait'll you see some of the things they worried about!

Okay, fair. Eating your food really fast could possibly kill you, sure. I guess it's a noble thing to warn about. You wouldn't see the government paying for this today, though.
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It's apparently some follower of The Fonz, jiving about how coool he is 'cuz he exercises his teeth. His teeth? "Exercise your teeth with some GOOD HARD FOOD!" he reiterates. Was this really a problem? It must have been.
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"I'm Louis the Lifeguard and I'm happy to say, I rescued a drowning potato today!" He what?? Oh well, many of these probably ran during "Laverne and Shirley in the Army", so kids weren't likely to question much.
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Yeah, I wish I were making that name up. O. G. Readmore is a cat with more than one PSA(I counted five), so I asked my cousin if she remembered him. She did...and she hated the guy. She also mentioned that O. G. Readmore also showed up in puppet form before every after-school special.
See him for yourself
Update: So guess what? I found where O.G. Readmore is. Seriously, I found where he ended up. This doesn't surprise me at all.

Just in case any kids didn't know what potatoes were, this PSA had them covered. "And be sure to eat the skins--they so good for you!" I don't think it really makes a difference if you eat the skin or not. You normally see old wives' tales like that in old wives' homes, not on TV.
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These were from the early 80's? A lot of them look pure 70's to me...but I guess there were a few discotheques still around. Zach fights welfare cheats one person at a time. "Ya gotta plan a future job, and avoid the FUTURE BLOB!!" he says in this one. My cousin said the memory of Zack most preserved in her brain was the odd maneuver he does at the end of this short. There was no reason for it and it cracked her up every time. Indeed, it defies description, so you'll just have to watch it...
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The "dough nuts" were people who spent their money unwisely. I didn't bother to put any on this site--none of the available ones were weird enough. Someone described one, though, and I wish I could bring you this:

It’d be a hoot to re-see the one with the guy who was too timid to say “no” to salespeople -- and ends up buying a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need. Or to relive the tale of Norman, the guy who couldn’t get a date because he was “weird”:

Norman thought he’d be

Just like those actors on TV

If he used the products that they sold.

With Manly Muscles (TM),

Skin So Tan (TM),

Happy Hair (TM), and Cologne for Man (TM),

He dreamed the girls would lose their self control.

And of course, the products do nothing but make Norman look even weirder (I believe his teeth turned green at one point).
Hilariously educational.

I have to find Norman. Egad.

Yeah, I'd like to meet the kid who obeyed THIS one. None of the health ads seemed to do anything--America has only gotten fatter.
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I had no idea life was so easy in 1983. Their worst problems seem to be all food-related. I have not seen ONE narcotic substance or abusive home yet. The ABC Bod Squad, not to be confused with the ABC Mod Squad, are a bunch of kids who sing about fitness. As for what they're talking about this time...well, it's so muffled, your guess is as good as mine. "Don't eat talking fruit or it'll mess up your bowling average" maybe.
Sort of see it for yourself

It's like a sundae, except you make it on Saturday and it contains no unhealthy ingredients. This was one of several "make this dish" ads. The Saturdae comes alive at the end and eats a piece of himself, but what else is new?
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I'm going to end with singing beans and rice.
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Not included here, but rumored to exist is a PSA starring the Little Rascals where they warn about...chewing gum in bed. That's it, this is an outrage. There HAD to be drugs back then--why weren't any kids getting warned? Now it becomes clear how the problem became so bad that MY generation got swamped in anti-drug propaganda. They were asleep at the switch, warning kids about not eating the skins of potatoes. For shaaaaame.....